Swedish actor Rikard Wolff has received the highest of French decorations: The Legion of Honor, or in full the National Order of the Legion of Honor, an order established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802. Wolff receives the honor from French President François Hollande. ”Through this order, French authorities want to honor Rikard Wolff’s rich and versatile artistry. He has, throughout the years, in a unique way interpreted French-speaking artists like Edith Piaf, Barbara and Brel on stages like Dramaten, Operan and Kulturhuset and on tours around Sweden,” said France’s ambassador to Sweden, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, in a press release.
”For me this is a genuinely great joy," said Rikard Wolff. "I have never expected to be awarded because of my love for what’s French. I have loved it anyway. So it came as a surprise that they had viewed me from the French side as well. It’s great.”
Wolff explains his love for France and French things with his parents living in France before his birth. ”It meant things French were always in our family, and meant something romantic and passionate,” he says. ”It’s a kind of attitude, a love for life in the French ’chanson.’ For someone not familiar with it, it may seem sentimental, but it’s more like ’shit happens,’ but you go on anyway.” Wolff received the degree ”Chevalier” or knight of the Legion of Honor, which is divided into five degrees. Knight: What does that mean to Wolff? ”A suit of armor and a horse? No, I think it’s more like an order to hang on your chest.” Other Swedish recipients of the Legion of Honor include Queen Silvia, opera singer Nicolai Gedda, businessman Pehr G. Gyllenhammar, film director Ingmar Bergman and actor Max von Sydow.