Sean Michaels 

Paul McCartney to receive Legion of Honour

The former Beatle will become the first British musician to receive the honour, at a gala ceremony from the French president
  
  

Paul McCartney is to receive France's highest cultural distinction at a ceremony this week. President François Hollande will decorate the former Beatle with the country's Legion of Honour, as the rank of officer.

Hollande's office made the announcement on Sunday, ahead of the gala ceremony to be held on 8 September. McCartney will be the first British musician to be awarded the Legion of Honour. Previous recipients include JK Rowling, Aung San Suu Kyi, Ravi Shankar and Vladimir Putin. Most members of the order are French citizens: more than 17,000 people have been given the rank of officer, which is the Legion's middle grade.

Members of the Legion of Honour are permitted to wear a special medal on their left breast, hung with a red ribbon. But if McCartney wants to pin one of these beside his Knights Bachelor badge, he will apparently have to buy it himself: officers must purchase the medal from a licensed jeweller, Reuters reports, paying as much as £550.

McCartney, 70, one of the two surviving members of the Beatles, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1997. He is also a fellow of the Royal College of Music, an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music, and the recipient of two major American distinctions: a Kennedy Center honor and the Gershwin prize for popular song.