Sylvie Bermann, French Ambassador to the United Kingdom, conferred the medal of the Commandeur in l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres on Eric Clapton. The award was presented in a ceremony backstage at the Royal Albert Hall where Eric was performing. France's Order of Arts and Letters (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) was established in 1957 to recognize eminent artists and writers, as well as people who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world. Membership is not limited to French nationals; recipients include numerous foreign luminaries of which Eric Clapton is the most recent. The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres has three grades:
Commandeur (Commander) — medallion worn on necklet
Officier (Officer) — medallion worn on ribbon with rosette on left breast
Chevalier (Knight) — medallion worn on ribbon on left breast.The order's ribbon is green with four white stripes. The médaille of the Order is an eight-point, green-enameled asterisk, in gilt for Commanders and Officers and in silver for Knights; the obverse central disc has the letters "A" and "L" on a white enamelled background, surrounded by a golden ring emblazoned with the phrase "République Française". The reverse central disc features the head of Marianne on a golden background, surrounded by a golden ring bearing the words "Ordre des Arts et des Lettres". The Commander's badge is topped by a gilt twisted ring.