|Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes with his daughter, Stephanie, after receiving the|
Commander of the Order of the British Empire at Buckingham Palace.
|Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)|
|Datuk Tony Fernandes with the award|
|Officier of the Legion d'honneur|
"Princess Anne said she was amazed at how I made the move from music industry to airlines, and noted how big AirAsia had grown," he said after going through one telephone interview after another upon his return from the investiture.
"Princess Anne said she was amazed how a Malaysian company had become so big, so fast and so profitable."
The award came in the middle of a legal wrangle in the British High Court that he admitted had turned his world upside down and left him deeply hurt.
There must be a better way to do it, but from adversity comes strength and we are all the more stronger because of it," he said referring to the legal wrangle between Team Lotus and Group Lotus.
Sharing the moment with him were his daughter, Stephanie, and Nina Hunt, 79, his former guardian who looked after him when he was studying at Epsom College.
"It was very nice to be there. Such an honour," Hunt said of the iconic entrepreneur whose aim was to make it possible for those who dared to dream.
Now she is guardian to Stephanie, who is studying in the UK.
"He was twelve when he came here and he was a friend of my son," said Hunt, whose husband, John, is on the board of councillors at the college.
She said Fernandes was like any other boy his age and had never shown any signs that he would one day be a high flier and an important industry player.
"Tony used to frequent us a lot, especially when his mother died. He was very upset as it was term time and he couldn't go home."
In the early days of AirAsia X, Fernandes used to regale people with stories about how he missed his parents while in boarding school but couldn't go home because flights then were so expensive.
Now, as AirAsia X reaches more destinations in the world, he has more than realised his dreams to make flying more affordable for everyone