Sir Sam Jonah, KBE, has revealed the circumstances under which the British knighthood was conferred on him by Prince Charles (now King Charles III) instead of his late mother Queen Elizabeth II.
In an interview on the BBUM show, a personality profile programme on Ghana Television (September 25), the former Ashanti Goldfields CEO said it was a privilege to have been invited and honoured by the British Royal Family.
Jonah was knighted by Prince Charles in 2003, a ceremony that is ordinarily undertaken by the Queen herself. He explained how an equality important engagement took the Queen away hence the duty was placed on her son.
“I had the privilege to be knighted by Prince Charles in 2003, it was quite an experience, I was fortunate I took my entire family with me, which was very unusual. Because usually they would ask you to come with your spouse.
“I was fortunate because what happened was, that same day, the reason why I was not knighted by the Queen was that, the Queen was hosting President Putin to a state lunch and therefore it fell on Prince Charles.
“Therefore, Prince Charles said, bring your entire family and so I took my entire family,” he added.
In his view, the new King is a “hugely understated and underappreciated person,” adding that he has a commanding presence, unenforced authority and he is a delight to be with.
He said he felt hugely privileged and fortunate for one hour meeting his family had with the new monarch at the Buckingham Palace.
In June 2003, Jonah became the first Ghanaian to be knighted in the 21st century when he was presented with an honorary knighthood (KBE) by the then Prince of Wales, in recognition of his achievements as an African businessman, a leading business executive from the Commonwealth, and an international public figure.