JK Rowling has been handed a Legion d’Honeur prize by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

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“You’ve helped give young people back the taste for reading and writing,” said Sarkozy at yesterday’s ceremony.

Rowling assured the French nation that the French-sounding name of her best-known villain – Lord Voldemort – was not intended as an insult and that “Voldemort himself is 100% English”.

The Harry Potter author also revealed that her great-grand-father was inducted into the Legion d’Honeur for his efforts in the First World War.

The equivalent of a British knighthood, the medal was brought in by Napoleon nearly 200 years ago.