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European Royals

Royal auctioneer Brigitte Kruse knighted in Italy

Brigitte Kruse, founder­­ of the Los Angeles-based Kruse GWS Auctions, was recently knighted by the Medici family in Italy.

Principe Lorenzo de’ Medici conferred on Kruse the title of Cavaliere­­­­— the Italian equivalent of an English knighthoodand as an additional honour and distinction, named her an “Ambasciatore delle Arti” (Ambassador of the Arts). The dual accolades recognised Kruse’s work globally on behalf of charitable causes.

Her auction house specialises in royal artefacts, Hollywood memorabilia, fine jewellery, luxury timepieces, and affluent estates, and Kruse is the first woman auctioneer to hold a Guinness World Record (for “Largest Abandoned Property Auction in World History”).

Photo: Kruse GWS Auctions

Their most recent royal auction piece was sold earlier this month, with a 14th-century Celadon Lotus Bowl originating from the estate of the last Empress of Vietnam selling for $1.5 million.

The knighting took place at Rome’s historic San Silvestro al Quirinale, whose origins date back to the 11th century. Church clerics and Principe Lorenzo de’ Medici presided over the ceremony.

As part of the proceedings, Kruse read an oath where she promised to continue to give back and to uphold the highest standards. During the ceremony, she was anointed with the blade of a ceremonial sword and then adorned with the knight’s robe.

To earn this honour, Kruse had to first be nominated by a member of the de’ Medici family and then win approval from the rest of the House of Medici and the Cavaliere board. Kruse was selected for her distinguished reputation in the auction industry and having represented 16 royal families in her business.

A fierce advocate for children with autism, she has raised millions of dollars to provide services and research. Along with her husband Mike Sislyan, Kruse regularly visits orphanages for disabled children in high conflict zones around the world, delivering food, toys, medications, and clothing.

As a part of her responsibilities and oath to the Cavaliere, Kruse will feed the homeless with the Pope each year in Rome during the Christmas season.

“I am beyond humbled by such an honour,” Kruse said. “The de’ Medici royal family bestowed a monumental honour upon me and for that, I will always be thankful. I am so very privileged to do the work I do and to be recognised in such a magnificent ceremony and accolade in Rome was a moment I will truly never forget.” 

About author

Kristin is Chief Reporter for Royal Central and has been following the British royal family for more than 30 years. Kristin has appeared in UK and U.S. media outlets discussing the British royals including BBC Breakfast, BBC World News, Sky News, the Associated Press, TIME, The Washington Post, and many others.