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13 Florida Residents Inducted into Knighthood in Naples Ceremony

The event was held on Feb. 11 at the Ritz-Carlton.

Residents in Southwest Florida now have neighbors living amongst them who have been officially recognized by royalty. Celebrated for their many contributions and commitment to giving back, 13 area men and women were inducted into the Royal Order of Francis I in an honorary ceremony held at the Ritz-Carlton Naples this past winter.

A historically distinguished organization, the Royal Order of Francis I was established by the Royal House of Bourbon two centuries ago. It was King Francis I of the Two Sicilies who first instituted it as an order of merit, shortly before his untimely death, to recognize significant achievements in the arts, letters and sciences.

Each year, individuals are carefully selected based on their ongoing contributions to society. The 2024 inductees all hail from various fields including business, science and education. With remarkable business accomplishments under their belt, many have served in top-tier leadership positions such as founder and CEO roles.

In turn, the newly knighted members have each sought ways to better enrich their communities with their time dedicated to providing guidance and a helping hand for nonprofits and beyond. Their work extends to organizations including the Naples Children & Education Foundation, Naples Zoo, Naples Winter Wine Festival, and more, in addition to out-of-state charities.

Amongst the knights and dames who were honored this year are:

  • William Albanese
  • Peter Caparso
  • Denise Cobb
  • Joseph Conte
  • David Gibbons
  • Heidi Huizenga
  • Rick Inatome
  • George Keys
  • Nicholas Mastroianni
  • Ronald Sachs
  • Ralph Stayer
  • Frankie Valli
  • Brian Wroblewski

This year’s inductees join the good company of hundreds of other members of the Royal Order of Francis I. They include former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, Gerald Grosvenor, 6th Duke of Westminster, and Leka, Crown Prince of Albania.