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Meet Planet Earth’s Richest Woman: L’Oreal Heiress Françoise Bettencourt Meyers!

French national Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, the L’Oréal heiress and the first woman to accumulate a $100 billion fortune, stands as a testament to a legacy intertwined with beauty, wealth, and familial intrigue. Her wealth jumped to $100.1 billion this week, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index as shares of L’Oréal SA, the beauty products empire founded by her grandfather, rose to a record high, with the stock set for its best year since 1998. She’s the 12th-richest person in the world, just behind Mexico’s Carlos Slim.

Inheritance and Wealth

Born into affluence, Françoise is the only child of Liliane Bettencourt, a socialite and heiress, and André Bettencourt, a politician. Her familial lineage traces back to her grandfather, Eugène Schueller, the founder of L’Oréal, a global cosmetics giant, established in 1909.

Following the death of her mother, Liliane, in 2017, Françoise inherited the title of ‘the world’s richest woman’. As of December 28, 2023, her net worth soared to an unprecedented $100 billion, largely due to the surge in L’Oréal share prices. The Bettencourt family maintains a significant stake in L’Oréal, and also operates Téthys Invest, a holding company.

Françoise shares two sons, Jean-Victor and Nicolas, with her husband, Jean-Pierre Meyers. Jean-Victor serves on the board of directors at L’Oréal, continuing the family’s active involvement in the company’s governance.

Legal Battles and Relationships

Françoise’s life has been marked by high-profile legal disputes, particularly with her mother over the influence of François-Marie Banier, an artist and con man. Banier, having befriended Liliane, was accused of exploiting her vulnerability for financial gain. The legal battles, which garnered public attention, eventually led to Françoise gaining control over her mother’s wealth and income in 2011, after a court ruled Liliane had a form of dementia.

Personal Life and Interests

Known for her reclusive nature, Françoise prefers privacy over public appearances. A lover of arts, she devotes hours daily to playing the piano and is an accomplished author, having written books on the Bible and Greek gods. Her commitment to philanthropy was highlighted when she pledged €200m through L’Oréal and the Bettencourt Schueller foundation for the restoration of Notre-Dame Cathedral following its fire in 2019.

Legacy and Influence

As the vice-chairperson of L’Oréal’s board, Françoise wields considerable influence in the beauty industry. Her ascent to becoming the world’s richest woman, especially after overcoming familial and legal challenges, marks a significant chapter in the narrative of one of the most prominent families in global business and philanthropy.

In conclusion, Françoise Bettencourt Meyers’ journey from heiress to the world’s richest woman is a narrative rich in business acumen, personal resilience, and a commitment to preserving a century-old family legacy in the beauty industry.

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