Ralph Lauren has been made an Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE). The American designer was presented with the insignia by Prince Charles during a private ceremony at Buckingham Palace last night.
A Knight Commander is one of the highest ranks in the British honour system, which recognises exceptional achievement and service to the nation, and means that the recipient is entitled to use the title of Sir, for men, or Dame, for women. An Honorary Knight Commander is awarded to those, like Ralph Lauren, who are not a citizens of Commonwealth Realms. He is the first American designer to be recognised with an honorary knighthood.
“To have the honorary KBE conferred on me by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and presented to me personally by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales is an honour I have humbly accepted,” the designer told us. “I have always been inspired by the history, traditions, and culture of Great Britain and the historic relationship our two countries have shared. This is one of the most meaningful honours bestowed at this very special moment in my 50th anniversary.”
Over his career spanning more than five decades, Ralph Lauren has been recognised with the Key to the City of New York from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, for his outstanding civic contributions, and the French Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur, in recognition of his contributions as a designer, business leader, and philanthropist. He currently serves as executive chairman and chief creative officer of Ralph Lauren Corporation.
“I warmly congratulate Ralph Lauren on this award that recognises these efforts and achievements over the past 50 years,” said Antony Phillipson, British consul general to New York and Her Majesty’s trade commissioner for North America. “In his storied career in fashion, business, and philanthropy, Mr Lauren has played a key role in forging transatlantic cultural and economic connections. As creator and visionary of the Ralph Lauren brand worldwide, Mr Lauren has been a vanguard for the global fashion industry and American style for nearly half a century. In addition, monumental philanthropic efforts, especially in the realm of public health, cancer research and treatment in both the US and the UK, have led to benefits felt by citizens around the world.”
Last September, the designer celebrated the 50th anniversary of his eponymous brand with a spectacular show in New York’s Central Park, that was attended by many of his most high-profile friends and fans – from Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain, to Blake Lively, Priyanka Chopra and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.
From Harper’s Bazaar UK