Ralph Lauren has received an honorary knighthood for services to fashion, becoming the first American designer to be awarded with the UK’s highest honour.
Prince Charles presented the 79-year-old with the insignia in a private ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday attended by Lauren’s family.
The designer’s iconic brand – which often features clothes reminiscent of classic English styles – have been worn by a number of royals including Princess Diana and the duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex.
Estimated to be worth more than £5.2bn according to Forbes, Lauren stepped down from his position as CEO of Ralph Lauren in 2015, almost 50 years after he started the business in a small office at the Empire State Building.
“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,” Lauren, who remains chief creative officer and executive chairman of the company, said in a statement reported by People.
“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.”
In a statement when the award was announced in November last year, the British consul general to New York and Her Majesty’s trade commissioner for North America, Antony Phillipson, congratulated Lauren for a storied career that has seen him play 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,” he said.
“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.”
Other Americans who have received honorary knighthoods or damehoods include presidents Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, and George HW Bush, as well as Angelina Jolie, Bill Gates and Steven Spielberg.