Ralph Lauren is the first American designer to receive the honor from the Queen

By Kaitlyn Frey
November 14, 2018 07:36 AM

More than 20 years after Princess Diana famously wore a white lace halter neck Ralph Lauren gown to the 1996 White House dinner, the Ralph Lauren has remained one of the most popular designers to dress the royal family. From the black and white Ralph Lauren shirtdress Kate Middleton wore just days after giving birth to Princess Charlotte in May 2015 to the striped Ralph Lauren button up and white culottes Meghan Markle wore to Wimbledon this summer, Lauren’s pieces are a signature staple in the royal’s wardrobe.

Now, the designer, businessman and philanthropist, 79, will be honored by the Queen herself.

Queen Elizabeth will present Lauren with an Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) in a ceremony next year. He will become the first American fashion designer to be recognized with the honorary knighthood insignia.

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“I warmly congratulate Ralph Lauren on this award that recognizes these efforts and achievements over the past 50 years. In his storied career in fashion, business, and philanthropy, Mr. Lauren has played a key role in forging transatlantic cultural and economic connections,” British Consul General to New York and Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for North America, Antony Phillipson, said in a release.”

Ralph Lauren

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Phillipson added, “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.”

Princess Diana, dressed in a Ralph Lauren gown, attended the 1996 White House dinner with the fashion designer by her side.
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Throughout his prolific 50 year career, Lauren has received the Key to the City of New York from Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the French Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur. He’s also been honored with the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal, recognizing his lifetime contributions as a great American and his leadership role in the preservation of the Star-Spangled Banner.

Although Lauren is the first American designer to receive the honor, there have been many other American recipients of U.K. KBE or MBE. Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, former New York City Mayors Michael Bloomberg and Rudolph Giuliani, Angelina Jolie and Steven Spielberg are just a few of the many Americans named honorary knights or dames. 

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