American fashion designer Ralph Lauren has been made an Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) for Services to Fashion. Lauren was presented with the honorary knighthood insignia by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales in a private ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday.
Lauren is the first American fashion designer to be recognized with an honorary knighthood. Other notable American recipients of an honorary UK knighthood or damehood include former presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush; former New York City mayors Michael Bloomberg and Rudolph Giuliani; Angelina Jolie; Steven Spielberg; Bill and Melinda Gates; and Angela Ahrendts.
The UK honors system recognizes exceptional achievement and service to the nation and includes non-British nationals who receive honorary awards for their important contribution to British interests. All British honors are awarded on merit, and honorary awards are conferred by HM The Queen on the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary. The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire was founded in 1917. Lauren may forthwith put “KBE” after his name if he wishes.
Lauren serves as the executive chairman and chief creative officer of Ralph Lauren Corporation. Born in 1939 in the Bronx, New York, Lauren attended Baruch College, where he studied business and served two years in the U.S. Army before pursuing his creative interests in fashion, ultimately growing his business into a global brand and a household name.
In London, Ralph Lauren Corporation made a generous donation toward The Ralph Lauren Centre for Breast Cancer Research, which opened at The Royal Marsden in June 2016. The center is at the forefront of international breast cancer research, with a focus in the field of molecular testing. The center has made a major commitment to leading research into early diagnosis and the development of new treatments.
June 2019 marks the announcement of Ralph Lauren Corporation’s commitment to further support The Royal Marsden with a pledge toward the appeal to fund the building of a new state-of-the-art facility—the Oak Cancer Centre. Located at The Royal Marsden in Sutton, the Oak Cancer Centre will bring together more than 300 researchers alongside 140,000 expected patients each year, speeding up the translation of world-leading research into breakthroughs in treatment and care, and transforming the lives of cancer patients at The Royal Marsden and beyond.