American fashion designer Ralph Lauren is now a knight

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Introducing Sir Ralph Lauren.

In a first for an American designer, US fashion luminary, Ralph Lauren, has been named an Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) for his services to fashion.

WWD reports that the legendary designer — whose brand has been seen on royals Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle —  was presented with this honorary knighthood by Prince Charles in a private ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday, June 19.

According to the publication, because Lauren is a US citizen the title is honorary and he won’t be entitled to have “sir” before his name, but he can have “KBE” after his name. If, however, Lauren became a British citizen he would be entitled to add the “sir” to his name.

Lauren, 79, celebrated the 50th anniversary of Ralph Lauren last year and is an icon in the fashion industry with his beloved all-American preppy label Polo Ralph Lauren as well as his chic ready-to-wear label Ralph Lauren. He is also a game-changing philanthropist supporting a number of causes, particularly breast cancer through the Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation.

WWD reports that the knighthood was announced in November last year and at the time, the British Consul General to New York, Antony Phillipson, said it was for these reasons that the designer was to be honoured with a knighthood. “Mr Lauren has been a vanguard for the global fashion industry and American style for nearly half a century. In addition, [his] 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.”

People reports following the ceremony yesterday when Lauren was presented with the knighthood, the designer shared in a statement how honoured he was. “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. 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.”

Lauren is the first American fashion designer to receive a KBE, however, he joins a list of leading US names in other industries who have also been bestowed with an honorary KBE, MBE  or DBE (honorary damehood) including, filmmaker Steven Spielberg, Bill and Melinda Gates and actress Angelina Jolie.

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