Fashion

Queen Elizabeth to Give Designer Ralph Lauren an Honorary Knighthood

Get used to the sound of "Sir Ralph Lauren."
IMAGE GETTY IMAGES / POOL
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The Queen is finally recognizing American contributions to fashion design—or at least, she's recognizing Ralph Lauren.

At 79, after a lifetime spent in the industry—and 50 years of his eponymous business—Ralph Lauren is set to receive an honorary Knighthood from Queen Elizabeth herself. He'll be the first American fashion designer to be recognized with the knighthood insignia.


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Ralph Lauren, Princess Diana (in a dress by Lauren), and Anna Wintour attend a Washington Gala Charity Dinner in 1996.

It's fitting, given Lauren's association with classic Americana. He consciously crafted his label to represent a home-grown, high-fashion alternative to what was available in Europe. "When I started, I felt that America was too much about mass production, that what we made could be more special," Lauren told Town & Country for our November cover story. "Why should people go to Europe, to European brands, for good clothes? I wanted to show that we could do something American that was just as good."


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Meghan Markle wearing Ralph Lauren pants at Wimbeldon this summer, and Kate Middleton wearing a Ralph Lauren dress in 2015.

In his quest to provide Americans with top-notch clothing, he won over fashionistas across the pond as well—including the British royal family. Princess Diana famously wore a Lauren gown to a Washington, D.C. dinner in 1996, and more recently, Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton have both donned Lauren's designs.

The official ceremony will happen next year, when he'll be recognized not only for his contributions to fashion, but also his dedication to philanthropy. It's the latter that brought him together with Princess Diana in 1996, as the royal was attending a fundraising event for the Nina Hyde Center for Breast Cancer Research.


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Princess Diana presents Ralph Lauren with an award for philanthropy at the 1996 fundraising event.

The center was named in honor of Lauren's friend Nina Hyde, a Washington Post fashion editor who had recently died of breast cancer. "She wanted to start a center for women with cancer, and I said I would help her," Lauren explained. "I don’t want to be remembered only for selling thousands of shirts."

He shouldn't have to worry much longer—nothing shores up a legacy like knighthood.

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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