Ralph Lauren is a lot of things. An American success story. A legendary designer. A philanthropist. A man who, just last year, celebrated a half-century helming a fashion brand that bears his name. And now he’s adding one more thing to a list that’s already impressively long: honorary British knight.
Today in London, Lauren was presented with the honorary knighthood insignia by Prince Charles in a private ceremony. His official title, now, is Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE). It’s a mouthful, sure. But it’s also a truly remarkable feat for Lauren.
While knighthood sans the “honorary” distinction is reserved for British citizens, non-British nationals are awarded their distinctions by the Queen herself under the advisement of the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary. So while the Prince of Wales was the man who met Lauren at Buckingham Palace, the orders came straight from the top.
This is far from the first time Ralph Lauren has been given an award. Aside from his many (many) honors from within the fashion industry, Lauren has received the Key to the City of New York and the French Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur. And though a large portion of the designer’s honors are directly tied to his work in molding the way men and women dress, his philanthropic work—notably in funding research to help put an end to cancer—is also at the heart of his legacy.
Lauren’s honorary knighthood coincides with an announcement this month that the Ralph Lauren Corporation will continue its support of The Royal Marsden hospital, which in 2016 opened The Ralph Lauren Centre for Breast Cancer Research. Soon, a new facility will open: the Oak Cancer Centre, which will host 300 researchers and an expected 140,000 patients each year.
His impressive contribution to the world of style aside, that alone sounds like a pretty damn good reason to give the man a title. And now, he can go by Ralph Lauren, KBE, should he prefer.