Mary Quant and Princess Diana’s Hairstylist Sam McKnight Recognized in King Charles’ First New Year Honors

LONDON — King Charles III has recognized a host of British beauty and fashion figures in his first New Year Honors list as monarch.

Designer Mary Quant, Johnnie Boden, podiatrist Margaret Dabbs and Sam McKnight, Princess Diana’s hairstylist from 1990 to 1997, will receive honorary titles for their services to the fashion and hair industry.

More from WWD

They are among more than 1,000 figures in the U.K. who are set receive royal accolades for their work in a variety of industries in the 2023 honors list.

The awards will be handed out in the first half of the year by King Charles III and senior members of the royal family, including Princess Anne and Prince William, the Prince of Wales.

Quant received an Order of the Companion of Honour, or CH, for her outstanding achievement in British fashion. The award is limited to just 65 people at any one time.

Quant will join fellow designer Paul Smith, who was named a Companion of Honour in 2020 by Queen Elizabeth II.

Clothes designer Mary Quant, one of the leading lights of the British fashion scene in the 1960's, having her hair cut by another fashion icon, hairdresser Vidal Sassoon, 10th November 1964.  (Photo by Ronald Dumont/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Mary Quant having her hair cut by hairdresser Vidal Sassoon in 1964. (Photo by Ronald Dumont/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

In 2021, the 92-year-old designer was the subject of Sadie Frost’s debut documentary “Quant,” which told the story of how she made women’s fashion accessible in the ’60s and ’70s.

“She really connected with what women were experiencing, their frustrations, the assumptions of men. Women today can relate when you hear her talking about her experiences in the ’60s and ’70s. She’s so powerful and connected that she could be a voice of women now. We definitely need women in fashion and media that are as vocal as her,” Frost told WWD in an interview ahead of the documentary’s release.

McKnight was given an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, or OBE, for his services to the fashion and beauty industry.

He is known for giving Princess Diana the short, slicked-back hairstyle she sported shortly before the royal couple separated in 1992.

King Charles’ choice to honor his late ex-wife’s hairstylist gives a clue to how he wants to lead, with compassion, and sensitivity.

In 2020, McKnight told The Telegraph that he first worked with Diana during the summer of 1990.

“It was a shoot for British Vogue; Patrick Demarchelier was the photographer on set. I didn’t know the princess was coming along; I thought it was a shoot with a few younger royals. But then toward the end of the day this tall, strong blond came radiating through the door, wearing a smart business suit and a polka-dot shirt,” McKnight told The Telegraph newspaper in 2020.

Lady Diana, Princess of Wales, attends the last tribute to Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace at Milan Cathedral (Duomo di Milano). (Photo by Alberto Pizzoli/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)
Princess Diana attends the tribute to Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace at the Duomo in Milan in 1997.

“One of her most iconic hairstyles was when I styled it completely slicked back. I used to do her hair like this on private photo shoots with Patrick. She loved it,” he added.

McKnight’s achievements have been celebrated in the fashion world, too — in 2019, he received the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator at the Fashion Awards in London.

Catalogue and online clothing entrepreneur Boden was awarded Commander of the Order of the British Empire, or CBE, for his services to the fashion and retail sector.

In fiscal 2021, turnover at Boden climbed 7.4 percent to 357.4 million pounds, while pretax profits surged 19 percent to 22.1 million pounds.

The business paid an 8 million pounds dividend to shareholders, according to accounts filed on Companies House, the official register of U.K. businesses.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 11: Johnnie Boden attends the Boden celebration of the FW22 Collection at Hotel Chelsea on October 11, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Boden)
Johnnie Boden attends Boden’s celebration of the fall 2022 collection at Hotel Chelsea on October 11, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Boden)

Some 1,107 Britons made it to the New Year Honors list across sectors including education, health, charity, food, sports and entertainment industries.

The Queen guitarist and animal welfare campaigner, Brian May made this year’s list along with the artist, writer and broadcaster Grayson Perry and the actor David Harewood.

Dame Vivienne Westwood, who died on Dec. 29, accepted her OBE in 1992 from Queen Elizabeth II in a gray skirt suit.

After the ceremony, while posing for the cameras outside Buckingham Palace, she twirled in her skirt, unintentionally exposing her bare crotch.

“It did not occur to me that, as the photographers were practically on their knees, the result would be more glamorous than I expected,” she later explained, adding that she heard the queen had found it amusing.

Westwood received a further honor, a damehood, in 2006.

Best of WWD

Click here to read the full article.