Princess Diana's hairstylist Sam McKnight received an MBE for services to fashion and beauty from Princess Anne – see photo
Hair extraordinaire Sam McKnight just received an MBE for services to fashion and beauty. The industry expert, who worked as Princess Diana's personal hairstylist for seven years, visited Buckingham Palace on Friday to accept his award from Princess Anne.
Sam was named in King Charles' 2023 New Year's Honours List at the end of last year, a list that recognises "the achievements and service of extraordinary people across the UK".
The hair veteran was responsible for Princess Diana's radically shorter crop that she debuted in the 1990s, a defining cut that changed the face of royal beauty.
Princess Diana's hairstylist received the honour from Princess Anne
Sam, who is also the founder of his own eponymous haircare brand, accepted his appointment as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire at the palace and reflected on what the honour meant to him.
MORE: This is going to be the biggest SS23 hair trend according to Princess Diana's hairdresser
READ: 3 London Fashion Week-approved hair trends to try at home
"It means a great deal to someone of my generation, to be recognised and acknowledged as someone who has made a difference, forged a new path, and flown the flag all over the world for the UK," Sam explained.
"When I started in the mid-1970s, a session hairdresser was not really a career option, I was warned that it was not lucrative, few prospects for advancement, so I now see I was a pioneer!"
"Look how the business has grown, and nothing pleases me more than looking now and seeing how I helped pave the way for the now many super talented hairdressers out there creating beautiful hair," Sam added.
Princess Diana sporting a shorter style at the 41st annual United Cerebral Palsy Awards benefit gala in 1995
He first met Princess Diana in 1991 on a photoshoot for the December issue of British Vogue. She asked Sam directly what he would do if he had free rein over her hair and the hairstylist suggested that she opt for a shorter style and embrace a more pared back approach.
MORE: Princess Diana's makeup artist Mary Greenwell shares her royal-approved beauty tips
READ: The 5 biggest beauty moments from London Fashion Week AW23
Her radical new look, alongside Sam's formidable session work, turned him into a highly respected industry icon and, having recently witnessed him in action at London Fashion Week, Hello! Fashion can confirm that he still remains at the very top of his game.
Like this story? Sign up to our Hello! Fashion newsletter to get your weekly 'Fashion Fix' delivered straight to your inbox.