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Princess Diana's hairstylist was just awarded an MBE by Princess Anne

Sam McKnight received the honour for services to fashion and beauty

princess anne awards sam mcknight mbe© Photo: Alamy
Orin Carlin
Content Writer
Updated: March 3, 2023
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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 Anne Awards Sam McKnight An MBE© Photo: Alamy

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.

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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 Short Hair© Photo: Getty Images

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.

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