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Interior designer Kelly Hoppen said she feels British “through and through” and is passionate about making young people see Britain’s merits as she received a royal honour at Windsor Castle.
The South Africa-born designer was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to the Government’s Great campaign, helping to promote British creativity, business and commerce around the world.
The Princess Royal presented Ms Hoppen with a medal at an investiture ceremony on Tuesday.
Hoppen told the PA news agency at Windsor that Anne was “wonderful to talk to”.
“She knew so much about what I was doing and so we talked a lot about making young people believe that Britain is great and supporting Great Britain and the creative sector.”
The designer said that as part of her work with the Great campaign, she exported British-made houses to countries all over the world.
She said: “Then I started looking at how we were supporting small businesses, whether it was crafts people, people in my sector, but then it became sort of more about mentoring young people to get them to believe in what they were doing and supporting Great and talking about Great in a way that would be inspiring to people.
“I’m very British and and I’m very into everything about Britain.”
Asked what defines Britishness, Hoppen pointed to a stately room in Windsor Castle, saying: “Well, this is very impressive. I love the heritage of Britain.”
The entrepreneur said she was “humbled” to receive her second royal accolade, having been made an MBE for services to interior design in 2009.
Over her four-decade career, the award-winning designer has created interiors for homes, luxury hotels and superyachts.
Globally renowned for her East-meets-West style and focus on neutral shades, she counts David and Victoria Beckham among her clients and has designed aircraft interiors for British Airways.
She has written numerous books and has regularly appeared on TV, including as a dragon on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den and on ITV’s This Morning.
Hoppen said she was still “loving” interior design, and her eponymous design company was busy running around 48 projects.
She was at the ceremony alongside actress Lesley Manville and TV chef Ching-He Huang, as well as others being recognised for making a difference in their community or field of work.
Huang, who was visibly emotional, said she felt “really honoured” to have been made a MBE for services to the culinary arts, and that meeting the princess was “really special”.
“I felt like I was looking at a mirror image of the Queen,” the British-Chinese food writer and presenter said.
She added she was “a bit nervous” and was telling herself: “Don’t lose your cool, Ching!”
Huang, who has written 10 cookbooks and presented TV programmes with the aim of bringing traditional Chinese family-style home cooking to UK kitchens, said she learned to cook from her mother.
Fighting back tears, the chef told PA: “I just wish my parents were here.”
In honour of her relatives, she wore a family heirloom to the ceremony – a black and red dress given to her by her aunt.