Princess Anne makes her London Fashion Week debut to present award

By Heather Cichowski

Princess Anne made her London Fashion Week debut on Feb. 18, taking on the honour of closing the Fall 2020 season by presenting the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design.

The Princess Royal, who serves as President of the UK Fashion and Textile Association, handed out the award to designer Rosh Mahtani of Alighieri Jewellery.

Rosh Mahtani of Alighieri Jewellery looks thrilled to receive The Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design from Princess Anne! Photo: © Jeff Spicer/BFC/Getty Images for BFC

Rosh, who is self-taught, creates handmade pieces that were originally inspired by Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, hence the name.

The Queen Elizabeth II Award was launched in 2018 "in recognition of the role the fashion industry plays in society and diplomacy." It is given to a womenswear, menswear or accessories designer who demonstrates a high level of talent and originality, while also showcasing strong sustainable practices and/or value to the community.

The Queen presents fashion designer Richard Quinn with his award alongside Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council Caroline Rush on Feb. 20, 2018. Photo: © Tim Whitby/BFC/Getty Images

Alighieri Jewellery was selected as the 2020 Queen Elizabeth II Award recipient thanks to the brand's use of responsibly-sourced materials and their promotion of local manufacturing.

Alighieri's casters are two streets away from its studio in Hatton Gardens, London and the bronze material used is recycled.

The latest Alighieri Jewellery collection, entitled "Love in the Waste Land" – a reference to T.S. Eliot’s 1922 poem – was showcased at the event, held in the crypt of St. Etheldreda’s church in London.

Princess Anne admiring Alighieri Jewellery's creations at the London Fashion Week event. Photo: © Jeff Spicer/BFC/Getty Images for BFC

This year marks the first time that the prize has been given to a jewellery designer.

The previous awards were presented to womenswear designer Richard Quinn in 2018 and gender-neutral designer Bethany Williams in 2019.

"I feel really proud that jewellery is being recognized, and overwhelmed and honoured to be put alongside [previous winners] Richard and Bethany," Rosh told British Vogue.

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The Princess Royal acknowledged the choice to highlight jewellery design in her speech.

"Each year, this award has gone to a slightly different part of the fashion world," she said, according to the Evening Standard. "It's entirely appropriate that we should not forget that jewellery is a key part of fashion.

"...I'm delighted that fine jewellery has made it to this award winner and particularly this individual, who has found her own way of getting her creations right to the forefront of the market.

"To be able to do that here I hope will be of enormous assistance to her in the future.”

Princess Anne was suitably stylish for the London Fashion Week event. She sported a striking emerald green skirt suit with contrasting black buttons and accessories. Her hair was fastened into a sophisticated updo.

Camilla, Duchess Of Cornwall poses with fashion designer Bethany Williams and models after the designer's London Fashion Week show on Feb. 19, 2019. Photo: © Eddie Mulholland - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The Queen memorably presented the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award. Her Majesty made a surprise appearance at emerging designer Richard Quinn's show. She sat in the front row next to US Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour.

In 2019, Duchess Camilla presented Bethany Williams with the prize during London Fashion Week.

Over the years, several royals, including Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, Princess Diana and Duchess Meghan, have attended fashion weeks in various cities including London, New York and Paris.

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