Congrats to Beatrix Ong…now a “Freeman”…or ah, “woman”!

We do hope Beatrix Ong is smiling ear to ear this morning! We’ve just received news that the talented  designer has been admitted to the Freedom of the City of London. That’s right, Ong is officially a Freeman. She has been admitted into one of the oldest Livery companies in existence, the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers (leather goods) and in its 740 years in existence, Ong is the first to be presented with a Cordwainer’s pin, an honour previously reserved for men only! 

For those who are in the know, you’ll recognize that this is huge achievement for any individual. For those totally in the dark about what we’re discussing here, I offer a brief explanation

One of the oldest surviving traditional ceremonies still in existence today is the granting of the Freedom of the City of London. It is believed that the first Freedom was presented in 1237. The medieval term ‘freeman’ meant someone who was not the property of a feudal lord, but enjoyed privileges such as the right to earn money and own land. Town dwellers who were protected by the charter of their town or city were often free – hence the term ‘freedom of the City’.

Last year Dame Judy Dench, model Twiggy and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex all received such an honour. Past recipients have included Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher.

Beatrix commented, “Its an honour to have been admitted and welcomed into the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers. I hope to continue supporting them and their charitable causes including the support of Cordwainers College, the very best I can. I am very proud to have become a Freeman of the City of London this year. I have been told it is greatly disruptive these days for freemen to walk their sheep over London Bridge, so it will be a privilege I will not attempt for now!”

This recognition comes just one year after Beatrix was an awarded an MBE from Queen Elizabeth II. I’m thinking knighthood may be next! Dame Beatrix Ong has a nice ring to it.


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