Ten years after receiving her first recognition from the Queen, with the CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire), the third level of the order of chivarly established by the Queen's grandfather George V, Zaha Hadid has been made Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (DBE) in this year's Queens birthday honours list. This is the second highest rank in this order of chivalry and is the equivalent of a knighthood for women. Indeed like knights, who earn the right to put the title “Sir” before their name (the whole name), women earn the right to put Dame before their name – so now we will have to call her Dame Zaha Hadid – quite a mouthful.
London 2012 Acquatics Centre architect Dame Zaha Hadid is not new to awards, having also picked up two Stirling prizes for the MAXXI in 2010 and for the Evelyn Grace Academy in 2011, as well as the Jane Drew Prize earlier this year, amongst many other awards. Despite this, as she said “I’ve met the Queen on several occasions, in Istanbul and here in London, but of course this is quite a different matter and I’m sure one will be nervous.” On hearing the news Dame Zaha Hadid's first thoughts went out to her colleagues and clients as well as her family “It is a tremendous honour for me to receive this award,” she said. “I would like to thank all my colleagues and clients for their hard work and support. I am delighted that architecture has been recognised in this way.” Then regarding her parents: “I’m sure they would be thrilled. I know my brothers will be very excited when they hear the news.” “My father went to school in England in the 1930s, to the LSE, and everything he learned at the time is why I have always leaned towards the UK."
Congratulations Dame Zaha Hadid!