Gymshark founder Ben Francis, who created a billion-pound sportswear empire from his parents’ garage in Birmingham 11 years ago, has received an MBE from the Prince of Wales.
The 30-year-old left Aston University in 2012 to focus on his business full-time while keeping his job as a Pizza Hut delivery driver to pay the bills.
Today he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire at Windsor Castle for his services to business.
Supported by his wife and family, Mr Francis was beaming when he received the honor from Prince William at the investiture ceremony on Wednesday, having been recognized in the King’s New Year Honors List.
Following the announcement earlier this year, Mr Francis said he ‘couldn’t believe it’.
Ben Francis, founder and chief executive of Gymshark, pictured receiving his MBE from Prince William during an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle
The 30-year-old received the honor from Prince William at Windsor Castle today
He wrote on LinkedIn: “I can’t believe it but I have been awarded the honor of an MBE.”
“It’s probably the most surreal feeling I’ve had receiving an award. I’m so grateful to everyone around me who supports me in everything I do at Gymshark.
In a Forbes list of billionaires published in April, the father-of-two is said to have a net worth of $1.2bn (£992m), making him the UK’s youngest billionaire.
Gymshark, headquartered in Solihull, West Midlands, is worn by some of the world’s biggest celebrities and influencers, from Rita Ora to Nicole Scherzinger.
The brand – which now sells in 230 countries – has had a few hiccups along the way, including when it was accused of a ‘virtue signal’ in 2020 after using photos of a model with her love handles exposed .
The ‘grosphobic’ followers claimed influencer Nelly London, from Brighton, ‘had no business’ promoting the brand’s fitness wear and claimed they would boycott ‘woke warriors’ across the range .
However, the entrepreneur has gone from strength to strength in his life, living a life of luxury as a self-made billionaire.
Francis, who received the EY UK Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2020, married Robin Gallant from Canada in September 2021.
The couple welcomed twins on December 24 last year after publicly announcing Robin was three months pregnant.
They first met after Francis asked her to promote his brand on his social media. She has since left her home in Canada to live in the UK with him.
Chris Kamara, one of football’s most popular figures, is also among those to receive an MBE this year.
Francis, now 30, pictured in Gymshark gym gear with his model wife Robin Callant. The couple welcomed twin sons into their lives on December 24 last year
The Gymshark founder received his honorary doctorate in business administration from Aston University in May
Ben changes Gymshark clothes for a suit in what appears to be a business meeting
Kamara was made a member of the British Empire by Prince William during Tuesday’s investiture ceremony, with the couple sharing a joke during their exchange.
The 65-year-old played for nine English professional clubs in a 20-year career before managing Bradford and Stoke, but in recent years has become best known for his work as a pundit and presenter on Sky Sports .
Lionesses stars Beth Mead and Lucy Bronze were also awarded their MBEs for their services to football following their role in England’s Euro 2022 triumph.
The couple were pictured receiving their royal honors from Prince William.
It caps a string of accolades for Arsenal star Mead, who won the Golden Boot of the Euro 2022 tournament and won BBC Sports Personality of the Year in December.
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