The Duchess of Northumberland was awarded an honorary degree to recognise her significant contribution to the North East.
The Duchess has played host to hundreds of thousands of international visitors at The Alnwick Garden since its launch in 2002.
Over the past 10 years it has attracted £150m into the North East thanks to her creative approach to tourism.
And yesterday, she was awarded an honorary degree at a graduation ceremony at Northumbria University.
As the largest visitor attraction in the region, The Alnwick Garden was the brainchild of the Duchess, whose husband ran the estate and suggested she transform forty-two acres of abandoned land to create a new site for tourism.
She has since captured the imagination of the young and old alike with her unique events programme.
From Cage fighting to Harley Davisons, visitors to the Alnwick Garden have been inspired by its magical grounds, charitable programmes and horticultural expertise.
The Alnwick Garden Trust, also established by the Duchess, is a registered charity which not only contributes to the running of the garden, but also provides educational and arts programmes for the community.
Additionally, the Duke and Duchess are patrons of over 160 charities across the North East, reinforcing their commitment to regional causes. The Duchess was also awarded The Variety Club Silver Heart for her services to charities in the region.
She graduated yesterday with students from Northumbria’s arts, design and social sciences programmes, at a ceremony being held at the university’s Sport Central Arena.
The recipients of honorary degrees are nominated by the University’s staff for their achievements, their links to the University, and their inspirational qualities.
Also receiving the honours this year are musician Clarence Adoo and retired doctor Lord Walton of Detchant.
Clarence Adoo has won fans around the world for continuing his musical career despite being paralysed from the shoulders down in a serious car accident in 1995.
Using Headspace, a bespoke electronic instrument, he is able to continue to make music through breath and head motions.
A founder member of the British Paraorchestra, he was awarded an MBE in recognition of his services to music in the New Year’s Honours 2012.
Neurologist Lord Walton will receive his honour alongside Northumbria graduates from Health and Life Sciences programmes this afternoon.