Ritchie was awarded the prize in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace last night. The award, which is in its 50th year, recognises a lifetime’s contribution to design.
Brompton, which first developed its folding bicycle design more than 20 years ago, saw off a shortlist including architects David Adjaye and Eric Parry, graphic designer Peter Saville, fashion designer Hussein Chalayan, designer Wayne Hemingway and husband and wife graphic design team Jay Smith and Howard Milton.
In addition to Ritchie’s win, two special commendations were awarded to graphic designer Michael Peters and fashion designer Jeff Banks.
David Kester, chief executive of the Design Council, says, ‘In this special year we celebrate 50 years of innovation, the design evangelism of the Duke of Edinburgh and the value of the designer in our society.
‘In the current economic environment it is timely to remind ourselves that the UK has such great creative capabilities.’
Previous winners of the prize include designer Thomas Heatherwick (2006), Pentagram founder Kenneth Grange (2001) and inventor James Dyson (1997).