The Royal Warrant

Take a look at our Royal Warrant holding designers that have been favourites of the Royal Family for years…

A Royal Warrant is perhaps the most defining accolade a company can attain. In an age of spurious paid-for celebrity endorsement, the Royal Warrant exists in a vacuum, decided not by expensive contracts and numbers of followers, but by discerning, methodical judgement through tried and tested use.

Only three members of the Royal Family are entitled to bestow warrants: HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Prince of Wales. Companies can only be awarded the honour after their goods or services have been bought consistently by one of these members of the Royal Family for five years out of seven. It’s a dedicated and thorough policing of companies – currently there are around 800 registered as holding a Royal Warrant – ranging from plumbing services to the more glamorous worlds of fashion and beauty.

The challenge of producing goods and services fine enough for Royalty has been around since the Middle Ages; in 1155 Henry II granted a Royal Charter to the Weavers’ Guild as a reflection of goods used by the Royal Household. Workmen and craftspeople continued to seek favour from, and impress, the Court with competition throughout the decades being fiercely fought for royal recognition. By the eighteenth century tradespeople began displaying the Royal Coat of arms on their stationery and premises, and by 1840 the Royal Warrant Holders Association was formed to oversee companies holding Royal Warrants.

Today’s Royal Warrant holders are varied but perhaps it is no wonder that, at the luxury and fancy goods end, they are all companies with a rich British heritage and craftsmanship.

Tatler magazine claims that there is a set of Molton Brown (awarded a Royal Warrant by the Queen in 2013) Orange & Bergamot in every bathroom at Balmoral. In competition for ‘Supplier of Toiletries’ is the historic perfumer Penhaligon’s, which was first awarded a Royal Warrant by Queen Alexandra in 1903. In 1956 HRH The Duke of Edinburgh followed suit, as did HRH Prince Charles in 1988, with Molton Brown supplying the palaces from their Mayfair boutique. It’s certainly an insight into how fragrant The Royal Household and its members must be.

Given their love of outdoor sports, it’s no surprise that both Hunter and Barbour have long-standing Royal Warrants; they were issued from both HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in 1977 and 1986, and 1974 and 1982 respectively. In 1987, HRH Prince Charles also issued Barbour with his sign of approval. Both these brands are renowned for their practical durability as well as timeless style – in other words, perfect attire for the Royals.

Of course, no great British house could be without that most quintessential stationery accompaniment, a diary by Smythson. The illustrious 125-year-old Bond Street store has kept HRH The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH Prince Charles in beautiful stationery since 1964, 2002 and 1980 respectively. It was also the very proud holder of a fourth Royal Warrant from HM The Queen Mother (until her death in 2007) – a rare position matched by only eight other companies in the world at that time.

Looking for the ultimate in heritage luxury? Seek out those companies with a Royal Warrant: if it’s good enough for the Queen…

The Royal Edit

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