WHAT IS A ROYAL WARRANT & DISCOVER IT'S WONDERFUL HISTORY
A Royal Warrant is a mark of recognition given to an individual or company who supply goods or services to HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh or HRH The Prince of Wales or their Households.
The monarch decides who can grant Royal Warrants, these are referred to as Grantors.
Currently the HM The Queen and HRH The Prince of Wales grant Royal Warrants.
In the past Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh were also grantors of Warrants.
Currently there are over 800 warrant holders, these include a wide range of people & companies, from many different industries including individual craftspeople to global multi-nationals.
The individuals and companies are not required to be British owned or UK based.
A Royal Warrant is initially granted for up to five years to a named individual at a company, known as the “Grantee”, An official Royal Warrant Display Document is sent to the Grantee which provides evidence of the authority to use the Royal Arms.
When a royal warrant is granted, it gives the warrant holder the right to display the royal arms, however they are not entitled to claim or imply any exclusivity of supply.
When a company displays the Royal Arms in relation to their business, the Coat of Arms must always be accompanied by the Legend, this means which member of the royal family granted the Royal Warrant, the name of the company, the type of goods or services provided and the head office address of the company.
The manner in which the royal warrant can be displayed on a company’s products stationary adverts and other printed literature in their premises and on delivery vehicles is governed by the Lord Chamberlain.
The grantee must insure they follow these rules correctly.
All Royal Warrants are reviewed by the Royal Household Warrants Committee in the year before they are due to expire.
Warrants potentially may not be renewed if the quality or supply of the product or service falls below the standard of the relevant royal household and can be cancelled at any time and is automatically reviewed if the Grantee dies, leaves the business, or if the firm goes bankrupt or is sold.
Since the middle ages individuals who have supplied the royal family with goods and services have been formally recognised.
Originally this took the form of Royal charters given collectively to various guilds in trades and crafts which later became known as livery companies.
In 1684 goods and services to the palace also included Haberdasher of Hats, a Watchmaker in Reversion, an Operator for the Teeth and a Goffe-Club Maker.
In 1789, a Pin Maker, a Mole Taker, a Card Maker and a Rat Catcher were among tradesmen appointed to the court.
As the centuries passed the relationship with certain individuals and companies was formally recognised in the way of the Royal Warrant. Selected companies have had Royal Warrants for over 100 years.
In 1840 in honour of Queen Victoria’s birthday Her Majesty’s Tradesmen’ held a gathering.
They later decided to make this an annual event and formed themselves into an association which eventually became known as the Royal Warrant Holders Association.
The main purpose of this association is to ensure the existence of the royal warrant a treasured and respected Institution.
It gives advice to members of all matters related to the Royal Warrants and assists with the correct interpretation and implementation of the Lord Chamberlain’s Rules.
It also helps members to communicate and network with each other through a programme of social, business and networking events. The Association is not part of the Royal Household, but belongs to its members.
You can apply for a Royal Warrant, if you have been supplying goods or services to the royal households of HM The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh or The Prince of Wales for at least five years out of seven (to include during the 12 months before applying).
Businesses that fall into the below categories, are not eligible to apply for a royal warrant as they are not granted for any professional services –
bankers / brokers or agents (including insurance brokers or agents)
solicitors, employment agencies, party planners training providers, veterinary service providers or government agencies.
Nor is a Royal Warrant granted to newspapers, magazines, annual publications, journals, periodicals or other similar publications.
Ultimately The final decision about a grant in this respect will reside with the Lord Chamberlain’s Office.
Royal Warrants are only granted to companies that provide goods or services to the Royal Household.
THE HISTORY BEHIND THE ROYAL WARRANT
The history of the royal warrant dates back to medieval times.
Competition for royal favour was intense, and the monarch had the pick of the bunch so to speak when it came to the best tradespeople in the land.
By the 15th century the lord chamberlain head of the royal household was responsible for formally appointing tradespeople with a Royal Warrant, a practice that still goes on today.
Fast forward to the 18th century and royal tradespeople began displaying the royal coat of arms at their places of work and on their stationary.
In 1840 the royal warrant holders association was formed.
Below is a timeline of events that highlights crucial points in the history of the royal warrant ranging from the 12th century to present day.
1155 henry II granted Weavers company a royal charter, the earliest known example of a formal document between royalty and tradespeople.
The Great Wardrobe a department that organised the royal households accounts and admin.
It holds the earliest records of transactions between royal households and craftspeople and traders who still form the bulk of Royal Warrant holders to this day.
As Different trades begin to organise themselves more effectively and maintain standards trading associations known as livery companies develop.
These include Drapers company who were granted a royal charter by Edward the III in 1364 and the mercer company headed by the famous dick Whittington granted royal charter by Richard II in 1394.
Royal tradespeople are recognised with royal warrants of appointment, these include William Caxton England’s first printer, who was appointed as kings printer in 1476.
In 1520 the royal tradespeople created the field of cloth for henry the VIII near Guines the magnificent site for his diplomatic meeting with Francios I of France
The granting of Royal Warrants is re-established by Charles II following its abolition under Oliver Cromwell.
Royal Tradespeople begin to display the Royal coat of arms on their premises.
In 1837 queen Victoria ascends to the throne almost 2000 royal warrants are granted during her reign. Royal tradespeople begin to gather socially to celebrate the monarchs birthday.
The royal tradespeople association formed with 25 members and begins to challenge the increasing cases of improper use of the Royal Arms.
1870s & 1880s
Rules governing the royal warrants use are tightened so that bankrupts lose their warrants.
Warrants also cannot be automatically transferred between companies upon merger or acquisition. The false display of royal arms is outlawed in parliament.
The association is incorporated becoming the official body that protects the rights of royal warrant holders.
The association aims governance and remit are established by the royal charter of incorporation and it is renamed the royal warrant holders association.
membership of the association increases to include the more than half of all warrant holders and cases of improper use of the royal arm are reduced.
To mark the 25th anniversary of the association king George V builds the kings house showcasing the trades products and skills of the warrant holders.
The house is exhibited at the ideal home exhibition before being rebuilt in surrey and presented to Edward VIII
The coronation of HM Queen Elisabeth the II takes place many royal warrant holders are commissioned to assist including courtier sir Norman Hartnell who created the queen’s coronation dress and robe.
The queen Elizabeth scholarship trust (QEST) was formed by the association to mark its 150th anniversary and the 90th birthday of queen Elizabeth, the queen mother.
The association and its charitable arm the queen Elizabeth scholarship trust (QEST) establishes offices at 1 Buckingham place and the association assists with more of the increasing administrative work connected with royal warrants.
The association royal charter is renewed as well as its aims governance and remit, almost all royal warrant holders and members.
The association hosts the coronation festival in the gardens of Buckingham palace attended by 60,000 visitors over 4 days, It’s the biggest event ever held in the modern history of the royal warrant.
The association celebrates the 175th anniversary and the 25th anniversary of the queen Elizbeth scholarship trust (QEST)
HM The Queen becomes Patron of the queen Elizabeth scholarship trust for her 90th birthday year.
HRH The Prince Of Wales becomes Patron of the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST)