BY APPOINTMENT TO THE QUEEN……
With the jubilee celebration upon us, it’s a good time to think about the good our royals do for trade in the country. The Queen is known as one of our hardest working monarchs but royal influence goes further than just being a trade ambassador for the UK abroad. One instance of this is largely overlooked….
Walk nearby your new Kensington flat and you may come across the royal ‘coat of arms’ displayed over a local shop front. This signifies that the shop has received a ‘royal warrant’, a mark of recognition for the quality of goods supplied to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth or His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.
To be eligible, companies must have supplied the royal household for at least five out of the past seven years.
In medieval times the monarch had the pick of the nation’s best traders. The practice of ‘warrants’ rewarded and recognised traders favored by the king. It did not signify goods were necessarily the best, merely that the monarch preferred one trader over the competition. By the 15th century, the system had been formalised, with the King’s ‘Head of Royal Household’ making appointments, a responsibility he still enjoys today.
Traders began displaying the royal coats of arms from the 18th century.
Royal warrant holders can be called in to assist on special royal occasions. At the 1953 coronation of Elizabeth I for example, Sir Norman Hartnell created the Queen’s dress. Earlier still in 1935, a ‘Kings House’ was exclusively built and furnished by warrant holders to showcase their talents. The house celebrated the 25th anniversary of the reign of George V.
Today around 800 UK traders display royal warrants. They belong to a variety of industries and range from individual craftsmen to global multinationals. and almost all now also belong to the same association. They are united only by standards of service, quality and excellence.
It should also go without saying that for competitive tenders involving foreign competition, the royal endorsement is literally worth it’s weight in gold.
Bankers, brokers or solicitors cannot apply. The warrants are not generally available for providers of professional services. Newspaper magazines or other publications are also excluded.
So if the invoice from your paint supplier has the words ‘…by appointment to Her Royal Highness’, you may have one small thing in common with English royalty. Perhaps Queen Elizabeth chose the same colour as you for her bedroom!