British Royal Warrants

By |2017-01-06T09:32:26+00:00May 12th, 2015|Categories: Style|Tags: , , |4 Comments

Three Royal Warrant CrestsCadbury, Aston Martin and Gieves & Hawkes are just a few of more than 800+ firms which currently hold British Royal Warrants for their goods and / or services. In addition to these well-known brands, there are many other companies from a wide range of industries whose products or services are formally endorsed by British Royal Family.

In this article we shall discuss British Royal Warrants including the history and granting process, as well as a few notable menswear establishments which currently hold the prestigious honor.

WHAT IS A ROYAL WARRANT?

A Royal Warrant of Appointment is a formal document which recognizes a tradesman or company that regularly supplies goods or services to members of the British Royal Family.

A variety of firms hold Royal Warrants, however certain professions / businesses are not eligible to receive the mark of recognition such as bankers, accountants, government agencies, media agencies or “places of refreshment” (e.g. theatres, restaurants, pubs, etc…).

After receiving the honor, Royal Warrant holders may publicly display their association with the Royal Household by way of displaying the Royal Coat of Arms on their premises, stationary and in other ways designated by the Royal Warrant Holders Association.

Typically, the words “By The Appointment of…” will appear underneath of the coat of arms when being displayed publicly, along with the grantor of the Royal Warrant and what goods are provided (as shown in photo).

HISTORY OF THE ROYAL WARRANT

Tower Of London From The Thames

The Royal Warrant has a rich history which can be traced as far back as the 12th century. Let’s take a look at some of the most notable moments in the Royal Warrants’ history:

  • 1155 – Henry II of England grants a “Royal Charter” to the Weavers’ Company, London’s first livery company. The Royal Charter granted to the Weavers’ Company in 1155 is the earliest known instance of a formal endorsement of craftsmanship by British Royalty.
  • 1400’s – The recognition of Royal tradesmen became increasingly formalized under a Royal Warrant of Appointment.
  • 1700’s – Royal Warrant holders begin to display the Royal Arms at their places of business, signifying their relation with the Royal Household.
  • 1840 – The Royal Tradesmen’s Association is established under Queen Victoria (Note: today is known as Royal Warrant Holders Association) to fight against fraudulent use / advertisement of Royal Arms by businesses and tradespeople.
  • 2015 – There are currently over 800 Royal warrant holders who supply a variety of goods and services to the British Royal Household. This year (2015) marks the 175th anniversary of the formation of The Royal Warrant Holders Association.
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HOW DO ROYAL WARRANTS WORK / GET GRANTED?

Royal_Warrant_Coat_of_ArmsAs one might imagine, the granting of a Royal Warrant is by no means a thoughtless gesture. In fact, there are several procedure / standards that exist to ensure that the firms receiving British Royal Warrants are of the highest quality.

BUSINESS QUALIFICATIONS

In order to be considered for a Royal Warrant, a company or tradesman must have supplied the Royal Household of HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh or HRH The Prince of Wales for a minimum of 5 years out of the past 7 consecutive years.

APPLICATION PROCESS

Eligible companies can then apply for a Royal Warrant via the Royal Warrant Holders Association.  Once submitted, the application will be reviewed by the Royal Household Warrants Committee, which is chaired by the Lord Chamberlain and is responsible for supervising the application process / mediating between businesses and the Royal Family. The Committee then decides whether to accept the application and pass it along to the Royal Grantor for final approval, or deny the application.

OFFICIAL ROYAL GRANTORS

Ultimately, a Royal Warrant can only be granted by an officially designated “Grantor” who is a member of the Royal Family. At the moment there are three members of the Royal Household who are able to officially grant a Royal Warrant of Appointment. These Grantors include HM The Queen of England, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Prince of Wales.

NOTABLE MENSWEAR / LIFESTYLE ROYAL WARRANT HOLDERS

As supporters of products and services of the highest quality, we at Bespoke Unit can appreciate firms that have earned the prestigious Royal Warrant for their goods or services. With that in mind, we have decided to highlight a few menswear / grooming companies that hold British Royal Warrants.

Currently, there are several noteworthy menswear establishments which proudly hold a British Royal Warrant. Some of the most notable firms include:

Benson & Clegg

By Appointment To HRH The Prince of Wales

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Benson & Clegg Bespoke TailorsFounded in 1937, Benson & Clegg is a bespoke tailor and provider of premier menswear accessories including neckwear, buttons, badges and cufflinks.  Benson & Clegg currently holds a Royal Warrant to HRH The Prince of Wales (originally granted in 1992) for the supply of buttons, badges and military neckwear. Additionally, Benson & Clegg was granted a Royal Warrant to HM King George VI in 1944 as his official bespoke tailors. To get an idea of these true bespoke tailors today, check out our previous posts featuring Benson & Clegg here.

Owners Of Benson And Clegg in shop

L to R: Tony Martin (owner), Paul Anthony, and Mark Gordon (owner) t

Penhaligon’s LTD London

By Appointment To HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

By Appointment To HRH The Prince of Wales

Penhaligons Royal Warrant Crests On ShowKnown today for its perfumes and fragrances, Pengaligon’s was originally founded in the 1860s as a barber shop. As a result, the firm received its first Royal Warrant in 1903 as Court Barber and Perfumer to Queen Victoria. The company’s second Royal Warrant was granted in 1956 by appointment to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh for the supply of Toilet Requisites and the company continues to supply the Royal Household to this day via its Burlington Arcade store shown in the photo. The third Royal Warrant (still held today) was issued by appointment to HRH The Prince of Wales for the supply of Toilet Requisites in 1988.

Penhaligons London Store Front

Truefitt & Hill

Truefitt & Hill London BarberBy Appointment To HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

Arguably the most prestigious barbering establishment and supplier of gentlemen’s grooming products in the world, Truefitt & Hill was first established in 1805 to cater to London’s gentry and has done so ever since. Throughout the years, Truefitt & Hill has received numerous Royal Warrants as they have styled just about every male member of the British Royal Family since George III. Today, Truefitt & Hill holds a Royal Warrant from HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and Truefitt barbers frequently visit Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle to attend to him.

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Other Notable Royal Warrant Holders

  1. Gieves & Hawkes – is one of the longest running bespoke tailoring establishments in the world, occupying 1 Savile Row
  2. Austin Reed – known for it’s menswear, and now has 70 location globally
  3. Barrow & Gale – manufacturer of fine briefcases and leather goods. Of note the famous red briefcase used by the British Chancellor to give the UK’s budget
  4. Hunter – known for its iconic wellington rain boots, made from 28 individual parts
  5. Barbour – nothing quite beats the smell and patina of a well loved waxed barbour jacket…nothing else needs to be said
  6. John Lobb – fine men’s shoes for almost 150 years
  7. Johnny Walker – is widely considered one of the most distributed brand of blended Scotch Whiskey in the world
  8. Burberry – founder Thomas Burberry created one the first waterproof fabrics, leading to the iconic trench coat. The brand has continued to innovate and evolved to be a leading world brand
  9. Loke & Co – hatters from the casual tweed flat cap to the formal top hat for Royal Ascot
  10. Wolsey – makers of clothing, of particular note the recent expansion in the golf market (a personal plus for me!)

And the list goes on…so go forth and explore all these outstanding bastions of regally approved craftsmanship.

With all the aforementioned companies one does have a great starting point to explore British heritage and regal connections. But it would be doing many other companies a disservice to not mention them with these “chosen brands”, especially British heritage brands. Ones that come immediately to mind are Budd Shirtmakers, Foster & Son shoes makes, and Fox Umbrellas. Further many of the warrant holders are department / general goods stores that hold many other brands that are most likely being utilized.

Please let us know your favorite Royal Warrant holders, and other heritage brands you have an affinity for.

About the Author:

Paul Anthony is the founder and creative director at Bespoke Unit. He has had a life long affair with design, watches, fragrance and clothing. Originally from England, he now lives in the USA splitting time between NYC & Philly. Favoring "British Style", but has an overall eclectic taste.

4 Comments

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  2. Michelle March 19, 2018 at 10:18 am - Reply

    How can a company continue to hold a British Royal Warrant & be classified a ”British Hertiage Brand” when their manufacturing is now outsourced to the Far East! i.e. Hunter Boot Ltd

    Surely this contradicts the purpose of attaining such an accreditation? It certainly raises an ”advertising standards” question, when you consider the sales/marketing benefits which come with having been awarded such a prestigious acknowledgement.

    • Charles-Philippe March 20, 2018 at 8:38 am - Reply

      Hi Michelle,

      It’s a fair question to which we don’t necessarily have the answer. Perhaps outsourcing to another country doesn’t always equate to lower manufacturing standards?

      If you’re only referring to Hunter, whilst production is in China today, they’re still handcrafted from 28 parts, which was what earned them their Royal Warrant. However, you do raise an interesting question.

      All the best,

      CP

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