Thursday, August 26, 2010

Royal Focus: Royal Warrants

The next time you enjoy some Twinning tea or Johnnie Walker you may want to take a close look at the package. You may have seen this particular image before and not known what it means.

Since the Middle Ages, tradesmen and companies that have provided a service or goods to the Sovereign have received formal recognition through a Royal Warrant. Originally this patronage took the form of 'royal charters' granted collectively to various guilds in trades and crafts, which later became known as livery companies.

The first on record was given by Henry II in 1155 to the Weavers Company. Over the centuries, the relationship evolved between the Crown and individual tradesmen and was formalized through 'royal warrants'.  Currently, only three members of the royal family grant royal warrants - The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales. When she was alive, the Queen Mother also granted warrants, which were kept valid until 2007 - five years after her death. They are granted to companies that have provided services to the royal family for a minimum of five years. Upon issue, the royal warrant allows the grantee or company to use 'By Royal Appointment' and display the royal coat of arms on their products such as stationery, advertisements and other printed material, in his or her premises and on delivery vehicles.

BALLATER, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 07:  The Royal Warrant is seen on the wall outside Chalmers Bakery in Balleter on September 7, 2008 in Ballater, Scotland. Royal Warrants of Appointment have been issued for centuries to those who supply goods or services to a royal court or certain royal personages. The warrant enables the supplier to advertise the fact that they supply to the royal family, so lending prestige to the supplier. Shops and business in the town of Balleter have historically supplied the Balmoral Estate and display their warrants with pride. The Balmoral Estate is in Aberdeenshire, Scotland and is the private residence of The Queen. Beloved by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Balmoral Castle has remained a favourite residence for The Queen and her family during the summer holiday period in August and September. The Castle is located on the large Balmoral Estate, a working estate which aims to protect the environment while contributing to the local economy.  (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)Royal warrants are initially granted for five years after which point they come up for review. Should the goods or service reduce in quality or the supply of the product is insufficient to the Royal Household, a royal warrant will not be renewed. The warrants may be cancelled at any time or automatically come up for review should the holder die, leaves the business or if the company goes bankrupt or is sold. Some companies have a record of royal warrants over a 100 years. The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales can grant only one warrant to any individual business, however, there are some companies that hold all three.

Royal warrants are granted for a number of products and services, including dry-cleaners to fishmongers, agricultural machinery to computer software.  There are currently approximately 800 Royal warrant holders, holding over 1,100 Royal warrants between them (some have more than one Royal warrant).

1 comment:

Daniel Wolf said...

Is there a list of historical royal warrants? Some family members long ago stated that some ancestors might have been "fishmongers to the Queen of England." In 1880.
It would be great of we could find something about that, to prove or disprove.
Thanks.
Daniel Wolf
daniel103wolf@gmail.com