Nothing marks excellence and superior quality quite like a Royal Warrant of Appointment. If you aren’t familiar take note: the unmistakable mark of a Royal Warrant on bottle, suit or label is the surest way to guarantee that the contents of what you’re about to purchase is well worth your money.
Since the Middle Ages tradesmen who have acted as suppliers of goods and services to the Sovereign have received formal recognition for meeting the Sovereign’s exacting standards. In short, the receiving of a Royal Warrant is something of a peerage for the trades: it’s a centuries old practice that rewards worthy tradesmen with a title that lets consumers know their product is of the highest calibre.
Currently there are about 850 privileged tradesmen who have earned the right to display the Royal Arms along with the words “By Appointment” on their product, packaging or advertising.
Royal Warrants are currently granted by Her Majesty The Queen, who has two Royal Arms (one used in Scotland), His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother was also a grantor of Warrants; Warrants granted by her were retained for five years from her death (until 2007).
Royal Warrants are granted at the discretion of the grantors to companies who have regularly supplied products or services to their houses for a period of at least five years. Each grantor can grant one Warrant to one supplier per industry, though one supplier can receive more than one Warrant. Barbour for example, a maker of waxed canvas jackets, holds Warrants from all three grantors. The holders of Royal Warrants are thus as diverse as the trades that the Royal family employs. While some Royal Warrant holders and their respective products may be intuitive: Twinings (tea), Laphroaig (scotch), Lea & Perrins (Worcestershire sauce), other industries like opticians (Boots) and ironmongery (NLS Fabrications) are a little more esoteric. In any case Royal Warrant holders truly represent a broad cross-section of trade and industry.
Although Royal Warrants are largely associated with brands, they are actually awarded to a named individual who must be the Chief Executive Officer, Managing Director, Sole Proprietor or the holder of a senior management appointment with direct access to the Board of Directors. This person, the grantee, is personally responsible for ensuring the Royal Warrant is used correctly.
A Royal Warrant is initially granted for a period of five years, after which it comes up for review by the Royal Household Tradesmen’s Warrants Committee. Some Warrants have been renewed for over 200 years. However Warrants are just as likely not to be renewed if the quality or supply for the product or service is insufficient, as far as the relevant Royal Household is concerned. A Warrant may 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.
The next time you’re at the liquor store, the cobbler or your tailor keep an eye out for products proudly displaying a Royal Warrant, you’ll be happy you did.