Everything You Need to Know About Royal Warrants

If you have even a passing interest in the British royal family you are likely to be familiar with the concept of a royal warrant. The coveted mark of recognition affords companies and services a status that many view as unrivaled, and is undeniably good for business.

However, as was the case with stamps, coins, and post boxes, Queen Elizabeth’s death in September 2022 meant practical changes for many who hold this honor. We take a look at what royal warrants are and what happens now in the new era of King Charles III.

Who can get a Royal Warrant?

A royal warrant can be given to people or companies who have supplied one of the royal households with goods or services. The Royal Warrant Holders Association (which represents holders and is a very useful resource for those looking to find out more) notes that this must have been “on a regular and on-going basis” and “for not less than five years out of the past seven.” Royal warrants are not given for business providing professional services such as legal, banking, or veterinary services. Examples of services they are given for include the supply and maintenance of flooring, textiles, alcohol, clothes, food, and jewelry. The royal household notes that holders do not need to be British-owned or based. Warrants are granted for up to five years before review.

Who decides who gets a Royal Warrant?

Royal warrants are given out by members of the royal family who have been designated as grantors. For many years, this was Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, and Prince Charles. The monarch decides who is a grantor. At the moment King Charles is the only grantor.

What does having a Royal Warrant mean for holders?

Once granted a royal warrant, a company can display the royal arms belonging to the royal who selected them for the honor on their “products, packaging, stationary, advertising, premises and vehicles.” They can describe themselves as by appointment to the royals or suppliers to the royals but are not supposed to give details of what they provide. The Royal Warrant Holders Association notes that the business must abide by rules set by the Lord Chamberlain’s office including that the royal arms cannot be used in a trade mark. Royal warrant holders do not provide their services for free.

What does Queen Elizabeth’s death mean for her Royal Warrant holders?

Intriguingly, when a grantor dies all the warrants that they assigned become void. So unless a business also has another royal warrant from a different grantor (which is sometimes the case) they are no longer holders. But they are not cut off completely straight away, as they are able to choose to use the royal arms for up to two years. According to the Royal Warrant Holders Association, there are currently 601 companies with royal warrants from Queen Elizabeth, which make up a vast majority of the around 800 business currently displaying the honour. The association notes that there will be a review by the royal household on a change of sovereign. Buckingham Palace did not respond to a request asking for confirmation this was taking place.

What are some examples of Royal Warrant holders?

A full list of current holders is here. They cover a wide range of goods and services and range from luxury suppliers such as jewelers Garrard & Co to everyday businesses like Heinz foods. Photographer Hugo Burnand, who has been tipped to be taking the official Coronation photographs, has a royal warrant. Other holders include milliner Rachel Trevor Morgan and glove manufacturers Cornelia James.

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