The honour of holding a Royal Warrant lies with a few companies – around 800 to be more precise. Not just anyone can join this exclusive “club”; a company must prove itself first.
After supplying the households of either The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh or The Prince of Wales for five straight years, a company can then apply for Royal Warrant status. Suppliers also must prove that they have an environmental and sustainability policy and action plan in place.
Once approved, a company may use the Royal Arms on their product, packaging, stationery, advertising, premises and vehicles.
A Royal Warrant document is also issued. However, restrictions apply such as your company may not disclose certain details of the goods or services provided to the Household.
The Royal Warrant began all the way back to the medieval times when it was highly important to impress the Monarch who, in return, would pick the country’s best tradespeople. By the time the 15th century came around, the head of the Royal Household, the Lord Chamberlain, formally appointed tradespeople with a Royal Warrant of Appointment. The Royal Arms began to show up on stationery and at the businesses of Royal tradespeople in the 18th century.
On 25th May 1840, a gathering of ‘Her Majesty’s Tradesmen’ was held in honour of Queen Victoria’s birthday. Once this became an annual event, they formed themselves into an association that became eventually known as the Royal Warrant Holders Association, which still stands today.
The Guardian recently spoke with companies who have achieved Royal Warrant status. James Hygate, founder and CEO of Green Fuels explained how they got started.
He commented: “We were contacted by a railway company, but we had no idea it was for the royal train…They thought that a train couldn’t be run on more than 20% biodiesel, but we said we could do 100%. This was in 2006 and biofuel was still emerging then”.
Hygate soon discovered that Prince Charles wanted his train to run on biofuel and requested his representatives to look into it. After Green Fuels had provided fuel to the Royal family, they were once again contacted, this time by representatives at Aston Martin and Jaguar Land Rover. Prince Charles now wished for all his cars to be more environmentally friendly. Aston Martin outfitted the heir to the throne’s vehicles. One car even made its television début when it was driven during the wedding of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – thus providing unprecedented publicity to a small company!
While your business doesn’t need to be British to hold a Royal Warrant, it helps! Out of the approximately 800 firms that hold a warrant, only a dozen are not British, and half of those are champagne companies!
Do you own a company and are interested in becoming a Royal Warrant holder? Visit the association’s website to learn more about how to achieve this!