The Royal Warrant Q&A

We are very proud to hold the Royal Warrant to H.M. Queen Elizabeth II but how did we receive such an accolade; who else receives them and how does the issuing of them work? We thought we would give that a go with the following Q&A. If you have any further questions please get in touch with us.

Our Royal Warrant with 'The Queen' by Joy Pitts

What actually is a Royal Warrant?

The correct term is Royal Warrants of Appointment which are issued to tradespeople for the supply of goods to the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales.

How many are issued?

There are approximately 800 Royal Warrants holders, holding around 1100 warrants between them, with the number – according to the official Royal Warrant Holders Association – changing monthly. The Royal grantors can each grant one warrant to a business but some businesses do hold multiple warrants hence the disparity in the above numbers.

What about non-trade services?

A very astute question. Interestingly it does not cover professional services such as banking, solicitors, veterinary services or periodicals to name four.

How does a company apply for a Royal Warrant?

The company in question must have been supplying the Royal Household for 5 years to be considered. An individual at the company, a grantee, will make an application and the buyer (at that particular household) decides if it should be passed onto the Royal Warrants Committee. If so the application is presented to the committee, chaired by Lord Chamberlain (the senior officer of the Royal Households) who decides on whether to accept. It then goes to the grantor – the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh or the Prince of Wales – who have the final say and can reverse a committee decision.

Our Meyer & Mortimer letterhead showing our Royal Warrant

How long does a Royal Warrant last?

Five years, after which it comes back to ‘The Committee’ for review.

What happens should a grantor or grantee shuffle off their mortal coil?

If the grantor should pass, as in the case with the late Queen Mother in 2002, Royal Warrants remain in place for five years. If the grantee, in our case Mr Brian Lewis, should leave the company or pass himself then the Royal Warrant automatically comes up for review. Bankruptcy or the sale of the business will also initiate a review.

It must be good for a company’s brand to hold a Royal Warrant?

Definitely. It gives the holder a certain respectability. It allows that company to display the appropriate Royal Arms on their product, stationary, advertising and as we do – pictured above – so beautifully on our shop window. We also receive a document which we frame and display the latest in the shop along with our previous ones dating back to 1820.

Do you have to pay for the honour of holding a Royal Warrant?

No.

One of the walls showing our previous Royal Warrants

And the goods, do the Royal Household get them for free?

Again no. It remains a purely commercial relationship.

Are there any restrictions on the business?

Nothing we already extend to our other customers in that we do not disclose what we have provided, nor do we advertise it. We do sometimes highlight our relationship with a particularly valued customer like violin virtuoso Charlie Siem but we do this with his full agreement but we cannot, nor would we ever, disclose what we provide to a Royal Household.

How long have Royal Warrants been allocated?

Our first was for George IV in the previously mentioned warrant from 1820. The process itself goes back much further with the official Royal Monarchy website saying it originated in the Middle Ages stating that ‘in the beginning, this patronage took the form of Royal charters given collectively to various guilds in trades and crafts which later became known as livery companies’.

I have heard of the Royal Warrants Association; how did they come about?

During a gathering of tradespeople in 1840 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday it was decided to make it an annual event and so was born, and what became, The Royal Warrant Holders Association which continues – as you know – to this day. That’s 175 years later!

Is Meyer and Mortimer part of the Royal Warrant Holders
Association?

We are and proudly so. Mr Lewis dons his white-tie and attends the annual event with the rest of the team here going to some of the smaller informal events.

Very interesting indeed, thank you.

No thank you. If anyone would like to see our Royal Warrants, they are on display in our shop on Sackville Street and grantee, and resident historian, Brian Lewis is always on hand to elaborate further on our proud association to the Royal Households. You can also visit The Royal Warrant Association website for more details.

M&M