Royal Warrants of Appointment – The United Kingdom
Although there was an earlier version referred to as a Royal Charter, the Royal Warrant of Appointment that we are familiar with today was established in the 15th century. The first ones were given out by King Edward IV and one of the first recipients was William Caxton who was appointed printer to the king in 1476.
Since that time, there have been approximately 850 issued. Some of the holders of these are still in business today and have had their warrants for well in excess of 100 years. In order to qualify for consideration, a person or a company must supply either unparalleled goods or unparalleled services to the Royal household for a minimum of a five-year period. Once a warrant has been granted, it is reviewed every five years. If a person or a company is no longer serving with distinction, they will lose their status as a Royal Warrant holder.
Presently there are three members of the Royal Family authorized to bestow this high honor. They are the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales. Prior to her death, the Queen Mother was also empowered to present a Royal Warrant to any person or company of her choosing. Sometime during Queen Victoria’s rein, the recipients formed an organization known as the Royal Warrant Holders Association, which is still in existence today. This group helps to insure the integrity of the services provided by its participants and they also make sure that there are no imposters who falsely claim this type of celebrity.
The Royal Warrants of Appointment is an honor that allows the holders of such, both companies and individuals alike, to display the Royal Coat of Arms on their items, their services, stationary, vehicles, websites and all of their advertising. A few examples of Royal Warrant holders are Rolls Royce, Bentley, Jaguar, Burberry Limited, Elizabeth Arden, Crabtree & Evelyn, John Walker & Sons, Steinway & Sons, Royal Doulton, Spode, Royal Winton and Royal Worcester.
Notice that some companies add the word “Royal” to their names once they secure a Royal Warrant. Royal Doulton is a prime example of this. Prior to receiving theirs the name of this porcelain company was just Doulton, named after its founder John Doulton. Royal Winton and Royal Worcester, also porcelain manufacturers, went the way of Doulton by adding the word “Royal” to their names as well.
The early version of the Royal Warrant, the Royal Charter, began around 1155 under King Henry II.