'The customer is king'. This is one of the most popular business phrases with thousands of companies around the world trying to turn it into a success story. For some of them, a small, elite group, this phrase has yet another meaning, the exact one. The customer can actually be the king or another member of the royal family. The document that certifies this is called a Royal Warrant and has been granted for centuries to tradespeople who supply goods or services to the royal households.
At present, in the United Kingdom, only The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh or The Prince of Wales can grant Royal Warrants. The companies that receive these marks of recognition have to have already supplied goods or services for at least five years before applying for a Royal Warrant. The document, initially granted for five years, allows businesses to advertise their Royal supplier status, an example being the display of the Royal coat of arms on their products or premises. After five years, the Royal Warrant is reviewed by the Royal Household Tradesmen's Warrants Committee.
Today, there are around 800 Royal Warrant holders, some of them being granted more than one Royal Warrant. The profile of these businesses ranges from small companies and individual craftspeople to multi-nationals. Their relationship with the Royal Households has a commercial nature, the goods or services are not supplied for free. In some cases, the relationship with the Royal Households goes back to more than 100 years, a great success not only regarding the longevity of the company, but also its respect to high-standards. Nevertheless, a century is only a small fraction in the history of the Royal Warrant. Its roots were set a long time ago, starting with the Middle Ages, when the Monarch selected the country's best tradespeople. By the 15th century, the Royal Warrant of Appointment was a formal practice and the starting point of a long lasting tradition.
Over the years, these 5 British companies were granted Royal Warrants for supplying perfumes, toiletries, accessories and clothing to the Royal Households. Their history is impressive, some of them being founded more than 100 years ago. They are still on the market, innovating, creating new products and interacting with a global audience.
Liberty London was founded in London in 1875 by Sir Arthur Lasenby Liberty with a £2,000 investment borrowed from his future father-in-law. He started with a collection of ornaments, fabric and objets d’art, that proved to be an irresistible inspiration for his customers. Nine years later, he was challenging the fashions of Paris. As a Royal Warrant holder, Liberty maintained its high standards of quality, created strong relationships with British designers and developed as a business even further. Many personalities like Oscar Wilde, Manolo Blahnik, Terry de Havilland, Jamie Oliver, and Richard E. Grant were among its customers. An iconic department store, Liberty London is essentially British. A creator mostly renowned for its beautiful prints.
Creed The luxury fragrance house Creed was founded in 1760 in London, soon becoming a favourite of Queen Victoria and later on of all European courts, from Napoléon III of France to Empress Sissi of Austro-Hungary. In 1854, House of Creed moved to Paris, under the patronage of Empress Eugénie. Now based in Paris and managed by Olivier Creed, sixth in his family line to manage Creed, the company still treasures its almost 100 years of British identity.
Among Creed’s famous customers are Queen Victoria (Fleurs de Bulgarie), Empress Eugenie of France (Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie), Emperor Franz-Josef of Austria-Hungary and his wife, the Empress "Sissi" Elisabeth (Fantasia de Fleurs). In 1956, Creed created Grace Kelly’s wedding day perfume, Fleurissimo. Famous male customers include Sir Winston Churchill (Tabarome), President John F. Kennedy (Vetiver), Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, Russel Crowe, George Clooney, Clint Eastwood, and Robbie Williams (Green Irish Tweed).
Creed supplied many Royal Households and was granted a Royal Warrant by Napoleon III (Perfume Cuir de Russie was made for him) and Queen Victoria (Creed created Fleurs de Bulgarie). Creed also received an Imperial Warrant by Emperor Franz-Josef of Austria-Hungary and his wife Empress Elisabeth. In 1885, Queen Maria Cristina of Spain named Creed her official perfumer.
Penhaligon’s More than 135 years ago, Penhaligon's barber shop opened on Jermyn Street in London. Its founder, William Penhaligon, was an open-minded and creative Englishman who never ceased to dream beyond what was already comfortably accepted. The first scent he created in 1872, Hammam Bouquet, was inspired by the steam and sulphurous aromas of Turkish baths. His creations impressed Queen Victoria and by the end of her reign, William Penhaligon was appointed Barber and Perfumer to the Royal Court. In 1903, Penhaligon's was granted a Royal Warrant by Queen Alexandra. The fragrance house also received two long-standing Royal Warrants from HRH The Prince of Wales (1988) and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh (1956). Penhaligon’s scents are still made in England using rare and luxurious ingredients.
Johnstons of Elgin Johnstons of Elgin was founded in 1797 in Scotland and in 1810 the company had already built a strong reputation as a leader in the wool industry. Since its establishment, only two families owned Johnstons of Elgin, The Johnstons & The Harrisons. Over the years, many personalities visited the company, among them Margaret Thatcher and HRH The Princess Royal. In 2013, Johnstons of Elgin were granted The Royal Warrant to the Prince of Wales.
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Halcyon Days Halcyon Days was founded in 1950 in Mayfair, London. In time, the company that started as an antiques shop developed into a remarkable luxury goods and fashion accessories brand, continually expanding its product portfolio. Its signature products are enamel pieces like hand-decorated enamel bangles or enamel boxes, hand-crafted in English workshops using traditional techniques.
The company takes pride on its private enamels commissions that started with a box depicting Clarence House, the Late Queen Mother’s London home. In 1976, Halcyon Days was commissioned to create an enamel box, a gift President Ford offered The Queen on her official visit to the USA. As a coincidence, The Queen’s gift to the President was also a Halcyon Days enamel box.
Halcyon Days is one of the few companies to hold all three Royal Warrants, the Royal Warrant by Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (1972), Royal Warrant of Her Majesty The Queen (1978), and the Royal Warrants of Their Royal Highnesses The Duke of Edinburgh and The Prince of Wales (1987).
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Here are other Royal Supplier brands you can shop online.