I do a lot of walking in London. Having no car, we take advantage of the public transportation system and walking--often several miles a day. Except for those days when I'm under an umbrella, I'm always looking around and looking up because there are some fascinating markers--historical, cultural, and royal, displayed on buildings. Shown in this photo is a Royal Warrant. They indicate a supplier of goods or services who has been awarded the warrant in appreciation of service to Queen Elizabeth; her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh; or her son, Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales.
Recently, I wrote about Twinings, which has received the Royal Warrant as a supplier to the queen. You'll see it displayed prominently above the door. There are approximately 800 warrant holders who hold over 1100 Royal Warrants.
Near to my house is Rogers de Rin antique shop, a supplier to Prince Charles. Suppliers include a widely varied group such as dry cleaners, fishmongers, computer suppliers, cologne makers, and food suppliers.
Evidently the Prince's taste extends to Cartier-how can you go wrong there?
Some shops display their plaque in an understated way,
but most, like this shoemaker, proudly display their gilded warrant, or as in their case, warrants. The award which is awarded after 5 years of service to the crown gives enhanced prestige to the supplier, and is usually used in all their advertising.
Hatchards, a bookseller since 1797, displays their Royal Warrant inside their shop,
as well as the certificate that accompanies it.
Some stores like Daks, a clothing shop
have several warrants, meaning they supply to the Queen, the Duke and the Prince. That's quite an honor.
General Trading Company is another example of a shop holding three warrants. They have the distinct honor of having held 4 warrants at one time. Formerly, The Queen Mother also awarded the Royal Warrant during her lifetime. You can see the empty spot on the wall where her plaque once was hung.
In fine print, under the Prince's name and his emblem of three feathers, it states that General Trading Company is the supplier of "Fancy Goods." Where do you shop for your fancy goods?
Phot0 courtesy of BBC
To close, here is an interesting anecdote. In the year 2000, the Duke of Edinburgh declined to continue giving Harrod's his Royal Warrant, stating there had been"significant decline in the trading relationship." If you recall, the owner of Harrod's, Mohammed Fayed, the father of Dodi Fayed who was killed in the car crash with Princess Diana, had accused the Duke of masterminding the car crash. That would tend to cool things off between him and the crown, I suspect. Later that same year, Mohammed Fayed removed all 3 Royal Warrant badges that Harrod's had held since 1956. Instead today, you'll find a memorial to Dodi and Diana inside the enormous store, but you'll find no Royal Warrants as hard as you may look.