“For more than 600 years, one mark of distinction has been prized above any other: a Royal Warrant of Appointment.”
This is a feature on Royal Warrant Holders and the Coronation Festival for Where London Magazine, Chinese issue, Mar-Oct 2013. You’ll find the original text below. It was written in a deliberately non-vernacular style for translation.
For more than 600 years, one mark of distinction has been prized above any other: a Royal Warrant of Appointment. Discover this tradition of excellence at the Coronation Festival.
In July the Coronation Festival will celebrate 60 years since The Queen ascended the throne. This unique event brings together more than 200 of the 800 Royal Warrant holders, and is held in the beautiful gardens of Buckingham Palace itself. Royal Warrants are highly sought after – it means that the company supplies goods to the royal family, and only the very best are selected for this honour.
Members of the Royal Warrant Holders Association (RWHA) are diverse and at the Festival you’ll find a huge cross-section of British companies. In the Food & Drink section you can sample tea from Twinings, who have a refreshment tent, chocolates from Prestat or wine from the venerable Berry Bros & Rudd. Fans of the English look will love brands like Turnell & Gigon, who produce luxurious fabrics and wallpapers and can be found in Homes & Gardens. In Styles, Pursuits & Pastimes, tailors are represented with top Savile Row clothiers like Gieves & Hawkes, Dege & Skinner and hatters Locke & Co. Look out too for classically British brands like Hunter Boots, whose famous ‘wellies’ have protected The Queen’s feet for 30 years. Fulton, whose umbrellas can survive the worst possible weather, can be found in Design & Technology. Look out for fashion shows featuring couture from Stewart Parvin, dresses from John Lewis, jewels from Mappin & Webb and much more.
The RWHA not only looks after its members, it also safeguards the future of craftsmanship. The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) was set up in 1990 to enable artisans to continue their studies. Shelley-Anne Claircourt of QEST says, “There are examples of craft in every village and town in the UK; for example every church boasts stained glass, carved stone and silverwork. These crafts form the fabric of British tradition, and they provide the foundation from which the contemporary is borne. QEST nutures this talent, ensuring the survival of skills essential to business, industry and rural communities.”
While many Royal Warrant holders have long histories – for example Twinings Tea was set up in 1706 – they also look to the future. The house of Burberry combines traditions of bespoke tailoring with cutting-edge style. Started in 1856 by Thomas Burberry, who created the first trench coat, the company is a fixture at London Fashion Week. The A/W 2013 show, entitled ‘Trench Kisses’, featured their famous coat, once again remade for a modern audience with heart patterns and gold detailing, perfectly showing how traditional artistry feeds into 21st century polish. On the one hand Burberry live-streamed its last show on twitter; on the other Guga Filho and his team at Burberry Private Client still create bespoke pieces. Craftsmanship is at the heart of Burberry, and it’s particularly evident in their stunning new flagship store on Regent Street, every inch of which is handmade.
Bentley cars are a byword for elegance coupled with performance, and their latest version of the signature Flying Stud is no exception. Launched in Beijing in May, this graceful vehicle combines a 6.0-litre, twin turbo W12 engine, state of the art interfaces and its own wifi, with a handmade wood and leather interior. Bentley Chairman Dr Wolfgang Schreiber says, “We have worked tirelessly to ensure that the Flying Spur is the perfect combination of power, comfort, refinement and hand-crafted quality.”
Holland & Holland was set up in 1835, and its shotguns are masterpieces of beautiful armoury, taking between 650-1250 man-hours to finish. They also create clothing and accessories which combine practicality with fashion. Their Creative Director, Niels Van Rooyen, says: “British craftsmanship is of the utmost importance at Holland & Holland. It guarantees exclusivity, attention to detail and a very high finish.”
Despite the variety of companies in the RWHA – and indeed craftsmen all over the UK – of some things you can be sure: British-made guarantees quality and tradition, beautifully combined with high-end design and individualism.
Coronation Festival: 11-14 Jul. Tickets £30 for 12-14 Jul, 9.30am-4pm. T: 0844 858 9071. www.coronationfestival.com