The Classicist: Is the Royal Warrant Losing Its Lustre?
A recent decision by two venerable British brands to drop the Royal Warrants from their packaging has occasioned some hand-wringing in the UK over whether the much-coveted distinction has lost its lustre. The Classicist calls it a tempest in a Royal Doulton teacup; read on to find out why. Only three royals are entitled to grant warrants – the Queen of England, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales – to firms who supply their royal requisites for at least five years, though most warrant holders have ties to Britain's royal family dating back several decades or more. Of course, Prince William will one day be granting his own.
Holders of the Royal Warrant include many of our favorite luxury brands – Asprey, Aston Martin, Bentley, Barbour, Burberry, Fortnum & Mason, Gieves & Hawkes, Holland & Holland, Hunter Boots, Jaguar, John Lobb, Johnnie Walker, Land Rover, Laphroaig, Lock & Co., Swaine Adeney Brigg, Smythson, Tanqueray and Turnbull & Asser – along with a host of lesser names, such as After Eight mints and Jacob's Cream Crackers. It is the latter two that have now decided to do without their warrants – though no insult is intended to the royal family, as it was when former Harrods owner Mohamed al Fayed burned his last year. That coupled with the results of a new survey showing that only 13% of respondents thought that warrants make any difference have called their usefulness into question, the London Guardian reports.
However, "It's hard to say that interest in royal warrants is conclusively on the wane," Vicky Bullen, chief executive of Coley Porter Bell, tells the paper, "because there is no existing data with which to make a comparison. However, consumers' apparent indifference to the royal warrants has surprised us. We can only surmise there could be a number of factors at play." Said factors, Bullen says, include "that we live in a less deferential society in which the royal family enjoys less prestige and political support." That of course is not exactly new, though the upcoming Royal Wedding may give them a boost. [cont'd]
Gallery: Holders of the Royal Warrant
However she also notes that the royals have "failed to manage their brand and their warrants in particular," noting "their ubiquity may have devalued them"; that modern life is now so busy that people don't notice such things; and that "the general quality of products is higher than in the past and the mere fact something is stocked by a leading supermarket is endorsement enough of its quality." We however feel that a Royal Warrant is an inestimably valuable mark of excellence, and that securing it requires firms to maintain the highest standards. Snob appeal aside, the brands favored with royal patronage form a club that many would still give their eyeteeth to get into. Want to show your support as well? Go shopping at The Royal Purveyors.