The festival is exclusively for Royal Warrant holders, those who are regular suppliers of goods or services for at least five consecutive years to The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh or the Prince of Wales
Two hundred of Britain’s best brands – from Garrard and Prestat to Gieves & Hawkes and Holland & Holland – will show off their wares at the Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace next July. The festival is exclusively for Royal Warrant holders, those who are regular suppliers of goods or services for at least five consecutive years to The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh or the Prince of Wales.
According to Richard Peck, secretary of the Royal Warrant Holders Association, a quarter of its 800 members will demonstrate the ‘service, quality and excellence’ which have brought them their warrants in the first place.
Not that these brands are always appreciated in the UK, he says: ‘It’s the old thing: a prophet isn’t without honour except in his own home.’ Abroad, however, the Royal Warrant is highly respected, especially in thriving markets like China, Korea and Taiwan.
The Royal Warrant Holders Association’s membership is diverse. There are the prominent luxury goods companies – Fortnum & Mason, Daks, Hunter Boot, Penhaligon’s – but also many you wouldn’t think of.
‘It’s a range of companies that we would expect to serve a business as well as a family,’ says Peck, and not just any business or any family: the Royal family frequently entertains on a lavish scale in its palaces and residences, owns several large estates and farms, opens its houses to the public and has ceremonial state responsibilities which involve costumes, cars and carriages.
This explains some of its more unusual members: Applied Sweepers (outdoor sweeping machines), John Deere (tractors), Fen Ditching Company, Flying Colour Flagmakers, Toye, Kenning & Spencer (gold and silver lace), Rory Matthews (interactive media and websites), Serena Richards (silk flowers and arrangements), Forbo Flooring (lino) and Mike Rowland (wheelwrights and coachbuilders).
WHAT DO THE Royal Warrant holders get out of it, apart from increased export appeal? ‘It gives them a great sense of pride, particularly among the workforce. It makes a statement about the business. It’s about reliability and trustworthiness.’
The festival sprang from ‘small beginnings’, Peck says: the RWHA held a trade fair of warrant holders in Victoria which members of the Royal household attended; they were then asked to do a fair for Royal household staff at Christmas 2011; and then the Coronation Festival was born.
During the evenings, the gardens of Buckingham Palace will play host to a gala dinner. At these dinners, which are expected to be televised, there will be celebrity performances, music and dancing.
The festival begins with a Royal preview day on Thursday 11 July, which is by invitation only. Perhaps you’ll even see HM trying a small paper cup of Twinings’ latest blend or nabbing a free truffle from Prestat.
Tickets for the Coronation Festival will be sold online from 16 December 16. Day tickets (9.30-4) will cost £30 and Coronation Gala evening tickets (5.30-9.30) will cost £90