By royal appointment

Words by:
Kate Chapman
Featured in:
June 2013

The summer of 2013 is set to be another memorable one for Great Britain and its monarchy, with plenty of celebrations planned to mark the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation this month, and of course a new Royal arrival in July.
One of the special events taking place is a unique Coronation Festival, in the gardens of Buckingham Palace, celebrating our Royal Warrant holders, where a number of businesses will be flying the flag for Lincolnshire.

The four-day celebration, starting on 11th July, will showcase the innovation, excellence, industry and fine brands which have earned the recognition of a Royal Warrant over the years.

Bulb specialists O A Taylor & Sons Bulbs Ltd, of Holbeach, will be among more than 200 businesses attending the festival, which begins with a Royal preview on the first day, before opening up to the general public.

Director, Roger Taylor said it was a great honour for his family’s company to be awarded a Royal Warrant to Her Majesty the Queen back in 1985.

Taylor’s is one of the largest bulb companies in the country, supplying garden centres, supermarkets, nurseries and landscapers, as well as growing 317 acres of daffodils and 1,543 acres of other crops including vegetables, cereals, potatoes and sugar beet. 

Royal Warrants are granted to a named individual – a grantee – who is personally responsible for ensuring it is used correctly, and Mr Taylor also held the Queen Mother’s Warrant until her death in 2002.

“It’s been terrific for us over the years, and we’re delighted to supply flowering bulbs and cut flowers to the Royal Household,” he said.

“For me it was a great honour to be awarded our warrant some twenty-eight years ago – and we have to look after it.

“Through the Coronation Festival, we’re hoping to raise our company’s profile even more; we may be one of the biggest suppliers for flowering bulbs in the country, but that does not mean we want to sit back on our laurels.

“We’re really pleased to be attending this event and, of course, representing Lincolnshire in doing so.”

A Royal Warrant is highly prized, and demonstrates service, quality, and excellence; it is a mark of recognition for those companies which have served the Royal Family for at least five years.

Only three people can grant warrants: HM the Queen, HRH the Duke of Edinburgh and HRH the Prince of Wales. The award usually lasts for five years and is reviewed by the Lord Chamberlain’s Committee a year before it is due to expire.

Holding one means companies can display the relevant Royal coat of arms with the words ‘By Appointment’ on their products, stationary, buildings, vehicles, advertising and packaging.

Approximately 800 have been bestowed, and to a wide cross-section of trade and industries ranging from traditional craftspeople to global multinational companies operating at the cutting edge of technology. Only a small number have been awarded to Lincolnshire businesses.

Another county firm attending the Coronation Festival is Calders and Grandidge, of Boston, which has specialised in manufacturing top quality pressure treated wooden fencing and gates for generations.

The firm has held its warrant since 1986, its products being used at both the Royal Stud and Sandringham.

“For us holding a warrant is a great honour and it recognises the quality of our products. Having the Royal Household among our customers is certainly a feather in our cap,” said commercial director, Shaun McGarry.

“A Diamond Jubilee is not a once in a lifetime event, it’s more than that. In order to celebrate one, you have to mark sixty years on the throne, and there have only been two monarchs who have achieved that – it’s a once in a millennium opportunity.

“To take part in the Coronation Festival is an honour in itself, and it also gives us the opportunity to get our products in front of a much wider audience and explore new markets. It’s also great for us to be able to entertain our existing customers and represent Lincolnshire at the same time; after all it’s not just companies based in London who serve the Queen,” he added.

Fellow warrant holder Systematic Print Management, of Caistor, specialises in business, marketing and personal printing and mailing alongside corporate gifts and creative services, and will also be attending the festival.

Awarded its warrant in 2008, Systematic is a second-generation family business established by current managing director Chris Robey’s father Nick in 1975.

“We are a family owned company, based in Lincolnshire for thirty-seven years, and we’ve worked really hard throughout that time to build up a reputation for giving knowledgeable advice and at the end, high quality products and service,” said Mr Robey.

“We hold other accreditations, but the Royal Warrant represents what we try to stand for as a company, and underpins what we’re about and we’re very honoured to hold it.

“We’re really looking forward to the festival, celebrating the coronation itself and we’re delighted with the way this is going to focus on the warrant holders – we’re pleased to have an opportunity to take our place among such a variety of other companies.

“We’re really proud of our Lincolnshire roots – the place where we live and love to work – and we’ll be taking our little bit of Lincolnshire to Buckingham Palace.”

Other county warrant holders include Boston Crop Sprayers; Fenland Laundries, of Skegness; Robert H Crawford and Sons, a third-generation family business selling, manufacturing and repairing agricultural and horticultural equipment in Boston; flowering and green pot plant specialist Arnott and Mason, of Holbeach; and Witham Oil and Paint of Lincoln.

* The Coronation Festival will be split into four specific showcase areas: Food and Drink, Style Pursuits and Pastimes and Homes and Gardens. There will also be a section dedicated to the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST), the charitable arm of the Royal Warrant Holders Association, which helps financially disadvantaged craftspeople to further their skills through the funding of further education and training.

In the evenings Buckingham Palace gardens will host music and dance performances to celebrate cultural life during Her Majesty’s reign.

Tickets (£30 per person for the day and £90 for the evening, including the Coronation Gala) are available via

Royal life and tastes have changed enormously over the centuries – Henry VIII appointed Thomas Hewytt to serve his court with ‘Swannes and Cranes’ and ‘All kinds of Wildfoule’ during his reign in the 1500s, while in the 1680s Charles II’s list of Royal Tradesmen included a sword cutter, operator for the teeth and a goffe-club maker.

In 1789 Royal Household suppliers included a rat-catcher and a pin maker, while a century or so later Royal tradesmen had started displaying the Royal arms, but it was Queen Victoria who ensured warrants gained the prestige they enjoy today.

During her reign she and her family granted more than 1,000 to companies including Fortnum and Mason, Schweppes and Twinings, which still hold Royal Warrants today.

In the early nineteenth century Royal tradesmen started holding dinners to celebrate the sovereign’s birthday. In May 1840, it was decided to turn the event, held to mark Queen Victoria’s birthday, into an annual one, and as a result the Royal Tradesmen’s Association was formed.

It had twenty-five members, but numbers rose steadily and in 1902 it changed its name to the Royal Warrant Holders Association Ltd, and today most warrant holders are members.

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