The history behind the issuing of Royal Warrants dates back to medieval times but it was under Queen Victoria's reign that formality surrounding the process really began in earnest.
Today, Royal Warrants are personally granted by one of three remaining 'Grantors': HRH Queen Elizabeth II, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH Prince Charles (there was a fourth which was previously bestowed by the late Queen Mother until her death in 2002). In each case any organisation that chooses to apply for the granting of a Royal Warrant, can only do so once they have supplied goods or services to the Royal Household for a period of five or more years. Successful applications are then directly approved by the Royal Family and issued on their behalf by the Lord Chamberlain's Office, and they come with rigid guidelines about their use.
Of course it's likely that most people have at some stage seen a Royal Warrant, perhaps subtly displayed on various everyday items from tea and cereal packets to pet products and household cleaning goods. However, these examples represent just a small percentage of the types of companies who are legally able to display the 'Royal Warrant'. Therefore few may appreciate either the history or even the breadth of companies that are fortunate to possess such an accolade. Despite the cachet that comes with possession of a Warrant there are today some 850 'Royal Warrant holders' who include many of Britain's finest companies, we are fortunate to be amongst them.
At N.E.J. Stevenson Ltd our managing director and founder, Mr Neil Stevenson is the 'Grantee' (the company's custodian for policing the Warrant internally). Neil secured a Royal Warrant from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in February 2003 following many commissions dating back to 1992 and later culminating in the requirement for a perfect replica of the Pugin sideboard destroyed by that terrible fire at Windsor Castle. We have been fortunate to have worked for the Royal Family ever since and although we are not permitted to show you examples of the work we have conducted for the Royal Household, we can disclose details of each project on our 'Royal Commissions' page.
So large and diverse is the number of grantees that a membership association, the 'Royal Warrant Holders Association' is required to manage the needs of its members and deliver increased awareness of their superb work.
A formal requirement of application to the Palace for a Royal Warrant and for membership of the Royal Warrant Holders Association is a robust commitment to sustainable growth. All companies are required to evidence their progression, a philosophy which is not only good for the environment but good for business too. This is further supported thanks to the visionary leadership of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and the formation of his 'Mayday Network' of which we are members. If you would like to see more about our Reviews and Policies you can see them here.
The Gardens at BUCKINGHAM PALACE will be the venue for a one-off event next summer for holders of Royal Warrants to celebrate the 60th anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation, it was announced recently. N.E.J. Stevenson Ltd will be taking part in the four day celebration between the 11th and 14th July 2013.
The Coronation Festival will celebrate innovation, excellence and industry, showcasing the broad range of fine brands which have earned the recognition of a Royal Warrant over the years.
To mark the Diamond Jubilee, N.E.J. Stevenson Ltd were commissioned to make a major contribution to a scheme that provides financial scholarships to traditional craftspeople of all ages.
In 2011, we were approached by whisky distillery, John Walker & Sons to produce 61 exquisite wooden chests that were to be used to safeguard and display a unique whisky, originally blended from malts in 1952. The distiller has pledged the profits from the sale of sixty editions of 'Diamond Jubilee' with a guaranteed donation of at least £1,000,000 to QEST (Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust). The additional chest was presented as a gift to Her Majesty on the 6th February 2012.
Our part in the project was to make the 61 exquisite chests with their hand dovetailed secret drawers and complex veneer patterns. Made from native Caledonian Pine and English Oak, and provided by kind permission of The Queen from her private estates at Balmoral and Sandringham, the chests are further complemented by two Commonwealth timbers, Wenge and Australian black bean.
Each completed chest will display a Baccarat crystal decanter with Britannia silver embellishments and a half-carat diamond, its hexagonal crystal stand, two hand-engraved lead Cumbria Crystal glasses and a commemorative artefact book, hand bound and personalised for each owner by calligrapher, Sally Mangum. Each edition of Diamond Jubilee by John Walker & Sons retails at £100,000.