Which Jewish companies have a Royal Warrant?
A quick look inside your kitchen cupboards will likely reveal at least three items approved by Her Majesty and Co, in the form of a Royal Warrant. Never mind celebrity endorsement, if you’re fortunate enough to hold one, a Royal Warrant is the ultimate seal of approval. To receive one, a brand, company, or service must supply and charge the member of the Royal Family concerned, or their household, with products and services in significant quantity over a period not less than five years. Those fortunate enough to display a prestigious royal flush include J Barbour and Sons and Jaguar Land Rover Ltd.
The history of the Royal Warrant can be traced back to the 15th century when there was intense competition amongst tradespeople for the Royal ‘nod’. Lord Chamberlain, as head of the Royal Household, formally appointed Royal Warrants of Appointment to top level suppliers and this practice is still upheld today.
In 1840 the Royal Warrant Holders Association was formed. During the 64-year reign of Queen Victoria, nearly 2,000 warrants were issued, including Fortnum & Mason and Twinings; the latter still holds a prized warrant.
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Only three members of the British Royal Family can issue a Royal Warrant to companies or tradespeople: the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the Prince of Wales. With Philip’s passing in 2021, those granted warrants solely by him will have two years to discontinue the use of the Royal Arms in connection with their business.
However, being awarded a warrant isn’t a permanent honour and in addition to keeping up high standards, one has to demonstrate that there are appropriate environmental and sustainability policies in place.
Many warrants are steeped in Jewish history, including G.D. Goldings (Tailors) Ltd. Geoffrey, son of East End Jewish immigrants, left school at 15 and after stints as a chef and a cabinet maker, he followed in his father’s footsteps to become a tailor. With buckets of ambition and the help of his brother, Geoffrey opened a tailor’s shop in St Albans. With over 60 years’ experience in the business, Mr Golding has served admirals, high sheriffs and everything in between, each piece meticulously handmade and quality checked in-house by master craftsmen.
Art and design student Cornelia James arrived in England from Vienna in 1939 with nothing but a suitcase and strong will. Her thriving glove trade was recognised in 1947 by couturier Norman Hartnell, who commissioned her designs for the then Princess’s going away outfit. The royal wave was the perfect endorsement for the brand, and in 1979 Cornelia James became ‘glovemaker by appointment to Her Majesty the Queen’. Now run by her daughter, Genevieve James, the company is still making gloves by hand in Sussex.
“The Queen’s Jubilee is truly a moment for joy,” says Genevieve. “The picture of a white-gloved hand at the window of the big black car is an image that many carry in their hearts and we are very proud to have played a small part in providing that picture.”
In 1941, Sam Launer, a Jewish immigrant from Czechoslovakia, began producing elegant bags and small leather goods made from the finest materials and finished by the most skilled craftspeople. Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother first purchased a Launer London bag in the 1950s, and later gave one to her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II. In 1968, Launer London bagged a Royal Warrant from The Queen, who now has a collection of over 200 bags. In celebration of the forthcoming Platinum Jubilee, Launer has created a special limited-edition handbag based on a popular 1970s archive design.
The Queen visits the Launer factory in 1992
Royal events require a certain level of attire and in 1851 company founder Moses Moss opened Moss Bros, a second-hand clothing shop in Covent Garden. Under the motto ‘Sell only the best stuff, give only the best service’, the shop prospered, and assisted by his four sons, Mr Moss opened several other stores in London, adding tailoring to the services offered.
When Moses died in 1894, his sons Alfred and George carried on the legacy of the family business, opening a military department in 1914 supplying uniforms to the British Army. In 1924, King George V’s Private Secretary recommended Moss Bros to the first Labour Government for the correct ‘levee’ dress to wear at court. At the Queen’s Coronation in 1953, they were the preferred suppliers for the sea of top hats, tails, polished uniforms and state robes lining Westminster Abbey. The stigma around renting clothes had finally been hung up and Moss Bros was firmly in the house. Today the brand boasts over 100 stores nationwide.
Family business Wartski was founded in Wales in 1865 by Morris Wartski, and specialises in works of art by Carl Fabergé, antique jewellery, silver and objets de vertu. The business grew and two shops were opened in the fashionable town of Llandudno. Popular with royals and high-ranking clientele, the brand thrived, and a third store was opened in 1911 by Morris’s son in law.
In 2011, Wartski made the ring for the wedding of HRH Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton, created from a piece of Welsh gold given to Prince William by Her Majesty The Queen. The company owns two warrants – one for Her Majesty The Queen and one for His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.
In mid-1940s London, Hyman Bull left the services in search of work. As a young tailor he came across a supply of army surplus materials including parachutes, which he cut to sell as shirt fabric in the East End markets. In 1952, due to illness, Hyman passed the scissors to his son Joel, who had a strong business vision. By 1979, the first official Joel & Son Fabrics shop opened its doors on Church Street, right opposite the spot where the first market stall had been. The original entrance to the shop remains but there has been much property expansion either side of the original site as the business grew, run by a team of family members and workers, loyal since the very beginning. Awarded a Royal Warrant in 2001, this bustling Aladdin’s cave of fabrics is often the first choice for designers such as Stewart Parvin, who dressed the Queen for her 2002 Golden Jubilee in a blue evening dress, with fabric supplied by Joel & Son.
Joel with his grandson Coby
Joel, although retired, still pops by to check on things and says: “It doesn’t matter if someone spends £2 or £2000 – we still give the same top level of service.”. Commenting on the forthcoming Jubilee, a spokesman for Joel & Son said: “We are honoured to be once again providing fabric for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. We have been privileged and extremely honoured to hold the Royal Warrant for so many years and it gives us much pride seeing Her Majesty the Queen looking so lovely in her numerous outfits made from Joel & Son fabrics. We would like to wish Her Majesty a happy and healthy Platinum Jubilee.”
With speculation that Prince William might fill the grantor role left by Prince Philip, it should prove interesting to see if more contemporary names make the Royal Warrant cut. Pass the Royal Nutella please.