By royal appointment: 25 royal warrant holders in Surrey

Launer has supplied Her Majesty The Queen with handbags and small leather goods since 1968

Launer has supplied Her Majesty The Queen with handbags and small leather goods since 1968 - Credit: Launer

Around 25 Surrey business currently hold the ultimate seal of approval – a Royal Warrant. We asked three to share why they're proud to display the Royal Arms...

Positive recognition and endorsement are a boost for every business. Gaining royal approval of a product or service in the form of a Royal Warrant is not only the ultimate marketing win, signifying taste and quality that customers will find hard to resist, but the permission to display the Royal Arms on the company stationery, or over the door, delivers an invaluable sense of company pride and commitment. 

Royal Warrants are a formal recognition of royal patronage of the suppliers of goods and services, evolving from the practice of awarding Royal Charters to guilds, the earliest known example being King Henry II’s award to the Weavers’ Company for clothes and castle hangings, in 1155. Over the next centuries, Royal Warrants of Appointment began to recognise the relationship between the Crown and tradesmen on a more individual basis, one notable example being William Caxton, who became King’s Printer to Edward IV in 1476. 

The Lord Chamberlain, as head of the Royal Household, would have appointed Caxton, a responsibility that continued through to the 18th century – when Royal tradespeople first began to proudly display the Royal Arms on their premises – and has remained to this day. 
Around 800 warrant holders currently have the honour of this royal recognition, representing an extensive cross section of trade and industry. The vast majority belong to the Royal Warrant Holders Association (RWHA), an organisation which since 1840 has worked to ‘ensure the continued existence of Royal Warrants as a treasured and respected institution’. It also administers new applications for warrants, amendments to existing ones and provides a business and social network for its members. 

There are 25 Royal Warrant holders in Surrey that currently belong to the RWHA, supplying a variety of items and services ranging from luxury items to the same practical, household items to be found in any home, castle or cottage. From hearing equipment to horticultural labels and motor spirit to magnolias, they have been awarded Royal Warrants by one of the two current ‘Grantors’, Her Majesty The Queen or HRH The Prince of Wales. Warrants are awarded to named company representatives, the ‘Grantees’. 

er Majesty The Queen visited the Launer factory in 1992

In 1992 Her Majesty The Queen visited the Launer factory in honour of a milestone birthday – it was the 40th Anniversary of her succession – and in support of her long association with the company - Credit: Launer


Products or services need to be supplied for a minimum of five years out of the past seven before companies can even commence the detailed warrant application, a process which scrutinises all aspects of the business, including their approach to sustainability. Ticking all the boxes, as it has done for decades, is Launer London, whose head office is in Warlingham. The company’s handbags are a staple of The Queen’s working wardrobe and as familiar a sight as the heirloom brooches pinned high on her shoulder, bringing the company worldwide recognition. 

 The Royal Arms being applied onto leather at Launer 

The Royal Arms being applied onto leather at Launer - Credit: Launer


‘A Royal Warrant is a sign of excellence, quality and patronage which Launer has enjoyed for more than 50 years,’ says Gerald Bodmer, company CEO. ‘It is highly treasured and awarded by Her Majesty The Queen, whom Launer has supplied with handbags and small leather goods since 1968. It's held in high esteem on an international scale and enabled Launer to achieve a high profile.’ 

The Traviata tote is a top handle handbag crafted in Launer’s finest leather and patent leather

The Traviata tote is a top handle handbag crafted in Launer’s finest leathers. It's available in a variety of colours, some of which are limited edition - Credit: Launer


The Queen’s favoured Traviata style is undoubtedly one that will continue to be seen during her appearances at this year’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations and beyond. That she treasures her Launer handbags is equally without question; one design from 1972 was photographed in its familiar position over her left arm in the 1990s. The company has recently launched a colourful, updated and limited edition version as the Jubilee range, to celebrate this special anniversary year. 

The Duchess of Cornwall with Launer CEO Gerald Bodmer in 2020

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall with Launer CEO Gerald Bodmer in 2020 - Credit: Jon Spencer/Launer


Applications filed by companies meeting the strict warrant criteria are submitted during May and June for detailed inspection by the Royal Household Warrants Committee, who after conducting all due diligence, make their recommendations to the Grantor. Between 20 and 40 new warrants are awarded every year, replacing roughly the same number that are cancelled for reasons such as dwindling orders or company liquidation.  

The Veritas Honey Pot Pendant, crafted from sterling silver, gold enamel and Swarovski crystals

The Veritas Honey Pot Pendant, crafted from sterling silver, gold enamel and Swarovski crystals - Credit: Veritas

Dorking-based company Veritas Gifts offer a bespoke design service for luxury goods and accessories for some of the world’s most recognisable brands, stores, businesses and institutions, including Jaguar Land Rover, the Ryder Cup, London Business School and Charterhouse, and also has an online boutique. The company has been By Royal Appointment since 2011. 

The Queen meeting Veritas founder and director Mark Platt at the Coronation Festival 2013 at Buckingham Palace

The Queen meeting Veritas founder and director Mark Platt at the Coronation Festival 2013 at Buckingham Palace - Credit: Veritas


‘The Queen is an excellent and very loyal customer, in fact along with Lords and the Marylebone Cricket Club she is my longest continuous customer,’ says Grantee and company director Mark Platt, who further explains the process of the award. ‘As a successful applicant you receive a formal letter from the Lord Chamberlain’s office and afterwards, the warrant itself, a lovely document with embossed seals, which gives you permission and responsibility for the display of the Royal Arms in connection with your business. 

Veritas has been granted a Royal Warrant of Appointment to Her Majesty The Queen as a maker of bespoke silver gifts

Veritas has been granted a Royal Warrant of Appointment to Her Majesty The Queen as a maker of bespoke silver gifts - Credit: Veritas


‘You are informed on the extent to which the Royal Arms can be used in five different areas – your product or service, your stationery, marketing communications, company premises and your vehicles. There are strict guidelines for usage, which are detailed in a document called the Lord Chamberlain’s Handbook. Used on one of our gift boxes, for example, the Royal Arms has to be accompanied with the legend By Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen. Bespoke Manufacturer of Silver Gifts. Veritas Precious Metal Design Ltd Surrey on the prerequisite five lines, as specified to us. 

‘Essentially, the guidelines are all around the issue of privacy and discretion. For example, if you are at a trade show, you can’t display a product which you have sold directly to The Queen or Prince Charles and advertise it as such. If we produced a product engraved with the EIIR cypher, we would not display it in a public environment. We also cannot display our Royal Warrant on the same plane as another logo.’ 

With Veritas’ long list of distinguished clients, loyalty and discretion are par for the course for Mark and his team, as is their shared sense of honour for their royal association.  

The Queen visits The Poppy Factory for the first time in 1946, as Princess Elizabeth

The Queen visits The Poppy Factory for the first time in 1946, as Princess Elizabeth - Credit: The Poppy Factory


The Poppy Factory in Richmond celebrates its own special anniversary this year. The charity was founded by British Army officer George Howson MC, whose vision to provide employment for injured veterans of World War I was realised in May 1922, when a £2,000 donation was made by the British Legion for the purpose of opening a factory in South London to make fundraising Remembrance poppies. The Queen’s father, then Prince of Wales, paid a visit to the premises in November 1924, ordering a large wreath for his ceremonial duties at the Cenotaph in Whitehall and thus initiated a tradition that endures to this day. 

The Poppy Factory relocated to new premises on Petersham Road in Richmond in 1926. Today, along with millions of poppies, 450,000 crosses and symbols, Poppy Factory wreath makers produce around 250 wreaths for use by members of the Royal Family.  

‘We are deeply honoured to hold a Royal Warrant for the manufacture of Remembrance wreaths,’ says Deirdre Mills, chief executive of The Poppy Factory. ‘We are very proud of the fact that these wreaths, be they Royal or Regimental, are placed all around the world and that they are made by the skilled hands of our production workers in Richmond-upon-Thames. 

‘The Poppy Factory is similarly proud to enjoy a longstanding connection with the Royal Family. We have received many notable visitors over the last 100 years, including Her Majesty The Queen on four separate occasions, and our Patron, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, who returned in November to formally open our new visitor centre. This level of support gives added weight to our work as a national charity, helping many hundreds of health-challenged veterans each year on their journey towards employment.’ 

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall puts the finishes touches to her cross of Remembrance at The Poppy Factory in November 2021

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall puts the finishes touches to her cross of Remembrance at The Poppy Factory in November 2021 - Credit: The Poppy Factory


Royal Warrants are not granted for professional services such as banking, employment agencies or veterinary services, or to magazines, newspapers and similar publications. Other exclusions relate to goods or services provided to organisations such as Historic Royal Palaces, who manage Hampton Court Palace and Kew Palace in Surrey, or Royal Parks such as Richmond Park. Warrants are also only granted for a period of five years, meaning that resting on one’s laurels in the glow of royal recognition is not an indefinite option even for those who have succeed in their application. 

All customers are important to businesses, but the knowledge that your product or service is favoured by someone who has the entire national roll call of suppliers at their disposal, must make that embossed letterhead all that more special.  

‘I think it's a fantastic tribute to our longest reigning monarch that people are so intrigued and interested that you hold a Royal Warrant,’ concludes Mark Platt. ‘They love it. I see people’s eyes light up, they are surprised and pleased, and I believe that that’s a tribute to The Queen herself, actually. And for us, hopefully it reflects that we produce a good quality product and offer a great service.’ 

To find out more, visit launer.com, veritasgifts.co.uk and poppyfactory.org 

Surrey’s Royal Warrant holders 
Here are 25 businesses in the county that currently enjoy the royal seal of approval... 

  1. A. Hester Ltd, Guildford: Environmental services  
  2. Benson & Clegg, Worplesdon: Buttons, badges and military neckwear* 
  3. Connevans Ltd, Merstham: Manufacture and supply of audio equipment 
  4. Dairy Crest Ltd, Weybridge: Dairy products 
  5. Denise McAdam Ltd, Surbiton: Hairdressing* 
  6. Dennys Brands, Leatherhead: Catering clothing 
  7. Esso Petroleum Company Ltd, Leatherhead:    Motor spirit, lubricants, environmental services 
  8. G. Burley & Sons Ltd, Dorking: Grounds maintenance and landscaping 
  9. Gavin Jones Ltd, Windlesham: Landscape maintenance 
  10. Hunter & Hyland Ltd, Leatherhead: Curtain rails and upholstery fittings 
  11. Impress Print Services, Walton on Thames: Printing 
  12. Kimberley-Clark Ltd, Tadworth: Disposable tissues 
  13. Launer London Ltd, Warlingham: Handbags and leather goods 
  14. Millais Nurseries, Farnham: Rhododendrons and magnolias* 
  15. Nestlé UK, Crawley: Nestlé products  
  16. Newberry Smith Photography Ltd, Croydon: Photography 
  17. Prochem Europe Ltd, Chessington: Carpet cleaning products 
  18. Rapiscan Systems, Redhill: Security screening equipment and services 
  19. Samsung Electronics Ltd, Chertsey: Television and audio-visual products 
  20. Sheen Botanical Labels Ltd, Haslemere: Horticultural labels 
  21. Sony UK & Ireland, Weybridge: Consumer electronic products* 
  22. The Poppy Factory, Richmond: Poppies and wreaths 
  23. Unilever UK, Leatherhead: Food and household products 
  24. Veritas Precious Metal Design Ltd, Dorking: Silver gifts 
  25. Westway Coach Services Ltd, West Molesey: Coach services 

*Royal Warrants by appointment to HRH The Prince of Wales.