What is a Royal Warrant?

A Royal Warrant of Appointment is a document that permits a company to use the Royal Arms in connection with its business in an appointed trading capacity.  It is granted for up to five years at a time as a mark of recognition for the ongoing supply of goods or services to the Royal Household.         

The Monarch decides who may grant Royal Warrants. These are known as the Grantors: HM Queen Elizabeth II, HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and HRH The Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, all granted Royal Warrants. The Warrant is granted to a named individual within a company, known as the Grantee, who is responsible for the correct use of the relevant Royal Arms.

Upon a change of Monarch, the Royal Household reviews Warrant grants, while the company or individual may continue to use the Royal Arms in connection with the business for up to two years.

Today there are around 800 holders of Royal Warrants of Appointment representing a huge cross-section of trade and industry, from individual craftspeople to global multi-nationals. They are united by a commitment to the highest standards of service, quality, excellence and craftsmanship.


About the RWHA

The Royal Warrant Holders Association was formed in 1840 to ensure the continued existence of the Royal Warrant as a treasured institution. Today it continues to assist with the administration of Warrants, as well as advising members on all Royal Warrant matters. 

The Association is not part of the Royal Household, but belongs to its members. Membership is open to all Warrant-holding companies. 

Alongside its partners, the Association offers a full events programme and opportunities for members to connect at a national level and through its local associations.  It also supports local charities through its Charity Fund and craftspeople via QEST. Once a year, the Association also awards the Plowden Medal for advancement within the conservation profession.


The history of the Royal Warrant can be traced back to medieval times, when competition for Royal favour was intense and the Monarch had the pick of the country's best tradespeople. By the 15th century, the Lord Chamberlain, as head of the Royal Household, formally appointed tradespeople with a Royal Warrant of Appointment – a practice that continues to this day.

In the 18th century, Royal tradesmen began displaying the Royal Arms on their premises and stationery. In 1840, the Royal Warrant Holders Association was formed. Scroll through the timeline to discover some highlights from the history of the Royal Warrant, stretching back from the present day to its early origins.

PJ Cross


The Association marks the Platinum Jubilee with a gift to HM The Queen of a new Processional Cross.



HRH The Prince of Wales becomes Patron of the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST).

HM The Queen QUEST


HM The Queen becomes Patron of the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) for her 90th birthday year. Portrait above by QEST Scholar, Alastair Barford. Limited edition prints available from recordreign.com

QEST 175th Anniversary


The Association celebrates its 175th anniversary and the 25th anniversary of the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST).


The Association hosts the Coronation Festival in the gardens of Buckingham Palace. Attended by 60,000 visitors over four days, it is the biggest event in the modern history of the Royal Warrant.

2007 Royal Charter Renewed


The Association's Royal Charter is renewed, as well as its aims, governance and remit. Almost all Royal Warrant holders are members.



The Association and its charitable arm the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) establish offices at 1 Buckingham Place and the Association assists with more of the increasing administrative work connected with Royal Warrants.

1990 QEST founded


The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) is established by the Association to mark its 150th anniversary and the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother.

1953 HM coronation


The Coronation of HM Queen Elizabeth II takes place. Many Royal Warrant holders are commissioned to assist, including couturier Sir Norman Hartnell, who created The Queen’s Coronation dress and robe.

1935 25th anniversary of King George Accession


To mark the 25th anniversary of the accession of King George V, the Association builds The King’s House, showcasing the trades, products and skills of Warrant holders. The House is exhibited at the Ideal Home Exhibition before being rebuilt in Surrey and presented to Edward VIII.

1920s Association Banquet


Membership of the Association increases to include more than half of all Warrant holders, and cases of improper use of the Royal Arms are reduced.

1907 RWHA renamed


The Association's aims, governance and remit are established by Royal Charter of Incorporation and it is renamed the Royal Warrant Holders Association.

1870-80s rules tighten on use of Royal Warrants

1870s and 1880s

Rules governing the use of Royal Warrants are tightened so that bankrupts lose their Warrants; Warrants cannot be automatically transferred between companies upon merger or acquisition; and the false display of Royal Arms is outlawed by Parliament. The Association is incorporated to become the official body protecting the rights of Royal Warrant holders.

1837 Queen Victoria Ascends the throne

19th Century

In 1837 Queen Victoria ascends the throne. Almost 2,000 Royal Warrants are granted during the reign of Queen Victoria and Royal tradespeople begin to gather socially to celebrate the birthday of the monarch, for which the original association was formed in 1840. 

18th C Tradesmen start display RA

18th Century

Royal tradespeople begin to display the Royal Arms on their premises.

17th C Royal Warrants re-established Charles II

17th Century

The granting of Royal Warrants is re-established by Charles II, following its abolition under Oliver Cromwell.

16th C Royal Tradesmen Fieald of the Cloth of Gold

16th Century

In 1520 Royal tradespeople create the 'Field of the Cloth of Gold' for Henry VIII near Guînes, the magnificent site for his diplomatic meeting with Francois I of France.

15th C Royal Trade recognised with Warrants

15th Century

Royal tradespeople are recognised with a Royal Warrant of Appointment. These include William Caxton, England's first printer, who is appointed as King's Printer in 1476.

14th Century

14th Century

As different trades seek to organise themselves more effectively and maintain standards, trading associations known as livery companies develop. These include the Drapers' Company, granted a Royal Charter by Edward III in 1364, and the Mercers' Company (headed by the famous Dick Whittington), granted a Royal Charter by Richard II in 1394.

13th Century

13th Century

The department known as 'The Great Wardrobe' organises the Royal Household's accounts and administration. It holds the earliest records of transactions between Royal Households and the kind of craftspeople and traders who still form the bulk of Royal Warrant holders today.

12 C Henry II Weavers Grant

12th Century

In 1155 Henry II grants the Weavers' Company a Royal Charter – the earliest known example of a formal document between Royalty and tradespeople.

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The Queen Elizabeth II Processional Cross

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Our Partners

The Association is proud to work with a number of highly-valued partners who support its programme of events and member opportunities.  These include those shown here.