History of The Royal Warrant
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The Royal Warrant Holders Association
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HM Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust
A new book detailing History of the Royal Warrant
Gracious Queen Rose
41st Warrant Holders Annual Banquet, Hotel Metropole, London, 9th November, 1899

Early in the nineteenth century, the Royal Tradesmen began the custom of holding an annual dinner to celebrate the Sovereign’s birthday. On the evening of 25 May 1840, at the Freemasons’ Tavern in London, the tradesmen who had gathered to celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday, decided that they should form themselves into ‘The Royal Tradesmen’s Association’.

To begin with, there were just 25 members but in the second and subsequent years the numbers rose steadily.  In tune with the times it was an exclusively male organisation, although it was agreed that if ‘a lady or firm of ladies’ held a Royal Warrant they should be allowed to ‘appoint a gentleman to represent them.’

In 1907 the Association received its Royal Charter and changed its name to The Royal Warrant Holders Association. Today most Warrant Holders belong to the Association.


One of the Association’s most important roles is to act as a ‘watchdog’, making sure the Royal Warrant is only used by ‘bona fide’ Warrant Holders, and that those who are allowed to use it, do so correctly.   The Association also advises members on everything to do with their Warrant, and acts as an important link to the Royal Household.

Whilst a large number of Warrant Holders are based in or around London, the home of The Queen's principal residence Buckingham Palace, branches of the Association are to be found in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Sandringham (www.sarwh.org) and Windsor.   

Buckingham Palace Windsor Castle Balmoral Castle
Palace of Holyroodhouse Sandringham House


In 1990 to celebrate the Association’s 150th anniversary and the 90th birthday of  Queen Elizabeth, the Association established a charity, The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST), to encourage craft training. Queen Elizabeth Scholarships are open to craftsmen and women of all ages who wish to improve their skills.

Conservation Award

The Association awards the Plowden Medal annually to recognise the man or woman who has made the most significant recent contribution to the advancement of the conservation profession.  Inaugurated in 1999 the award, in the form of a gold medal, is in memory of the late Hon Anna Plowden CBE, the leading conservator, who was President-elect of the Association at the time of her death in 1997. 


The Association has a President and a Vice-President who hold office for one year and are drawn from the governing body, the Council.   The permanent Secretary conducts the Association’s business on a day-to-day basis.

The Royal Warrant Holders Association
No. 1 Buckingham Place,
London SW1E 6HR

Tel:  (+44)(0) 207 828 2268
Fax:  (+44)(0) 207 828 1668


The Royal Warrant Holders Association Offices in London


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