What is a Royal Warrant?

If you’re looking for a guy that knows his way around high-end, classic menswear brands, look no further than Theron Stevenson. He has years of experience handling pieces from such iconic design houses as Canali, Belvest, Ermenegildo Zegna, Boglioli, Corneliani and Hermès. In this guest article, Theron explains the meaning behind that “Royal Warrant” label we see in some of the best British made Bond clothing. You can follow Theron on Instagram @texarestoriedclothing.

 

Turnbull & Asser and Bond

Most aficionados of James Bond’s style are at least somewhat familiar with the movie franchise’s long association with English shirtmakers and Royal Warrant holders Turnbull & Asser. That relationship began with the first movie. Although Fleming never identifies the maker of Bond’s shirts in his books, he specifies that that they were of Sea Island cotton, and sold on Jermyn Street. Fleming himself was a Turnbull & Asser customer. So their shop was the natural place for Dr. No director Terence Young to bring Sean Connery for costuming.

Sean Connery and Michael Fish at Turnbull & Asser. Image sourced from James Bond Lifestyle.

It was here that Connery’s body-builder physique was fitted with custom shirts featuring now iconic details. The high, semi-spread collar, and the famous two-button turn-back cuffs were part of the original design. (The Suits of James Bond website has a great graphic detailing the slight variations in silhouette of the cuffs used in different Bond movies.) Turnbull & Asser went on to provide wardrobe for four different Bonds, in twelve films.

You can still buy Turnbull & Asser’s “Dr. No” shirt from them today. And if you look inside the collar, you’ll see that their labels include a distinctive coat of arms with the text, “BY APPOINTMENT TO H.R.H. THE PRINCE OF WALES SHIRTMAKERS”. This trademark is a Royal Warrant, a distinction granted to only select number of companies. And it really does signify that Prince Charles endorses the product.

The Turnbull & Asser “Dr. No” shirt, with the label featuring their Royal Warrant.

 

The Message Behind the Royal Warrant

Queen Elizabeth, Prince Phillip the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Charles are the only Grantors authorized to bestow Royal Warrants. Importantly, they play a firsthand role in the process of selecting which manufacturers will receive them. Companies go through a stringent application in order to qualify. But each royal Grantor has ultimate authority to grant or withhold the Warrant.

The Royal Warrants of the three Grantors.

Consequently, the Warrant reflects both the quality of the product and the personal taste of the person who grants it. We can presume that Turnbull & Asser have a special place in Prince Charles’ sartorial heart, as they were the first company to whom he issued a Warrant after he was granted the authority to do so in 1980.

 

Who else holds a Royal Warrant?

Currently about twenty clothing and accessory companies hold the Prince of Wales’ warrant. If you love menswear, many of them should be on your radar, including Anderson & Sheppard, Barbour, John Lobb, Johnston’s of Elgin, and Lock & Co. Crockett & Jones recently received their Royal Warrant from Prince Charles in April, 2017.

Barbour actually holds Royal Warrants from all three Grantors …

 

While famous British shoemake John Lobb currently holds Royal Warrants from the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales. Image sourced from Live Trading News.

And if you love cocktails, you may also be glad to know that H.R.H. The Queen has granted Royal Warrants to Tanqueray Gordon & Co., Angostura, and Martini. I’ll have my royal endorsement shaken, not stirred. And, if someone as famously elegant as Prince Charles officially gives patronage to Turnbull & Asser, I’m happy to do so as well. Make my cuff a double!

 

Do you have more information about Royal Warrants you’d like to share? Head to the Comments below! You can also learn more about specific companies at The Royal Warrant Holders Association.

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