Queen Elizabeth II turns 91 on April 21. The Queen, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, actually has two birthdays: the day she was born, and an official birthday. The latter is marked by the grand Trooping the Colour parade, taking place this year on 17 June, while the former is likely to be a quiet, family-only affair.
Looking to buy a birthday present fit for royalty? One of the marks of a quality British shopping establishment is a Royal Warrant. These are currently issued by the three most senior members of Britain’s royal family: the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales, to firms they have been using for at least five years. Shop with one of the following, and know they have the royal seal of approval.
Barbour is rare in that it holds three warrants – one for each of the members of the royal family capable of issuing them. An English brand founded in 1894, it’s famous for its wax jackets and outerwear. Its flagship store is in London’s Covent Garden, one of the city’s busiest shopping areas.
Another firm holding three warrants is DAKS in Old Bond Street. Founded in 1894, it’s a quintessentially British luxury label, specialising in fine tailoring and accessories for men and women.
If it’s a kilt you’re after, Kinloch Anderson is another triple warrant holder. Founded in Scotland in 1868, it manufactures the royal family’s Balmoral Tartan, which can only be worn with the Queen’s permission. Visit its Edinburgh shop and buy an item in your family’s tartan, or if your clan doesn’t have one, you can design your own.
The Prince of Wales granted Corgi a Royal Warrant back in 1989 for its delightful luxury socks. Made in Wales since 1892, the company is still family-run, and based in the Carmarthenshire town in which it was originally established. The company’s designs come in cotton or fine cashmere. Pick up a pair in London’s Selfridges store – a royal warrant holder itself.
Cornelia James has been making the Queen’s gloves since she was a princess – the very first royal pair was commissioned in 1947. The company is now led by Cornelia’s daughter Genevieve, and its industrious client-list continues to grow – as well as the Queen, the firm’s designs have been sported by the Duchess of Cambridge, Rihanna, Taylor Swift and Madonna. Collections include cotton, ski and opera gloves, and can be found in House of Fraser department stores. The Prince of Wales and Duke of Edinburgh meanwhile have both issued warrants to Dents, which started manufacturing fine leather gloves in 1777. Buy them at stores including Selfridges, Harrods and House of Fraser.
The Queen is never without a handbag and they nearly always come from Launer; she is said to have scores of Launer bags to choose from in her wardrobe. Still made entirely by hand in Walsall, a small town near the Midlands city of Birmingham, all the handbags are lined in suede with gold-plated fastenings. Luxurious but never flashy, you’ll also find wallets and iPhone cases in its collection of leather goods, stocked by shops such as Fortnum & Mason in London.
Started in 1856 by an American entrepreneur Henry Lee Norris, Hunter boots were developed to help British soldiers deal with the trenches in the first world war. Now a staple piece of equipment for the summer festival circuit, it’s still the Queen’s and Duke of Edinburgh’s Wellington boot of choice and now comes in every colour – although traditionalists prefer the original Hunter Green. Buy them at Harrods, Selfridges and Office stores around Britain.
Rachel Trevor-Morgan holds a royal warrant for millinery, the art of hat-making, and has been making the Queen’s headwear since 2006. The firm is run by Rachel, its founder, and offers seasonal collections, bridal couture and private commissions from is base in London’s St James’s. Each hat is handmade to size, and can also be dyed to match individual outfits. The Prince of Wales and Duke of Edinburgh meanwhile both buy their hats at Lock & Co – the oldest hat shop in the world. Established in 1676, the firm’s other customers have included Sir Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin and Admiral Lord Nelson. It offers complimentary private appointments from its 17th century townhouse in St James’s Street, London.
The Queen gets her umbrellas from Fulton – a family-run firm started in the 1950s. It offers umbrellas of every shape, size, and for every occasion, and partners with designers such as Cath Kidston and William Morris to produce quirky, patterned ranges. It also offers a bespoke service from its factory in London’s East End, where it can either create a one-of-a-kind design for you, or take your design and adapt it for an umbrella.