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Death of Queen Elizabeth II invalidates food and drink brands’ Royal Warrants

Young woman with glasses smiling
2 min read
AUTHOR: Molly Long
external shot of fortnum & mason store sign, featuring the royal warrant crest

Some of the best-known brands sold in the UK could soon look very different, following the passing of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

The death of Britain’s longest-reigning monarch has automatically voided the hundreds of Royal Warrants that she issued, meaning the Royal Arms symbol could disappear from the packaging of Heinz, Pimm’s, and Cadbury products, among many others.

A British Royal Warrant is an official acknowledgement that a company has supplied goods or services to the royal family. Recognised companies are permitted to advertise their Royal Warrants on their packaging – usually through the inclusion of the Royal Arms symbol.

As well as supplying to royals, to be eligible companies must also prove they have “an appropriate environmental and sustainability policy and action plan,” according to the Royal Warrant Holders Association – the organisation incorporated by Royal Charter which upholds the recognitions.

In total, one hundred food and drinks brands were recognised by the Queen – the list includes Coca-Cola, Unilever, Johnnie Walker whisky and Gordon’s Gin. Additionally, several retailers received the Royal Warrant, like Waitrose, Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason.

Per regulations, Royal Warrants are invalidated when the monarch who issued them dies. Companies now have two years to apply to get their Royal Warrant renewed by King Charles III. Failing this, they must cease printing the Royal Arms symbol on their products.

However, while Queen Elizabeth’s passing leaves all Royal Warrants void, it is not uncommon for companies to have to reapply for their Royal Warrant status.

Warrants are granted for up to five years, according to the Royal Warrant Holders Association, and are reviewed for renewal in the year before they are due to expire.

Companies with a product or service which is ‘not up to standard’ risk losing their Royal Warrant. Between 20 and 40 Royal Warrants are cancelled each year, though this is usually balanced out by a similar number being granted.


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