By Briana Fasone and Maria Pedone
January 18, 2013

During the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Queen Elizabeth II broke with hundreds of years of protocol and agreed to rent out the lavish rooms—or so-called “state apartments”—inside St. James’s Palace to various companies during the Games. Only holders of the Royal Warrant—companies with long-standing ties to the royal family—were able to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime offer.

Holding a Royal Warrant signifies that Her Majesty prefers that company—or brand—over others. And the list grows.

Just this week, for the first time in history, The Queen granted a Royal Warrant to a hotel. The Goring, the 103-year-old Edwardian property near Buckingham Palace in London's Belgravia neighborhood where Kate Middleton slept the night before her wedding, was honored. “To be able to display Her Majesty’s coat of arms is something that the staff will be enormously proud of. Without doubt this is the most important recognition,” claims Jeremy Goring, great-grandson of the hotel’s founder.

What exactly is a Royal Warrant—and who holds it?

Royal Warrants of Appointment recognize individuals or companies that have regularly supplied goods or services for at least five years to the Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, or The Prince of Wales (the only three “Grantors”). It’s the mark of the must-have royal brands—and there are currently around 850 warrant holders.

T+L recently featured one of them: Air Partner, one of the world’s premier aircraft charter companies, was granted a warrant in 2004. Other items that have the ultimate seal of approval? It’s no surprise that Jaguar, Aston Martin, and Land Rover are preferred automobiles (you may remember in the film The Queen, Helen Mirren operates a Land Rover and is quick to remind her staff she worked as a mechanic in the war). Nor is it a wonder that Her Majesty, with a much-publicized passion for horses, granted a Royal Warrant to The Racing Post magazine.

But there are some unexpected holders—like Rigby & Peller, a luxury lingerie maker that has been a favorite since 1960. In the often-overlooked category of pest control, there’s Shield Pest Control Limited, which has been taking out royal insects and vermin for years. Don’t forget good ol’ Pittsburgh-based Heinz, the royal family’s go-to bean purveyor since 1951.

Briana Fasone (left) is a contributor to

Maria Pedone is a digital editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.