How Are Cheeses Selected for Royal Approval?
Grants for a Royal Warrant of Appointment may be awarded to individuals and companies by HM The Queen, HRH Prince Philip and HRH The Prince of Wales.
Many of those allowed to display the prestigious ‘By Appointment…’ are local to royal residences and are trades people who have provided services of a high standard-for at least five years. Some warrants have been held by the same company for over one hundred years.
The concept of this practice began way back, when the ruling monarch and his court had access to the best provisions in the land. By the fifteenth century, royal tradesmen were officially appointed in writing by the Lord Chamberlain. It remains the Lord Chamberlain’s duty to this day.
Each Royal Warrant is awarded for a period of five years; but can be revoked at any time during that period. All recipients of this honour are bound by the terms of their Royal assent not to divulge details of Royal purchases. It is possible for a company or individual (the grantee) to be given a Royal Warrant of Approval by more than one member of the royal family (the grantors.)
Grantees are entitled to display the Royal Arms-relevant to their grantor-and the legend: ‘By Appointment to…’ on product packaging, business premises and vehicles, as well as on stationery and advertising in recognition of their ‘credibility, dependability and loyalty.’
Printer, William Caxton, was an early recipient of a Royal Warrant; for the first dated book printed in the English tongue. Caxton was appointed King’s printer by King Edward IV in 1476.
When the demand for traditional farmhouse cheese lessened, in favour of Continental cheese, numerous hand-crafted cheeses disappeared from our villages forever. Factory-style production of cheese was responsible for some of that loss; as farmers sent their milk to the big industrial creameries.
Cheese Fit for Royalty
Paxton and Whitfield Ltd are cheesemongers with a long and distinctive history as suppliers to Royalty. HM The Queen and HRH The Prince of Wales are both grantees to this particular business; which has been in business for more than 200 years. Sir Winston Churchill famously said of them: “…a gentleman only buys his cheese at Paxton and Whitfield.” Paxton and Whitfield have supplied cheese By Appointment to:
HM Queen Victoria
HM King Edward VII
HM King George V
HM King George VI
HM Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother.
In the ancient Cotswold village of Tetbury is a tiny shop, called the House of Cheese, owned and run by Jenny and Philip Grant. HRH The Prince of Wales is Grantor to their Royal assent. Rick Stein mentions Jenny and Philip and their House of Cheese in his ‘Food Heroes’ book. They also started quite a trend with their ‘cheese cakes’ for weddings and parties, prompted by Richard and Judy. (They really do make wedding cakes from wheels of cheese! What a heavenly start to any cheese-lovers nuptials.)
When I visited the House of Cheese recently I left with some wonderful local cheeses, including a rather naughty little number called ‘Farm Hot Chilli Cheddar.’ Described as ‘the vindaloo of cheddars’ it is made within ten miles of the shop and is definitely worth a taste; if you love cheddar and chillies! I do. I do.
The House of Cheese is a traditional place with a warm welcome, and, as long as it doesn’t get too crowded (it’s only about 11’ square inside) you will be able to investigate local extra mature vintage farm cheddars, a broad selection of cheeses from further afield, home-made chutneys, and so much more…
So, for a cheese (and a cheese supplier) to be selected as worthy of Royal Appointment, it needs to be the best in the land. Consistently.