As the nation counts down the days until the royal wedding, analysis from New West End Company has revealed that London’s West End is still the number one retail choice for the royals, as 80% of royal warrant holders are based in the district. New West End Company analysts estimate that this royal stamp of approval is worth £160 million a year to West End brands.
Ever since the Prince Regent commissioned architect John Nash to design Regent Street in 1810, the West End & Mayfair have been known globally as the home of luxury retail and design. Today, the West End & Mayfair still boast unrivalled heritage and its shops, hotels and restaurants have some of the longest held royal warrants in the country.
The longest held warrant is 209 years, which belongs to Savile Row men’s tailor Gieves & Hawkes, whose warrant was issued in 1809. The second oldest warrant was issued in 1868 to gun and rifle makers James Purdey & Sons, on South Audley Street. The most recently received royal warrant was given to Thomas Lyte, which specialises in silverware and gifts, in 2015.
The royal couple-to-be are often seen in the West End shopping and dining in some of the top boutiques and restaurants. Meghan Markle chose a couture gown by Ralph & Russo, a British-based label based in Mayfair for her official engagement photos and she has been spotted going to beauty salons such as Nail & Brows and Nichola Joss in the area. Prince Harry and Meghan are said to frequent celebrity dining spots such as Chiltern Firehouse or Dean Street Townhouse and the couple were even spotted recently in the West End going to see the new musical Hamilton.
Mark Henderson, chief executive of Gieves & Hawkes, said: “Gieves & Hawkes is proud to hold three Royal Warrants of Appointment to HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Prince of Wales. The Royal Warrants are a mark of recognition that a Warrant Holder is a regular supplier of goods or services to the Royal Households. The Company has held Warrants since the late 18th century.
“There are some 800 Warrant holders across the UK – from some of the most famous brand names in the world: Land-Rover, Burberry, Bentley and Marmite – to many much lesser known companies. All are united in creating products and services of the highest quality and standards.
“With its proximity to the Palaces – St James’s Palace, Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace – the West End has a long history of supplying the Monarchy and its Court.”
Kyle Monk, head of insight at New West End Company, that represents 600 businesses in the West End, said: “For generations, the West End and Mayfair have been a global hub for luxury fashion, jewellery and fine art. 80% of royal warrant holders in these categories were either founded in the West End or have a location in the area, a concentration of luxury heritage unmatched in Europe. We estimate that this royal seal of approval contributes £160m a year to West End businesses. Many fashion and jewellery brands incorporate the heraldic badge of the warrant issuer into their branding, as a globally recognised and unmistakable sign of quality.”
For a full road map to shop like a royal, see the map below of all the royal warrant holders in the West End: