Have you ever wondered where the Queen buys her hot sauce?

Well, wonder no more: it comes straight out of New Orleans, courtesy of McIlhenny Company, in the form of its renowned Tabasco.

What about her shrimp, we hear you cry? Baxter's in Lancashire. Her whisky? Laphroaig on Islay. Or her salt? Essex's own Maldon Salt.

All of the above have supplied the Royal Household for more than five years, earning themselves a spot on the Royal Warrant register and a right to bear a coat of arms on its packaging. Because if the Queen likes it, you know it's good, the Telegraph explains.


So what does the make-up of the exclusive gang of Royal Warrant holders reveal about taste in the palaces of the land?

For one, it's British. Of the 108 food and drink suppliers, only 15 are foreign, including Tabasco sauce from New Orleans, Angostura bitters from Trinidad, and nine different champagnes from, er, Champagne, France.

You can see from the map above created by Esri UK that the Royal Family is not afraid to look far and wide for the best of the best.

Take, for example, the shellfish - lobsters, langoustines and king scallops - it sources from Keltic just north of Inverness. Or the meat and game preferred in the monarch's pantry, all the way from the Welsh market town of Llandovery. Not to mention the bacon and gammon, travelling hundreds of miles from Denhay in the West Country.

The Royal Family certainly has a taste for tipples from France and the Iberian peninsula, taking cognacs from Hine in Jarnac, Champagne from Bollinger (among others), sherry from Harvey in Jerez and port from, unsurprisingly, Porto.

The Royal family has a taste for Champagne from Bollinger. Photo / Getty
The Royal family has a taste for Champagne from Bollinger. Photo / Getty

However, they do shop locally for some items: Fortnum & Masons, Gordons gin and Prestat chocolates all come from London.

But it's not just suppliers food and drink that the Royal Family have added to their address book. The register stretches to more than 800 names, with other firms providing anything from tailoring and plumbing to cleaning and cars.

Did you know the Royals have a preferred septic tank services company? Take a bow, A Hester Ltd. Or internet? BT have that covered. But what about their vending machines? Yep, Strong Vend is on the case.


Which supplier is furthest from the Palace? Hardy Brothers Jewellers in Brisbane, Australia.

So how does one acquire a Royal Warrant?

According to the Royal Warrant Holder Association (RWHA): "By supplying products or services on a regular basis to the Royal Households of HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh or HRH The Prince of Wales for not less than five years out of seven to include the year immediately prior to application. All Households are funded separately. Amongst other things, suppliers are also required to demonstrate that they have an appropriate environmental and sustainability policy and action plan."

They can be awarded by the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Edinburgh.

Who is the oldest supplier?

The first was granted by Henry II in 1155 when he handed the Weavers' Company a Royal Charter. The process was somewhat formalised over the next few centuries before the label was abolished by Oliver Cromwell after the English Civil War. Charles II reintroduced Royal Warrants in the 17th century before Queen Victoria expanded the process to include more than 1000 craftspeople and companies. The RWHA was formed in 1840.

Twinings is one of the oldest suppliers to the Royal family. Photo / Getty
Twinings is one of the oldest suppliers to the Royal family. Photo / Getty

What's the point?

Well, beyond the obvious prestige, holders receive a "handsome Royal Warrant document" and "the right to display the appropriate Royal Arms on their product".

Though it is debatable whether it actually helps at all. In 2010 both After Eights and Jacob's Cream Crackers voluntarily dropped the insignia from its packaging, while in 2000, Harrods boss Mohamed Fayed famously burned the Knightsbridge store's badge during a dispute with the Royal Family. He said the crests were "cursed".

Does the Queen get her Tabasco sauce for free?

No, all Royal Warrants are conducted on a commercial basis.

Can you lose a Royal Warrant?

You sure can. Between 20 and 40 are lost each year, with the same number being added.

The RWHA says firms can be removed from the list should the product or service fall below standard. The company is then allowed 12 months to change its packaging.