After more than 70 years as head of state and in the quiet background of all our lives, it’s perhaps not surprising that many of us hadn’t realised the impact that the Queen had on parts of our lives.
Whether it be a personal involvement, or a political figure that impacted our country’s legislation, the Queen held a massive importance in the UK. In-fact, her involvement in our country’s businesses and trading position is an often unseen role of the monarch, yet key to how our international business community has grown.
At Capitalise, we want to take a moment to look back at the history and influence of the Queen on businesses. And the brilliant work that has been done over the years to put small businesses in the position they are today.
A life of influence
The Queen’s role role, by its very nature, had to remain non-political and whilst she gave a Queen’s Speech in Parliament each year, it’s no secret that the words in this speech were written by the Government of the day. However, that’s not to say she wasn’t influential, far from it.
The Queen had weekly talks with Prime Ministers giving them an opportunity to speak out loud their thoughts, as they made decisions on economic, social and political matters.
She hosted hundreds of dinners and diplomatic events with countries the UK wished to form a stronger relationship with, which inevitably included discussions around trade.
And of course, she presided and championed the growth of The Commonwealth, which was formed in its current form in 1949, just a few years before she came to the throne.
The Commonwealth’s purpose is to encourage international voluntary cooperation and trade links between people all over the world, where all parties are seen as equals.
During her reign, the Commonwealth grew from just 7 countries to 56, representing more than 2.5 billion people, more than a third of the world's population. This clearly provided a great deal of opportunity for building stronger relationships and making a significant impact on the UK’s cross-border trade.
As the head of the Commonwealth, the Queen visited every single member state, except for Cameroon and Rwanda, between 1952 and 2015, which is the last time she travelled overseas.
Seal of Royal Approval
It’s clear that the Queen was very aware of how being associated with the royal household could provide businesses with a commercial advantage and she sought to maximise that.
There are two ways in which companies can be given recognition by the Crown and both provide the advantage of creating the aura of quality and a unique point of difference for them in their markets.
1. ‘A Royal Warrant of Appointment’
“A Royal Warrant of Appointment” is held by those businesses who serve the Royal household, from Sheridan’s butcher who provided meat for the table and barbeques at Balmoral Castle, to Aston Martin, Crown Paints, Burberry and Kelloggs.
These businesses are entitled to display the royal Coats of Arms on their products. Currently there are over 800 royal warrants granted by either the late Queen or King Charles III (when he was HRH Prince of Wales) and they expire after five years or when the Monarch dies, at which point new warrants may be issued.
2. ‘The Queen’s Award for Enterprise’
“The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise” was originally named “The Queen's Award to Industry” and was established by the Queen in 1965.
Awards are granted for outstanding achievement by UK businesses in the categories of innovation; international trade; sustainable development or promoting opportunity through social mobility.
The application is not easy but award winners report that it provides them with respect across the world, increased commercial value, greater press coverage and a boost to staff morale.
The Queen often visited businesses in this country or involved them in royal occasions and many benefited from these encounters for years.
In 2007, as part of a tour of the University of Huddersfield, Mumtaz Indian Restaurant from Bradford was chosen to cook for the Queen. The image of the Queen tasting their various Kashmiri dishes has been repeatedly used in press coverage, advertising and in the restaurants.
Mumtaz restaurant has grown across West Yorkshire since that visit, fifteen years ago!
There is no doubt that the impact of the Queen has been incredible for both the UK’s standing in the world economy and for the many thousands of individual companies which she has touched.
Hundreds of thousands of employers and employees have precious memories from those brief interactions. For those of us who work to support trade in this country, we thank her for her lifelong service and dedication to the growth of our business economy.
We look forward to watching how King Charles III continues this tradition of working with businesses, something we already know he is passionate about since he formed The Prince’s Trust when he was just a young Prince of Wales in 1976. The Queen has set him a tremendous example.
In our latest episode of the Future Positive Podcast, we continued our tribute to Queen Elizabeth’s 70 year reign. Click here to listen in as we chat more about the impact of the late Queen and her extraordinary service and continued support for businesses.