Queen Elizabeth's bra fitter loses contract

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Updated

January 12, 2018 17:56:42

The company which supplied lingerie to Queen Elizabeth II has lost its contract with Buckingham Palace after the owner published a book making references to the Royal family.

Key points

  • Rigby & Peller loses its contract with the Royal family
  • It followed the company’s former owner writing a book which referenced the family
  • June Kenton says she was “completely and utterly heartbroken”

June Kenton said Rigby & Peller had lost the right to display the Royal coat of arms last year after she mentioned them in her book, Storm in a D-cup.

Who is June Kenton?

Mrs Kenton bought Rigby & Peller with her husband in 1982 for 20,000 British pounds, and later sold a majority stake to Belgian luxury lingerie maker Van de Velde for 8 million pounds in 2011.

According to her publisher, the 82-year-old transformed the store into one of the leading lingerie retailers in the world.

Trained at the Berlie Corsetry School, she has more than 60 years in the lingerie industry, and holds a lifetime achievement award from the UK industry.

What did she say?

The former owner of the firm told Associated Press she regretted her book had caused the business to lose its “Royal warrant” and meant no offence to the monarch or her family.

“There’s nothing in there that makes you think, ‘Oh! That’s naughty’,” Mrs Kenton said.

“It’s very sad to have ended like this.

“I am completely and utterly heartbroken. I apologise for anything I might have done or said in the book. It was totally unintentional.

“I just think the world of them.”

What is a Royal warrant?

Rigby & Peller had held what’s called a Royal warrant as corsetiere to the Queen since 1960.

There are about 800 royal warrant holders, including individuals, small businesses and global companies.

It is a mark of recognition for those who supply specific goods or services to the Royal household.

Just one example is Fortnum & Mason, which has a warrant as “grocer & provision merchant” to the monarch.

What did Mrs Kenton write about?

In the book she made several references to interactions with the Royal family, unaware of the rules governing the release of information on private meetings with them.

She discussed the Queen Mother:

“Shall I tell you what I do?” she was quoted as saying.

“I pretend to listen to Margaret and then, once she has gone, I order what I want.”

She made reference to Princess Diana, Prince William and Prince Harry:

“I never met Diana’s boys, but I used to give her lingerie and swimwear posters for them to put up in their studies at Eton,” Mrs Kenton wrote.

She discusses her first meeting with the Queen, but fell short of giving any detail about the actual fitting:

“We never, ever have discussions of what we see in the fitting room,” she said.

“That’s between you and the customer.”

She insists her autobiography not a tell-all book, and said she even sent a copy to Buckingham Palace when the book was published last year.

How bad a move was this?

Royal expert and Flinders University, Associate Professor Giselle Bastin, said it was best for businesses dealing with the Royal family to keep quiet.

“It is still considered prestigious for a business to hold a Royal warrant and yes, discretion is important — particularly in the case of businesses that provide personal services to members of the Royal family,” Professor Bastin said.

“So, the Queen’s milliner or clothes makers would never disclose details such as the Royal person’s body measurements, or the cost of the goods that they buy.

“This, as we’ve seen in the case of Rigby & Peller, would mean ‘warrant suicide’.

“Sometimes the Royal warrants are withdrawn in spectacular fashion, such as when in 2002 Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh demanded that his warrant for Harrods department store be removed.

“The Philip/Harrods case suggests that removal of a Royal warrant is the Royal person’s equivalent of expressing publicly his or her serious displeasure — an outlet that they do not have in many other public forums.”

What has Buckingham Palace said?

The Palace declined to comment on Thursday.

“In respect of Royal warrants, we never comment on individual companies,” the statement said.

But Rigby & Peller confirmed the loss of the Royal warrant.

“Rigby & Peller is deeply saddened by this decision and is not able to elaborate further on the cancellation out of respect for Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Warrant Holders Association,” the company said in statement.

“However, the company will continue to provide an exemplary and discreet service to its clients.”

It’s not the first time the Royal’s have had their private lives detailed

In 2003, Paul Burrell — a former servant to the Royal household — released his memoir, A Royal Duty.

It became a best seller.

The book detailed his time as a butler to Prince Charles and Princess Diana at Highgrove House in Gloucestershire and his move to Diana’s staff after their divorce.

Sarah Goodall — who worked for Prince Charles for 12 years — also released The Palace Diaries: Twelve Years with HRH Prince Charles in 2006.

Meghan Markle’s estranged half-sister Samantha Grant is set to release a book spilling family secrets titled The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister.

AP

Topics:

royal-and-imperial-matters,

human-interest,

books-literature,

united-kingdom

First posted

January 12, 2018 09:45:41



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