THE PRINCESS ROYAL AT HENRY POOLE & CO
There are many things which are admirable about Britain, even in these difficult times. And, since they are admirable, I make no apology for admiring them. In so many respects, the world really does look to us for the very best. Yet sometimes we British tend to take for granted what others acknowledge as remarkable. Still, thank goodness, we do occasionally applaud our own achievements. Thus I was particularly pleased to be present in January, 2013, at number 15 Savile Row (one of my favourite addresses in London) for the visit of the Princess Royal to Henry Poole & Co., the tailors who can rightly claim to be the fons et origo of everything we mean when we say ‘Savile Row’.
I yield to no-one in my admiration for the British monarchy as an institution. But I also find it remarkable that the members of the Royal Family invariably perform their duties with such charm, diligence, grace and good humour. And thus it was on this occasion. Princess Anne came – bang on time and with remarkably little fuss – to present to Henry Poole & Co. the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade, in the form of a crystal bowl engraved with the Queen’s Award Emblem. It was received by the great Mr Angus Cundey, Chairman of the firm, who introduced his colleagues to the Princess Royal and escorted her on a tour of the workshops. This was a happy occasion.
Established in 1806, the house has held a Warrant to produce livery for the Royal Household since 1869. And the warrants of others who have recognized its superb craftsmanship, like Emperor Napoleon III of France and Tsar Alexander II of Russia, also hang on the walls of 15 Savile Row. Now, any gentleman of taste and discernment who wants the very finest bespoke suit knows that he needs to go to Henry Poole.
Today, 70% of the firm’s sales are to foreign parts, and the cutters travel regularly to the United States, Japan and Europe. And those sales are increasing. Thus the Award was entirely deserved. Those of us who have had the privilege of having Henry Poole & Co. make for us salute the masters of gentlemen’s bespoke tailoring and rejoice that yet another formal blessing has been bestowed upon them. Ad multos annos!