Queen Elizabeth II grants royal warrants to tradesmen or women who regularly supply goods or services to the monarchy. Companies can apply to the Royal Warrant Holders Association after they have supplied the royal household with goods/services for at least 5 years out of 7.
And so it was that in 1960 the Queen granted a warrant to a luxury underwear firm based in London. June Kenton bought the company in 1982 with her husband, and Mrs Kenton became an official corsetiere to the Queen and other members of the Royal Family. In 2011 she sold a majority stake in the company, but remains on the board of directors.
This year Mrs Kenton, now aged 82, published her autobiography Storm in a D Cup, but it soon became evident that the Palace did not like the book, and the royal warrant was removed. Mrs Kenton, understandably upset, went on to state that she never spoke of what she did at Buckingham Palace, and that the book was just a sweet story of a corsetiere’s life. However, she had failed to submit it to the powers-that-be at the Palace for approval.
Nevertheless, surprise surprise, the book is an out-and-out bestseller, currently number 1 in the ‘Manufacturing’ category on Amazon, and number 2 in the ‘Autobiographies & Biographies’ and ‘Business & Finance’ sections. As far as I can tell it is only sold as a hardback, price £19.99, and at the moment is out of stock on Amazon UK. It has good four and five star reviews on Amazon UK, and not one of them mentions anything amiss. However, there is a one-star review on Amazon US. The owner of the American copy found it ‘left in the trash at the airport’, and found it to be a tell-all story, so probably that’s why the Palace has removed the warrant.
I’m intrigued. Is it a tell-all or not? The price tag is a little too high for me (there doesn’t seem to be a Kindle version) so I won’t be buying the book, but maybe in time there will be some used copies on sale at a reduced price!
Moral to the story – get the permission of somebody you are writing about before you publish your book. Royal Family or commoner, everyone is entitled to their privacy.