Royal Etiquette: Ensuring Coronation-compliant business


With His Majesty's coronation only weeks away, our inboxes are filling with Union Jacks and bank holiday offers. However, advertising and marketing amidst the royal fervour should be approached with the regal rule book in mind.

In light of the impending festivities, the Lord Chamberlain's Office has produced dedicated coronation guidance supplementing restrictions already in effect under statute and the Advertising Standards Agency's UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (CAP Code). The ASA has also recently issued guidance as a reminder of the CAP Code rules that apply to marketing in relation to the Royal family.

We highlight below some of the common pitfalls to avoid when using royal references in advertising and marketing communications.

Name and shame

Mentioning a member of the Royal family by name or including a photograph of them may seem the simplest and most innocuous way of referencing the upcoming celebrations. However, without prior permission, certain commercial use could infer a royal connection or endorsement of the products or services advertised, with such use likely to fall foul of the CAP Code.

Coronation Collectibles

Those dealing with merchandise or collectibles commemorating the Coronation will need to tread carefully. Whilst red, white and blue tea cosies and mugs are, in themselves, unlikely to imply royal endorsement, care should be taken not to infer any official accreditation. Such an inference could arise in a number of ways. For example, if red, white and blue tea cosies and mugs are combined with Royal insignia (see below in relation to its use), might that be enough to suggest an official accreditation? All marketing of such merchandise or collectibles will also still need to comply with the CAP Code.

Royal Insignia

In advance of the Coronation festivities, new guidelines have been issued that create limited exceptions to the restrictions on commercial use of Royal insignia (including the Royal Arms and Royal Devices) and photographs that usually apply (pursuant to trade mark and trade description legislation, as well as the definitive guidelines of the Lord Chamberlain's office).

Whilst the rules have been relaxed, retailers and manufacturers will need to be aware of the limitations of the exceptions, as the new guidelines still contain specific prohibitions, including in relation to application and deadlines.

The Coronation Emblem

In addition to the Royal insignia, the Coronation Emblem has been designed specifically for the May festivities. The Emblem is available to be used for a wide range of purposes, but those intending to make use of it will need to ensure that they are aware of, and comply with, the various restrictions and requirements of use (e.g. restrictions on the modification of the Emblem, etc.)

Royal Warrants

Regardless of the relaxing of the use of the Royal insignia, the rights and restrictions attached to Royal Warrants remains the same. Royal Warrant Holders should continue to use the relevant Royal Arms in accordance with the Lord Chamberlain's Rules but, as always, non-warrant holders should be wary of using imagery suggestive of a royal appointment.


The relaxation of certain guidelines and rules and the creation of motifs like the Coronation Emblem appears to have been done in recognition of the fact that many will want to capitalise on the commercial opportunities presented by the Coronation. This could reasonably be viewed as helping to facilitate (or even encouraging) such commercial activities. At the same time, it's clear that not all guidelines and rules have been disapplied.

As such, navigating the framework of what is and is not permissible is not necessarily straightforward. Those wishing to engage in Coronation-related commercial activities and marketing will need to ensure that they fully are up-to-speed with the latest guidelines and rules, and will need to carefully consider how they apply to their proposed activities, if they are to conduct Coronation-compliant business.

For further information and/or legal support with your advertising queries, please get in touch.

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