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Yesterday, when I was looking a bit closer on a teabox from Twinings, I noticed the phrase: "By appointment to her Majesty the Queen." According to google and my dictionary this phrase means:

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Okay, so far so good. My question now is, can this phrase " by appointment to" be used in other contexts as well? I only found is in combination with the British Queen. (It's just that the "to" was a bit confusing to me at first. If this phrase could be used in other contexts, could it only be followed by personal names and nouns?)

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3 Answers 3

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As a matter of language, if a well-known person or organisation had made special arrangements for you to supply them (so it was by previous arrangement rather than general trade), then there would be nothing incorrect in saying "by appointment to Celeby McFamous" or whatever. Indeed, as a matter of language they wouldn't even have to be well-known.

As a matter of tact, the expression is so strongly associated with Royal Warrants (which only relate to the households of three particular members of the British royal family), that it would make both you and your famous patron look foolish. You could maybe get away with it if something was clearly a joke, but you'd be skating on thin ice.

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The phrase ‘by appointment to’ as far as I'm aware only applies to Royal Warrant Holders that have supplied goods or services to the Households of HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh or HRH The Prince of Wales for a minimum of five years.

I know of no other organisation that can or would use that phrase.

So to answer your question, it cannot (as far as I'm aware) be used by anyone else in any other context. It applies specifically to Royal Warrant Holders.

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‘He was errand-goer by appointment to the house at the corner.’ (Charles Dickens, ‘Our Mutual Friend’) –  Barrie England Dec 26 '12 at 12:58

In the UK it is normally used only in that way, or of suppliers of goods and services to other dignitaries or organisations, described by their titles rather than their names. However, it doesn't follow that such goods are necessarily of 'guaranteed quality'.

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1  
A brief Google search for "by appointment to" shows that the phrase may be followed by 'HRH The Prince of Wales' and 'HRH the Duke of Edinburgh', and previous monarchs (historically, of course). There is also a good Wikipedia article entitled Royal warrant of appointment. It doesn't really deal thoroughly with royal families other than the British one - but then why would one expect them to employ English phraseology? Purveyors to the Court of Sweden are entitled to display the royal coat of arms with the motto Kunglig Hovleverantör, apparently. –  Edwin Ashworth Dec 26 '12 at 9:45
    
In an antique store I saw an item with the equivalent phrase for the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, in German of course. I don't even read German but the context was unmistakeable. –  Andrew Lazarus Dec 26 '12 at 16:52

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