The Awarding of Royal Warrants: A State Aid Perspective on a Centuries-old National Practice

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This article explores the tradition of awarding of royal warrants in monarchies in the EU. A royal warrant is an entitlement for an undertaking to utilise the fact that it is supplying a royal court with goods or services in its marketing, as a quality assurance. To determine the legality of awarding royal warrants under EU law, it is examined whether the EU State aid rules apply. To determine whether this is the case, it is decisive whether the monarch is the ‘State’ for the purpose of Article 107(1) TFEU. Therefore, EU law and national public law is analysed. The analysis shows that legal analysis of royal warrants rests on the public/private divide. It is analysed how the various national legal conceptualisations of the monarch fits in the EU concept of State, encompassing all entities which may reasonably be said to act on behalf or under influence of the State. No hard conclusion can be drawn, but it is found that the monarch’s resources are State resources and that the awarding of royal warrants arguably must be considered as imputable to the State. Further, royal warrants confer an economic advantage on beneficiaries, and the monarch does not (formally) receive any (market-like) remuneration. Thus, it is concluded that the award of a royal warrant grants State aid to the benefitting undertaking.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean State Aid Law Quarterly
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)55-68
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Concept of state
  • Royal warrants
  • Monarch
  • State resources
  • Economic advantage

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