As the nation prepares to celebrate the Coronation of HM King Charles III, we take time to reflect on his enduring connection with Scotland and the special relationship Johnstons of Elgin has formed with His Majesty over the years. As Royal Warrant Holders and pioneers of King Charles's Terra Carta sustainability recovery plan, we have been fortunate enough to collaborate with the Monarch and have been proud to host the King and Queen Consort, Camilla, at our Hawick knitting mill. We would like to offer them both our very best wishes at this historic time.
When HM Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne, the then four-year-old heir, Charles, inherited several Scottish titles. Charles became the Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland. As a child, Charles spent holidays at the Balmoral estate, riding with his father and fishing with his grandmother.
HM King Charles joined Gordonstoun School in Scotland in 1962, leaving in 1967 with five O-levels in English Language, English Literature, History, Latin and French and two A-levels in History and French. King Charles has often spoken fondly about his time at Gordonstoun, a short distance from our Elgin weaving mill on the Moray coast.
Their Royal Highnesses, then The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay, visited our knitting mill at Eastfield Mills, Hawick, in June 2013. During their visit, TRHs unveiled our Royal Warrant, which was granted by The King when he was Prince of Wales to manufacture and supply Estate Tweed cloth to the Royal household. Tweed is an essential part of our heritage and remains a feature of our contemporary collections.
We collaborated with The Prince's Foundation's Future Textiles Initiative, a project that sees experienced team members share their expertise with a new wave of Scottish textile talent. The Dumfries House Workshop Series championed sustainability and helped recently graduated students from The Prince's Foundation and YOOX NET-A-PORTER 'Modern Artisan Project' with the confidence and skills to establish their own businesses.
Johnstons of Elgin partnered with the Balmoral Estate in 2020 to create Balmoral Blue, the first Royal Tweed available for the public to purchase. Exclusively sold at Balmoral, this unique tweed captures the essence of the River Dee, with its blue tones and the local granite in its greys. Balmoral was reportedly the late Queen's favourite property, and King Charles is expected to spend summers here as Her Majesty did.
Mother of Pearl X Campaign for Wool. In celebration of the Campaign for Wool’s 10th Anniversary, we made a Limited Edition wool scarf designed by Mother of Pearl Creative Director Amy Powney in collaboration with the Campaign for Wool. The scarf's profits were donated to The Prince’s Foundation’s Future Textiles initiative and funding an apprenticeship at Johnstons of Elgin.
As we moved through the strange times and ever-changing rules during the pandemic, Our Chairman, Jenny Urquhart, marked Wool Week with a socially distanced meeting with HM the King, then The Duke of Rothesay. Jenny presented him with an exclusive woollen blanket featuring the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Fund (QEST) tartan designed by Edinburgh kiltmakers Kinloch Anderson, another of Scotland's oldest family businesses.
QEST is a charity dedicated to excellence in British craftsmanship, for which The Duke of Rothesay was then Patron. We produced a limited run of QEST tartan blankets to celebrate the fund’s 30th anniversary and the 180th anniversary of the Royal Warrant Holders Association, with proceeds from sales going to the charity.
King Charles, then the Prince of Wales, launched the Terra Carta in 2021, a guiding mandate for the Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI). The Terra Carta provides principles that put Nature, People and the Planet at the heart of global value creation.
The SMI’s Fashion Taskforce, of which Johnstons of Elgin are members, launched the ground-breaking Digital ID concept in 2021 to provide traceability in the luxury fashion sector. A QR code provides information about a product's provenance and how to care for it. It allows customers to understand a garment's journey from raw materials to store and make considered buying decisions.
Johnstons of Elgin and the then Prince of Wales’s family estate, Highgrove, collaborated to produce The Highgrove Scarf to coincide with the Campaign for Wool’s 11th year and COP26 in November 2021. The scarf was made using natural Merino Wool fibres, which can be traced from farm to finished product. Johnstons of Elgin donated 10% of retail sales from the scarf to The Prince’s Foundation, dedicated to creating communities for a more sustainable world.
Earlier this year, in celebration of King Charles’s Coronation, we were delighted to launch our Limited Edition Coronation Collection. These exclusive commemorative designs are embroidered with the official emblem of the historical event, which will feature throughout May’s celebrations.
Our special commemorative edit includes a Double Face Lambswool Throw, chosen to represent King Charles's connection with The Campaign for Wool. It also consists of a Cashmere Scarf and an online exclusive Cashmere Throw, each made with the finest fibres in an elegant silver hue.
The Coronation emblem was designed by internationally revered designer Sir Jony Ive KBE and his creative collective, LoveFrom. Honouring The King’s love of the natural world, the motif unifies the flora of the four nations of the United Kingdom, the rose of England, the thistle of Scotland, the daffodil of Wales and the shamrock of Northern Ireland. Together, the flowers create the shape of St Edward’s Crown, with which His Majesty the King will be crowned during the Coronation Service at Westminster Abbey on Saturday, 6th May.
We are proud to share a unique history with King Charles III and look forward to many years of his reign.