A fourth generation West Yorkshire manufacturer has described “the true honour” of being awarded the contract to manufacture the British Armed Forces’ new regimental flags following King Charles III’s Coronation.
The seven-year, £5million contract to replace all British Armed Forces Standards and Colours (military flags) with the King’s insignia and the Tudor Crown, has been secured by Haworth-based military accoutrement manufacturer Wyedean, a family run business, headed by father and daughter Robin and Rosie Wright.
The skill and precision of Wyedean’s specialist embroiderers, metalworkers and braiders were on display during the King’s Coronation celebrations on the 6 May as four new Standards and Colours created by the team for the Royal Navy, the Life Guards and the Royal Air Force, alongside a Sovereign Standard for the Kings Company of the Grenadier Guards, made their first appearance during the royal procession.
The fifth Standard to be manufactured by Wyedean for the Blues and Royals (Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons) will be on show in King Charles’ first Trooping The Colour as monarch on Saturday 17 June.
Wyedean Managing Director Robin Wright said: “The true honour we feel to be creating such historic and symbolic regimental Standards and Colours is absolutely incredible. It really is a business high for us all.
“Typically, regimental Standards and Colours are renewed every 10-12 years but following the passing of the late Queen, all military regalia requires updating with King Charles III’s insignia and the Tudor Crown. As it takes three of our skilled people one year to create just four Colours, there are thousands of hours of craftmanship from appliqué ornamental needlework to hand embroidery needed to complete the high standard of elaborate fabrics ready to present to the armed forces in the years ahead.”
A Regimental Standard or Colour is a flag depicting the colour of the regiment’s uniform facings, trimmed with gold threaded tassels and displaying the King’s insignia. Hand made by Wyedean’s specialist embroiders using silks, silver and gilt threads, they are used on a regiment’s most important occasions and bears elaborate symbols and battle honours gained through the centuries.
Wyedean’s Business Development Director Rosie Wright explained: “Military Colours carry a major significance to the British armed forces and were originally introduced in the 1700s as battle flags to help soldiers determine where their regiment was during the chaos of the battlefield. Colours remain highly symbolic even today and are thought to carry the spirits of all those who fought and died since the founding of the regiment.”
She added: “We are very mindful of the importance of the task at hand and recognise this is an incredibly poignant time for all members of our armed forces as they say goodbye to the Queen’s Colours and welcome in the new Colours from King Charles III. This is a historic and momentous task for us and one which we are hugely privileged to be undertaking as we approach our 60th year as a family business.”
Wyedean was founded as a manufacturer of braid and military uniform accoutrement in Haworth in 1964 by David Wright who ran the business with his father Frank Wright, a former textile machine designer who was awarded an MBE in recognition of his invention of a new yarn spinning technique called centrifugal spinning.
Today the business remains chaired by David’s wife Norma (98), with her son and Managing Director Robin, his wife and Sales Director Debra and their daughters Business Development Director Rosie and Systems Project Manager Susannah.
“Our family was honoured to visit Buckingham Palace in April to see our very own manufactured Standards and Colours being consecrated and presented by His Majesty the King to the Royal Navy, The Life Guards, the King’s Company, Grenadier Guards and the Royal Air Force. And this week, around 20 of the Wyedean team have tickets to see our hand crafted Blues and Royals Sovereign Standard in the first King’s Birthday Parade at the Trooping The Colour this Saturday.
We’re delighted and proud to be, quite literally, flying the flag for Yorkshire manufacturing at another historic and momentous occasion and are looking forward to applying our specialist skills to honour the tradition of renewing the military insignia until all are representative of our new monarch.”Robin Wright