The Queen's most iconic fashion accessory being passed on to William and Kate

by Emily Nash and Ainhoa Barcelona

The Queen's most iconic accessory is mostly see-through (so people can still see her) and she has one in ever colour to complement her wardrobe. Her trusty birdcage umbrella, which she always has on hand to ward off a drizzle or downpour, is designed by royal royal warrant holder Fulton Umbrellas.

More recently, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry opted for a pair with a white trim at the Somme Centenary commemorations in France, and William and Kate were seen sheltering underneath a black-trimmed one on the red carpet at the War Horse premiere in 2012.

Hello! sat down with Nigel Fulton, CEO of Fulton Umbrellas, at the iconic Goring Hotel near Buckingham Palace to find out more about the Queen's favourite wet-weather accessory...


Prince William and Kate Middleton on red carpet while William is seen holding up an umbrella
William and Kate carrying a birdcage umbrella at the War Horse premiere in 2012

At the start of each season, Nigel is approached by the Queen's personal assistant and senior dresser Angela Kelly, to design bespoke brollies for the monarch. Her Majesty favours the transparent birdcage style, a love she inherited from the Queen Mother who was the first royal to carry a Fulton umbrella.


"The Queen's senior dresser usually sends us swatches of material or colour chips for us to match the coloured border on the birdcage umbrellas," said Nigel. "We then produce samples for their approval and if no further changes are needed we make up the finished umbrellas.

The Queen is holding a purple trim umbrella to match her purple ensemble
The Queen's umbrellas are bespoke and not part of the regular collection

"Everything we produce for the Queen is bespoke. The specifications are slightly different and the colours are unique and they do not form part of our regular collection."

The coloured border on the Queen's umbrellas is actually thinner than the regular birdcage brollies, so that she is more visible to wellwishers.

The Queen is holding a green trim umbrella to match her green ensemble
"It's such an honour to supply umbrellas to the royal family," said CEO Nigel Fulton

Fulton Umbrellas has held a royal warrant to the Queen, and previously the Queen Mother, for years. So is it still exciting to see members of the royal family carrying a birdcage?

"Very much so!" said Nigel, whose father Arnold Fulton set up the business in Whitechapel in 1956. "It's such an honour to supply umbrellas to the royal family and our usage seems to be getting wider every year."

Nigel added that the royal warrant has had "a huge impact on sales," which is particularly noticeable in their overseas markets such as Canada, where the royals have a huge following.

A highlight of his career was in 2009 when Nigel welcomed the Queen and Prince Philip to Fulton's premises in Canary Wharf. "They were both absolutely charming and so genuinely interested in making umbrellas," said Nigel.

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