Q: We own a bed with a metal label on the headboard. The label says, “Made by Staples & Co. Ltd. by Royal Warrant.” There’s also a lion and unicorn crest and the words “Dieu et Mon Droit.” Can you tell me anything about the bed?
A: The label attests to the fact that Staples & Co., a British firm, has been a supplier of beds to the British royal family. The company was founded in 1895, when Englishman Ambrose Heal purchased rights to a U.S. patent for a spiral-spring mattress. King George V bought one of these mattresses in 1915 after his back was injured in a fall from a horse. The king granted the “royal warrant” in 1932, and every British monarch since then has renewed the warrant. Staples is still in business and, of course, uses the warrant in its ads. The French phrase, which literally translates to “God and my right,” is the motto of the British monarchy, and the crest is the royal coat of arms.