The Queen‘s bra fitter has been left ‘deeply hurt’ after being stripped of her royal warrant, in an apparent snub over a ‘tell-all’ about her life.
June Kenton, 82, whose former firm, Rigby & Peller, was first granted the coveted honour 57 years ago, and has personally held the Queen’s warrant since 1982, was dropped ‘like a stone’ by the monarch in July and despite pleas for an explanation hasn’t heard a word from the Royal Household since.
This has led to speculation that the 91-year-old monarch was offended by a book that Mrs Kenton, who worked her way up from a Brixton market to stall to become one of the most respected names in the lingerie world, wrote in 2016 entitled ‘Storm in a D-Cup’.
June Kenton says the Palace has overreacted to her book by removing the Royal Warrant from her former firm, luxury lingerie brand Rigby & Peller
In the book she wrote about fitting bras for a half-dressed Queen, who was surrounded by corgis.
She also talked about the late Queen Mother, who also awarded her a Royal Warrant, and detailed how Diana came for bra fittings and accepted posters of models in lingerie and swimwear for her sons, William and Harry.
Mrs Kenton said last night that she thought Buckingham Palace had ‘overreacted’.
‘We never come out of the fitting room talking about a customer, ever…let alone the Queen. I’ve never said one single word every time I’ve been about the Queen,’ she said.
It is thought the palace’s action may have reacted to a book written by Mrs Kenton in which she wrote about dressing the Queen
‘It is very sad for me that they didn’t like it and I’m finding that very difficult to accept. It’s horrible and a real shock.
‘I never ever thought when I was writing the book that it would upset anyone. I’ve had the royal warrant for so long I never imagined that this would happen.’
Her daughter, Jill Kenton, told the Mail: ‘I’m so sad for my mum, as she actually wrote the book for her children and grandchildren. We thought it was a lovely, colourful life story.
‘Unfortunately when we launched it, it was made out to be a kiss and tell, which it absolutely wasn’t.
‘When she was told that she had lost the warrant it was a huge shock, as my mother has been nothing but loyal throughout her whole career.
Her daughter added: ‘My mother would never have done anything to slate the Royal Family, ever. This has actually destroyed her.
‘After all these years working for the Queen, the Queen Mother – for whom she also had a royal warrant – Diana….it is heart-breaking.’
Mrs Kenton enjoyed a rags to riches story, starting off on a clothes still in Brixton Market.
Mrs Kenton said she the removal of the warrant was a ‘horrible and a real shock’ for her
In 1982 she bought struggling Rigby & Peller which, despite its royal warrant, was in dire financial straits.
She paid £20,000 for the name and after several interviews personally became official corsetiere to the Queen, as well as the Queen Mother the following year.
Other high profile clients included Margaret Thatcher and Lady Gaga.
Mrs Kenton turned the company into one of the leading lingerie retailers in the world, with bras selling for more than £100.
She eventually sold it to Belgian lingerie company Van de Velde for £8million in 2011, but retained a seat on the board and continued to fit the Queen personally at least three times a year.
Rigby & Peller’s flagship store in Kensington, West London, which will no longer be able to display the coat of arms
Her daughter said: ‘The book was about her life, from World War Two.
‘The Queen happened to enter her life and yes, she did mention her. There was no great personal detail included, yet somehow it’s been portrayed to be a kiss and tell like Paul Burrell did on Diana.
‘No-one from Buckingham Palace said a word to us at the time, no-one expressed any unhappiness.
‘She just got a letter out of the blue from the Royal Warrant Holders Association in July bluntly informing her that she wasn’t being granted a Royal Warrant any more.
Mrs Kenton’s book was published last year
‘This has all deeply hurt my mother, particularly the way it was done. She knows all the staff including Angela (Kelly) the Queen’s dresser. And all of a sudden the contact is dead….gone…’bye bye’.
‘There was no real explanation or anything. Not even a call or a letter. And after all these years of giving such amazing service.
‘If they were annoyed, why not just tell her? Why cut her off without a single word? ‘
Jill Kenton said her mother was already coping with the tragedy of her husband, Harold, who is suffering from dementia, and this had been further blow.
‘This is difficult for me to say, but I don’t want her to go with this,’ she said.
‘After all those years of hard work, it’s so sad. We are not attacking the Royal Family, we just find it all so strange.
‘Even if they [the royal household] felt she had betrayed them, she is an 82-year-old and deserves an explanation. It was a dead cut off – and that is so sad for my mum at her age. ‘
Last night Mrs Kenton, 82, told Mail Online: ‘The letter came out of the blue and was very upsetting at the time. I called the Royal Warrant Holders Association and tried to reason with them but they told me the order had come from the Lord Chamberlain [the head of the Queen’s household] and his word was God.
‘There was no point in me attempting to speak to the palace, as they had clearly made up their mind. I have a lovely family and am very proud of what I have achieved, so I am just going to try and move on with my life.’
Buckingham Palace said: ‘In respect of Royal Warrants, we never comment on individual companies.’
The Royal Warrant Holders Association said companies were granted a window in which to remove the royal coat of arms.
Rigby & Peller added in a statement: ‘The Royal Household Warrants Committee has decided to cancel the royal warrant granted to Rigby & Peller and Mrs June Kenton.
‘Rigby & Peller is deeply saddened by this decision and is not able to elaborate further on the cancellation out of respect for Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Warrant Holders Association.
‘However, the company will continue to provide an exemplary and discreet service to its clients.’