The Queen has given her royal seal of approval to a jewellery business set up by a Fulham mum of four at a sparkling event at Buckingham Palace.
Merci Maman founder Béatrice de Montille met Her Majesty last week when she received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise.
Along with co-founder and husband Arnaud, the pair were invited to celebrate the company’s success at Buckingham Palace – and have a chat with the Queen about their venture.
“Meeting Her Majesty The Queen comes as an amazing 10th year anniversary gift, a milestone that the business will be celebrating in October this year,” explained French-born Béatrice, who set up the personalised jewellery company from her kitchen table in Heathmans Road a decade ago.
“We were so touched by how much time the Queen spent with us and her interest in our story. It was such a memorable evening.”
The business stood out in the International Trade category of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise because of its growth in overseas earnings from zero to almost 35 per cent in the space of three years.
Now, Merci Maman – which translates as Thank you, Mum – employs 22 people in London, including UK managing director Clémence Jamet, and another three in Paris.
Fans include the Duchess of Cambridge, who wears a Merci Maman necklace engraved with her son Prince George’s name, given to her by her sister Pippa Middleton.
The hand-engraved jewellery has also been worn by Autumn Phillips, Carla Bruni Sarkozy, Isabella Branson and Katie Piper.
“The award is a royal seal of approval for our entire team, a reward that encourages us and makes us want to grow further,” added Béatrice.
During the event on 11 July, Béatrice and Arnaud spent two hours at a prestigious reception at Buckingham Palace, having chance to speak one-on-one with the Queen and explore the stunning interiors of the Picture Gallery, the Music Room and the Blue and White Drawing Rooms.
The pair joined other winners from the 170 companies recognised in this year’s Queen’s Awards for Enterprise.
Showing a flair for language, the Queen shared a few words in French with Béatrice during their chat about the journey of Merci Maman.
“We are so honoured to receive this award and to be recognised by The Queen for our International Trade strategy,” said Béatrice.
Want to run your own business
You can learn more about how to run your own business one of 500 new part-time courses run by Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
From gaining project management skills to the basics of starting a business there are courses to suit all abilities and budgets.
Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s adult education prospectus is out now. The guide is available throughout the borough, including at Hammersmith Town Hall, the Macbeth Centre in Macbeth Street, 145 King Street, libraries, and job centres.