BATH, England — Lovehoney’s co-owners Richard Longhurst and Neal Slateford have returned to their Bath headquarters after a reception hosted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
Longhurst and Slateford met the Queen, Prince Philip and other senior royals at a celebration for Queen’s Award winners on July 14, the company reports.
Lovehoney received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade for outstanding growth in overseas sales over the last three years.
The award — described as “the highest accolade for business success” — allows Lovehoney to use The Queen’s Award emblem in advertising, marketing and on packaging for a period of five years as a symbol of quality and success.
Slateford said, “It’s a huge privilege for Lovehoney to be honored by the Queen. The Queen is Britain’s greatest trade ambassador and consumers trust a brand with her patronage. It just shows how far we have come as a company and how sex toys are becoming more and more mainstream.”
While at the palace, Slateford and Longhurst said they spoke with a number of royals and enjoyed meeting fellow Queen’s Award winners from across the country.
Slateford added, “We said hello to the Queen, and thanked her for having us over. We mentioned to The Duke of Edinburgh that we were in the sexual wellbeing business. He nodded and smiled, swiftly made his excuses and moved on.
“Richard was just happy to meet a real Princess (Princess Michael of Kent), as he’s met all the ones at Disneyland already.”
The pair started selling sex toys online 14 years ago, with stock kept under Longhurst’s bed, and now run a booming international company that holds the worldwide license to manufacture the official Fifty Shades of Grey sex products. The company employs more than 200 people at its Locksbrook Road headquarters.
The Sunday Times recently featured Lovehoney as one of Britain’s top 100 most profitable private companies after the company’s profits rose 79 percent last year to £3.7 million.