Foreword by Her Majesty The Queen

A couple of days after the Royal Wedding last year, we got a phone call that made us stand up and almost salute

It was from a captain of the Household Cavalry asking for details about publishing a book about the regiment, using some unique photography they had of the Royal Wedding and from behind the scenes. After picking ourselves up from the floor, and not quite knowing whether the enquiry was genuine, we responded with suggestions, ideas, a proposal and then a meeting – just to chat and offer an insight into the process of independent publishing for the Household Cavalry to raise money on book sales for their new charity.


Then it was summer and all went quiet, and it was not until the autumn when this was back on their agenda, and the line of enquiry had been upped a notch or two in terms of importance and urgency.

At this stage the Household Cavalry had just about every publisher in the country knocking on their door in pursuit of this unique opportunity. But not many of those could offer what we could, which is a truly comprehensive, cost effective and personal publishing service that includes professional photography, experienced design, marketing expertise, publishing know how, print and print management, project management with ultimate flexibility, on their terms, and most importantly, to produce a substantial and sumptuous book, in keeping with their exceptional standards and meet, if not surpass, their expectations, that would have the potential to generate an enormous amount of money for charity. We knew we could deliver this – what we had to do was prove it to the Household Cavalry.

We worked with the Commanding Officer and one other officer initially, in pulling together and fine-tuning a brief, specifications, costings and schedule of works that would form the basis of our contract; it wasn’t until the CO signed the contract at the beginning of 2012 that we were officially assigned to the job.

An ‘Opps’ room was established at the barracks in Knightsbridge as our HQ, several officers were deployed on the project and our schedule was put into place.  The first, and most pressing job was to locate and collate photography of events since, and including the Royal Wedding, and to ensure all future events the Cavalry were engaged in were covered by at least one professional photographer, which meant either ourselves or freelancer, Julian Calder, who had been covering HCav. and Royal events for the last 25 years.

Our role wasn’t passive, i.e. obtain the files, lay them out and print them; we had to lead the project, often dragging the team to deadlines and decisions. We had to remain focused and diligent, and take responsibility, ensuring that all the Ts were crossed and Is dotted at every stage. Furthermore, we had to work with an organisation, its decision makers and officers that quite possibly has one of the highest profiles and pedigrees in the country.

Print and print management is a crucial aspect of any production and in this case required endless discussion, investigation and testing to find the optimum specification, process and materials to produce a book of high quality that also represented good value. Whilst for a print job of this size, the Far East might be the immediate place to go, it was important for us to be able to work closely and in collaboration with a printer; already having an excellent working relationship with a company in Northern Ireland, allowed us to develop the product with confidence.

Like any project or plan, things get done and ticked off when everyone is happy: concepts, design, layout; photographic selection, editing, shoots; writing, captions, copy editing, proofing; amends, corrections, amends, corrections; intro, foreword, credits; colours, papers, materials; covers, endpapers, dust jacket; funding, sponsorship, endorsements, partners; acknowledgements; more amends, corrections, amends, corrections; marketing, distribution, sales. It was through a lot of hard work from ourselves, traveling up to Knightsbridge for meetings and photo shoots, plus from the dedicated officers at the other end that we pulled the book together, and it was through organisation and effective communication that the project went according to a well devised and executed plan.

Whilst the experience initially felt a bit like a ‘David and Goliath’ type scenario, it is evident that being able, skilled, flexible, willing, intelligent, enthusiastic, mature and ‘can do’ professionals is actually what makes ‘Goliath’.

10,000 books have been delivered to the Household Cavalry designed by 131 Design, on time, on budget, exceeding expectations by our sister company, Tricorn Books.