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Take a leaf out of the Queen’s style book and keep the winter chill at bay with a brightly-coloured cashmere rug says Hugh St Clair

Written by Hugh St Clair

The Queen knows how to keep warm in style during the bitter cold weather. En route to plant a tree as part of her Jubilee celebrations a few weeks ago, she was photographed wearing a scarlet coat with a smart sky-blue rug draped over her knees. A plain-coloured rug was a diplomatic choice – it showed no partisan loyalty to Welsh or Scottish weavers whose check and tartan rugs are very distinctive.

Brora, once a small Scottish company, now has 14 shops across the United Kingdom specialising in cashmere, and makes a rug very similar to the one the Queen was wearing. As well as blue, Brora offers a purple one too.

Alternatively, she could have chosen a plain scarlet or pale blue wool rug from Jane Beck at the online shop Welsh Blankets. She sells all kinds of Welsh blankets that can be used on beds, for picnics or just packing in the car in case you get stuck somewhere in this wintry weather. Her rugs come in every colour including original designs from the 1950s and designs based on plants in the Cambrian hills.

Melin Tregwynt is based in Wales and has designed rugs with modern patterns woven with the St David’s Cross in a
number of colours.

In Edinburgh, Tartan Rugs is a mail-order business that sells selected rugs in tartan from Scottish families such as the Andersons, the Buchanans, the Lindsays and the Black Watch Regiment. They do special small rugs just for the knees.

Even if a good-quality rug seems expensive, it is likely to become an heirloom. I still use a tartan rug that belonged to my grandparents and is at least 75 years old. I took it all round India in my gap year and it came in very useful when sleeping on trains or in a cheap hotel with minimal bedding.

Brora: 0845-659 9944,

Jane Beck at Welsh Blankets: 01570-493149, www.

Melin Tregwynt: 01348-891644,

Tartan Rugs: 0131-557 5814,

Email your interior design enquiries to Hugh St Clair at

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