Destinations / JOURNEY
of seal of approval from Queen Elizabeth, the Duke of
Edinburgh or the Prince of Wales (or sometimes all three);
a merchant is required to sell to the royal household for at
least five years before applying for the imprimatur.
London’s oldest bookseller, Hatchards ( hatchards.co.uk),
claims Queen Charlotte, wife of George III, as one of its
earliest customers, as well as the triple crown of current
royal warrants. Looking around at its overflowing shelves
of signed first editions, art books and historical reprints,
among other literary treasures, I was struck by the thought
that a shared love of reading — or at least the power of books
to distract spouses from each other’s foibles — might be one
reason Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s marriage has
lasted more than 70 years.
Founded in 1707, Fortnum & Mason (fortnumandmason.
com) offers six spectacular floors of food halls, gifts, restau-
rants and bars in its complex between Piccadilly and Jermyn
Street. Prince Charles’ warrant applies specifically to its teas,
including some 130 loose-leaf varieties in a rainbow of pastel-
colored tins lining apothecary shelves; clerks measure the
tea carefully using vintage metal scales before sealing them
in an airtight bag. I sniffed several samples at a display that
includes Wedding Breakfast, a Kenyan tea blend created in
2011 to celebrate the engagement of Prince William and Kate
Middleton, after his proposal to her in Kenya.
Fortnum & Mason has also formulated teas in Queen
Elizabeth’s honor, including the “smoky, delicate” 2012 Jubilee
and the “brisk, refreshing” 2016 Queen’s Blend, but I was curious about her favorites in the store’s vast confectionary cases,
covered by her royal warrant for groceries and provisions.
Apparently the queen delights in the store’s chocolate-cov-ered rose and violet creams, according to a helpful clerk, who
allowed me to sample one of the flowery bonbons just before
noting that most people don’t share the sovereign’s taste.
I also appreciate rose more as a fragrance than a flavor,
but fortunately there was plenty of the former to enjoy at
Floris, which also holds royal warrants from the queen and
her eldest son. Dukes London can arrange a behind-the-scenes tour of the perfume shop, founded by Spaniard Juan
Famenias Floris and his wife Elizabeth in 1730, or set up a
custom fragrance-making session, both led by Italian perfumer Nicola Pozzani.
Clockwise from top
left: The perfume
shop Floris; Clarence
House, home of
Prince Charles; the
royal ledger at Floris.