While you may be able to spot Kate and Pippa Middleton at some of London's swanky restaurants and boutique shops, most members of the royal family don't typically make their rounds in London's shopping circuit. Instead, a set of companies designated as Royal Warrant holders provide the royals with whatever goods or services they might need, whether it be groceries, household items or even jewelry.
These companies (currently, there are 850 total) must have served the British Royal Family for at least five years to gain the official Royal Warrant designation, making the distinctive Royal Warrant symbol a badge of honor and quality for royals and regular shoppers alike. Some of the Royal Warrant items are hard to come by, while others are easy to spot in any neighborhood grocery store. So what kind of goods do they provide, and how do average people find them?
Here are five places around London to find the Queen's favorite items:
This luxury perfumery and gift shop is the perfect place to shop for special occasions. All of the scents here are made in England using rare ingredients, and the boutique boasts a portfolio of 34 distinctive fragrances. The Duke of Edinburgh, also known as the Queen's husband Prince Philip, granted the Royal Warrant for this store in 1956.
Tourists stop in at Fortnum & Mason’s Picadilly store. (Photo: Britain on View/VisitBritain)Fortnum & Mason holds Royal Warrants that date back more than 150 years. When you're looking for gift baskets and specialty food items, head to this gourmet food and wine destination for a giant selection of tea, coffee, confectionery, groceries and gifts. Enjoy a traditional afternoon-tea experience fit for a queen at the newly built Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, opened by Her Majesty the Queen herself. The Piccadilly store is a destination in itself, boating six floors of fresh food, specialty goods and gifts.
Located right next to Fortnum and Mason, this is the oldest surviving bookshop in London and is the place to pick up all types of nonfiction books, paperback fiction and recommended titles that have made the store's Very Important Publications (VIP) list. The store also hosts book signings and other special events throughout the year.
This famous jeweler on New Bond Street in London's ritzy Mayfair district is the place to find some of the latest designer jewelry collections and luxury goods. Celebrities including Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have shopped here, and shoppers for the royal family head here to buy everything from timepieces and leather goods to fine jewelry and gift items.
When you need to round up some health food and groceries, head to one of the Waitrose stores that sell food from Duchy Originals. Prince Charles established Duchy Originals Limited back in 1990 to promote organic food and sustainable farming (proceeds go to charity). You can buy everything from preserves and dairy products, to fresh meats, poultry, and fish bearing the Duchy label and made with ingredients from his Highgrove House estate.
by Sabah Karimi