The formative period for building character for eternity is in the nursery. The mother is queen of that realm and sways a scepter more potent than that of kings or priests. ~Author Unknown
With Mothering Sunday fast approaching, Royal Central does the legwork for you: We are pleased to propose a number of distinguished venues and treats that are sure to give Mum the royal treatment she truly deserves…
… A DAY AT THE PALACE
Mother’s Day Georgian Tea Party at Kensington Palace
30 March 2014
On Mother’s Day, Kensington Palace is pleased to celebrate mums in grand Georgian style! Stroll through the splendid Palace Gardens before taking in the lavish interiors of the Palace itself. Be moved as you wander through the rooms that sheltered Queen Victoria’s lonely childhood, her first moments as Queen, her grief upon losing her beloved Albert, all adorned in vivid detail in the Victoria Revealed exhibit. Feast your eyes at the Fashion Rules exhibit as you take a nostalgic peak into the closets of three of the most fashionable women of modern times: Her Majesty The Queen, her sister Princess Margaret and the young Diana, Princess of Wales.
Mums are then invited to partake in special ‘ladylike pursuits‘ at the Palace including the making of paper flowers (like the ones on display) and an authentic Georgian Tea Party for the occasion. Not included in the entrance fee: Sweet indulgence in a sumptuous lunch menu at the Palace’s 18th-century Orangery for its own special Mother’s Day celebration.
Palace admission tickets may be ordered here.
Florimania at Hampton Court Palace
From 28 March 2014 to 30 March 2014
Spring reigns supreme on this much anticipated annual floral extravaganza weekend at Hampton Court Palace! Along with the Glorious Georges exhibits which celebrate George I’s ascension to the British throne, Florimania indulges the senses as it recreates the stunning floral displays of the time. Mums can witness their creation through daily flower arranging demonstrations at 11.30am, 1pm and 2.30pm, before taking in the magnificent 60-acre stately gardens, and relishing in the opulent living quarters of George I.
This exhibit is included in the Palace admission fee. Tickets may be ordered here.
… AFTERNOON TEA WHERE THE ROYALS HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO TREAD
75 Sloane Street, Knightsbridge, London
Located in the heart of London, alongside designer boutiques such as Chanel, Gucci, Prada and Hermes, The Cadogan is the “epitome of genteel English luxury”. Its legendary walls have heard the whispers of such esteemed guests as The Queen Mother, Lord Cadogan, Oscar Wilde, King Edward VII and Lillie Langtry. Why not let Mum relax and indulge herself in the decadence and nostalgia of the past…
Mother’s Day sittings are at 1pm, 1.30pm, 2pm, 2.30pm, 3pm, 3.30pm, 4pm, 4.30pm, 5pm, 5.30pm and 6pm. Reservations can be made here.
The Claridge’s Hotel
Brook Street, Mayfair, London
Opulently decorated by a number of renowned designers including David Lindley, Diane von Furstenberg, and David Downton, this Art Deco styled hotel gives the Goring Hotel much competition when it comes to hosting aristocrats and Royals. It was such a favourite of Europe’s reigning families in fact that it was affectionately referred to as ‘the extension to Buckingham Palace’.
In 1860, Empress Eugenie of France made it her winter quarters, and enjoyed hosting Queen Victoria and Prince Albert for tea. Many an exiled king lived there, including the kings of Norway, Greece and Holland, King Manuel II of Portugal and King Alfonso XIII of Spain. Crown Prince Alexander II of Yugoslavia was born in Suite 212, with Yugoslavian earth placed beneath the bed so as to be able to say that he was born on Yugoslavian soil.
The Queen Mother’s favourite table in the restaurant is adorned with sweet peas on a daily basis, and the hotel has subsequently hosted The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh on hundreds of occasions, culminating in their selection of Claridge’s as the venue of choice for their ruby anniversary party. And when Dame Barbara Cartland came for tea, she had her secretary call in advance to make sure that her table linens matched her pink or turquoise outfit. If only these walls could talk…
Surrounded by towering Art Deco arches and pillars beneath an extravagant Dale Chihuly chandelier – a Medusa’s head comprised of 800 intertwined, frosted, blown glass snakes, afternoon tea in Claridge’s sumptuously elegant foyer will be a special treat for Mum who will be pampered, not only with the most scrumptious British delicacies, but also with “heart-shaped macaroons, a flower for each lady and petals on the table” to celebrate the occasion.
Daily sittings: 3:00pm, 3:30pm, 5:00pm or 5:30pm, and reservations may be made here.
The Goring Hotel
Beeston Place, London
Awarded the coveted Top London Afternoon Tea Award by the UK Tea Guild, The Goring Hotel is the quintessential royal hotel. Built in 1910, the last to be built during the reign of Edward VII, it was the first hotel in the world to provide ensuite bathrooms and central heating. The Allied War Effort was run from its kitchen during WWI; and its famous residents have included Lady Randolph Churchill, mother of Sir Winston Churchill, and Queen Mary’s lady-in-waiting, The Hon. Violet D’Arcy, whom she often visited for tea.
It is, however, its unprecedented number of royal guests which make this hotel the ultimate royal jaunt. The Goring has hosted The Crown Prince & Princess of Norway during the Coronation of King George Vl; The Crown Prince of Sweden; The Grand Duchess Xenia of Russia; Princess Eugenie of Greece; The Prince of Denmark, The Prince & Princess Charles of Lichtenstein, and several members of the Royal Family of Greece for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II; Princess Kitiyahara of Thailand; the Royal Family of Nepal; Baroness Thatcher; Baron Callaghan; Sarah, Duchess of York; and most recently, the former Kate Middleton on the eve of her wedding to Prince William.
The Goring was the Queen Mother’s favourite hotel, and she and The King enjoyed sausages and scrambled eggs here with the Princesses. Years later, The Goring’s Escoffier-trained pastry chefs would be commissioned by a grown-up Princess Elizabeth to provide the cake at her son Prince Charles’s christening. Not only did owner George Goring receive an O.B.E. from Her Majesty The Queen for “services to the hotel industry”, but The Goring received further recognition when it was granted a Royal Warrant for Hospitality Services by The Queen in 2013.
For a most regal afternoon tea that is sure to impress any mum, reservations can be made here. Afternoon Tea is served daily from 3:00pm – 4:30pm.
The Ritz Hotel
150 Piccadilly, St James’s, London
Luxury, sophistication, formality, such are the benchmarks which elevate this London landmark among the world’s greatest hotels. How better to pamper Mum than by having afternoon tea in opulent Louis XVI luxury, amidst the sparkling chandeliers, elegant marble columns and gilded trellises that combine so splendidly with the gold, pale green and pale pink shades of the Palm Court. Waiters dressed in tails expertly pour the tea while a pianist and a harpist delight hotel guests with soothing music. What a treat it is to enjoy the same indulgence that once delighted King Edward VII, Winston Churchill, Charles De Gaulle and the “regular stream or royal, aristocratic and noble visitors”. A special treat awaits mums on their special day as a Bellini Cocktail will be served alongside the afternoon tea, and teddy bears given to the children.
Sittings include 11:30am, 1:30pm, 3:30pm, 5:30pm, 7:30pm, and reservations can be made here.
The Wolseley Restaurant and Grand Café
160 Piccadilly, London
Located in St James’ on London’s famous Piccadilly Boulevard, this elegant café-restaurant boasts an impressive Grade II Listed interior, complete with towering pillars, arches and stairways inspired by Venetian and Florentine architecture. Whether for The Wolseley’s famous breakfast or for its afternoon tea, many celebrities including Sarah, Duchess of York and supermodel Lily Cole have been known to nibble on their delicate scones, pastries and cakes which might include a Battenberg or Sachertorte…
Sittings are from 3:30pm – 6:30pm. You may book a reservation here.
The Vogue Festival 2014 – Talk given by Sarah Burton who designed The Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress
Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London.
March 30, from 4:30pm – 5:30pm
“Want To Work In Fashion? Vogue’s Fashion Masterclass”
According to the Vogue Festival website,
“Lisa Armstrong, fashion editor of The Telegraph; Sarah Burton, creative director at Alexander McQueen; Daniel Marks, director of The Communications Store; Alexandra Shulman, editor of Vogue; and Louise Wilson, course director at Central Saint Martins, offer personal insights in how to break into their industries. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get advice from the experts on how to follow in their footsteps – and ask the question that could kick-start your career. “
Tickets can be ordered online here.
… FROM THE PURVEYORS OF THE CROWN
Her Majesty’s favourite truffles…
14 Princes Arcade, St James’s, London
Who could resist chocolate truffles from Her Majesty’s official purveyor of fine chocolates? Established in 1902 by French émigré and proficient Napoleon III chocolatier Antoine Dufour – and named after his wife’s beloved little cousin Pierre Prestat – the company is renowned for its lightly cocoa-dusted truffles… In fact, the humble chocolate truffle originated from the Dufour family who created them in 1895.
When Bill Keeling and his half-brother Nick Crean acquired Prestat in 1998, they became privy to Dufour’s extensive collection of recipes, many belonging to the French Court, including recipes for chocolate caramels, coffee caramels, Turkish Delight, chocolate fudge, violet fondant, rose fondant and, of course, chocolate truffles.
He created a special type of inverted violet crème for actress Sarah Bernhardt, and gained Charlie and the Chocolate Factory author, Roald Dahl, as a fan. Dahl became such a fan that his novel My Uncle Oswald was entirely centred on Prestat Truffles.
Prestat’s iconic gilt-embossed packaging is reminiscent of its royal connections which have included Diana, Princess of Wales, “kings and queens, sultans and maharajas, princesses and presidents, stars of stage and screen”. It was in 1975, its handmade chocolates and truffles having long indulged royal guests worldwide aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia, that the chocolate company received the extraordinary privilege of being awarded a Royal Warrant by Queen Elizabeth II. Such good fortune was to happen again not once, but twice when The Queen Mother awarded them her own Royal Warrant in her centenary year.
Prestat chocolates can be found at the current flagship store at Princes Arcade, Piccadilly, at its concession within the Chocolate Hall of Harrods at 87-135 Brompton Rd, Knightsbridge, London, or online here.
... Fragrances from the Barber and Perfumer of the Royal Court
41 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, London
Founded in 1867 by William Henry Penhaligon, Barber and Perfumer to Queen Victoria, the Penhaligon brand is synonymous with British tradition, exclusivity, and unmatched quality and refinement. Its 140-year royal history has served it well as its clientèle continues to be found in the highest echelons of high society and aristocracy.
Signature fragrances include Hammam Bouquet, created in 1872 for Mr. Penhaligon’s refined high society patrons at the famous Hammam Turkish Baths. Another is Sir Winston Churchill’s favourite, the Edwardian classic Blenheim Bouquet with notes of lavendar, pine, and lime, created in 1902 for the Duke of Marlborough. “Blenheim Palace was the ancestral seat of the Duke of Marlborough and Churchill’s birthplace.” It also happens to be one of Prince William’s favourites too! Bluebell was said to be former British Prime Minister’s signature fragrance, and part of Diana, Princess of Wales’s collection.
The holder of two standing coveted Royal Warrants, Penhaligon’s is royal purveyor to The Duke of Edinburgh and The Prince of Wales. The perfume company’s first Royal Warrant was awarded by Queen Alexandra in 1903.
Wrapped ever so exquisitely, their regal contents blending a mixture of the most rare ingredients “such as hand-squeezed oil of bergamot and jasmine oil – weighing in at twice the price of gold”, these fine English fragrances would provide the perfect royal present for the queens in our lives… They can be found in exclusive, fine stores and online here.
… Flowers from the floral purveyor to Sarah Ferguson’s wedding to the Duke of York…
Jane Packer Flowers
32-34 New Cavendish Street, Marylebone, London
The late Jane Packer’s vision of her creations as fashion collections was at the very heart of her style which she embued with great passion in all her creations with flair, boldness and wit. She once said,
“We consider ourselves a brand in the interiors/fashion market rather than just a flower shop, the same as, say, Tiffany or Gucci. If something arrives in a Tiffany box or a Gucci bag, you know someone’s gone the extra mile, and that’s how we see ourselves in the flower world and how we want the business to develop.”
… And she has accomplished that goal in spades. Her company, now led by her husband, boasts an impressive clientèle which includes Sarah, Duchess of York, The Duchess of Cornwall, Victoria Beckham, Kate Moss, Gordon Ramsey, Madonna, John Galliano, Donna Karan and Heston Blumenthal, to name a few.
You may wish to order her Mother’s Day creations here.
… Toiletries and remedies from Her Majesty’s private, country estate at Sandringham
Lavender… Its fresh, clean, crisp scent…
Now imagine rows upon rows of varying hues of purple, and fields upon fields of over 100 different varieties of this multipurpose medicinal wonder.
Consider next, if you will, that one company has the privilege of growing these awe-inspiring fields on the very grounds of HM The Queen’s own private country estate of Sandringham.
Established in 1932, Norfolk Lavender has been awarded a royal warrant by appointment to HRH The Prince of Wales by virtue of its world-renowned standards of excellence, and is England’s premier lavender farm.
The brand’s use of traditional methods of extraction through steam distillation produces a highly prized essential oil capable of retaining its vital antioxidants. Furthermore, most of Norfolk Lavender’s products are guaranteed to be completely SLS (Sodium lauryl Ether Sulphate) and Paraben free.
How honoured would Mum be to receive a gift basket of such wholesome and prestigious toiletries?
Take a peak at the company’s various collections of products, including pure English lavender essential oil, bath soaps, lotions, cologne, stress relief gel, dried lavender bunches, and vibrant live plants for Mum to begin her very own lavender garden, <strong><a href=”http://www.norfolk-lavender.co.uk/shop/” target=”_blank”>here</a>.</strong>
… Artisan cheeses from royal purveyors who date back to 1742.
Paxton & Whitfield Ltd
93 Jermyn Street, London
Celebrating our mums need not involve stepping outside, and fighting the crowds. In fact, a special Mother’s Day feast, complete with fine libations and a distinguished selection of fragrant artisan cheeses can be just what the doctor ordered!
As one of England’s oldest and finest cheesemongers, Paxton and Whitfield have a prominent and longstanding history with the British Monarchy. They received their first of eight royal warrants by appointment to HM Queen Victoria in 1850, followed by subsequent ones to HM King Edward VII, HM King George V, HM King George VI and HM Queen Elizabeth, and The Queen Mother. Today, Paxton & Whitfield are the proud recipients of royal warrants by appointment to HM The Queen, and HRH The Prince of Wales.
Winston Churchill famously gave his stamp of approval when he said, “A gentleman buys his hats at Locks, his shoes at Lobbs, his shirts at Harvey & Hudson, his suits at Huntsman and his cheese at Paxton & Whitfield.”
The distinguished cheesemongers’s fine assortment of cheeses and delicacies can be found at their flagship store on Jermyn Street, their other location at 13 Wood Street, Stratford-upon-avon, Parisian Fromagerie Androuet, Harvey Nichols, John Lewis Food Halls, Harrods and online. Click here for ordering online and picking up.
You can read more about visiting London here.
As most venues sell out quickly, may we suggest that you book your tickets early. On behalf of all of us at Royal Central, we wish all mothers a most regal and joyous Mother’s Day.
photo credits: courtesy of Historical Royal Palaces, The Goring Hotel