London party

King Charles’ London, from Jermyn Street shirts to a party at White’s


harles Philip Arthur George Mountbatten-Windsor – or King Charles III as he is now – is one of us, born at Buckingham Palace in 1948.

No wonder his name adorns quite a few pubs across the city, and even a cinema – although the Prince Charles Cinema just off Leicester Square has played host to cinema royalty (it’s said to be the place favorite of Quentin Tarantino), it doesn’t seem to have much to do with the King himself.

Yet many other places claim their links to our monarch, and from high-end perfumers to a Punjabi location in Southall, these are the places in London that shaped King Charles III and inform the new Carolean era – and give a fore – taste of the royal lifestyle.

Royal residences

Res: Clarence House

/ Pennsylvania

While the King is most at home at Highgrove, the Georgian home and Gloucestershire estate he has owned since 1980, Buckingham Place became his official residence on the death of Queen Elizabeth II. However, while the King will carry out official duties at the palace, a decade-long £369million renovation project to adapt the palace to the 21st century means Charles and Camilla are unlikely to move in anytime soon – this despite the location having every conceivable amenity, from a post office and cinema to a swimming pool and doctor’s office, as well as the largest private garden in London. It even has its own ATM – installed by Coutts, no less.

Nonetheless, it is believed the couple will remain at Clarence House in St James, which served as Prince Charles’ official residence from 2003 until he came to the throne. Clarence House is a relatively modest five-bedroom mansion, built to plans by Regency architect John Nash, restored after wartime bombings in the 1940s and refurbished to the tune of £4.5million when Prince Charles moved in 2003.

Charles, however, was no stranger to Clarence House. He lived there as a child with Prince Phillip and Princess Elizabeth before she became Queen while his beloved grandmother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, lived at Clarence House from 1953 until her death in 2002. The house is usually open to the public in August and contains pieces from Charles’ art collection as well as many family photos.

The king’s other London residences include Kensington Palace, where he lived with Princess Diana, and York House at St James’ Palace, where he moved at the end of his first marriage.

Royal evenings

Palatial splendor at The Ritz Restaurant

/ Press kit

Being heir to the throne for 73 years understandably restricted the king’s freedom to make the most of London’s nightlife. Charles was due to spend his bachelor party at Julie’s, the Holland Park restaurant which hosted the stag of Princess Anne’s first husband, Captain Mark Phillips eight years earlier. Charles’ plans were dashed when the press discovered him and the shindig was transferred to White’s, London’s oldest gentlemen’s club and where the King and Prince William are members. Annabel’s, the private club in Berkeley Square, was another of the king’s favorites during his princely party days of the 70s and 80s.

These days, the King reasonably prefers not to stray too far from home when in London. Charles chose the Ritz Hotel, minutes from Clarence House, as the venue to go public with his romance with Camilla in 1999 while attending the 50e birthday party of his sister Annabel Elliot, the interior designer. The future king was last spotted at the hotel in 2020, bumping elbows with a group of guests celebrating a 50e anniversary while paying tribute to the resilience shown by the hospitality industry during the pandemic. The king’s taste, however, is not that high end. His favorite London restaurant is said to be Brilliant, Southall Punjabi where he attended a Diwali celebration with Camilla in 2007.

Food and drink fit for a king

Raise a glass of champagne to the King at Bollinger Bar

/ Press kit

There are many rumors surrounding Prince Charles’ eating habits, including that he selects his boiled egg for breakfast from a list of seven presented. (That’s sadly not true, according to former Charles chef Darren McGrady, who says the king eats a breakfast of fruit, seeds and tea before skipping lunch.)

What is beyond doubt is that the King has been an active supporter of organic food production since the 1980s and, while Highgrove apple juice and Sandringham turkey are served to guests at the palace from Buckingham, a trip to your local branch of Waitrose is probably a more accessible way to sample the fruits of its labor.

Charles founded Duchy Organics in 1990 with the launch of an Oaten Biscuit – not “the oats”, note – and the company partnered with Britain’s fanciest supermarket in 2010. Over the 12 years which followed, Waitrose Duchy Organic, as the range is now called, raised more than £30million for the Prince of Wales Charity Fund.

Not everything is so worthy, however. The Royal Cellars house a wine collection estimated at £2 million. The Registrar of the Royal Cellars is Simon Berry, the former chairman of Berry Bros & Rudd, the UK’s oldest wine merchants, which is across the road from St James’s Palace. What to choose ? Given that Camilla is chair of Wines of Great Britain, a bottle of Hambledon English sparkling wine (£25.95) would be a good cry.

Bollinger provided the wine for Charles’ wedding to Lady Diana Spencer; the Bollinger Bar in the Burlington Arcade is the perfect place to explore the champagne house’s cuvées and raise a glass of champagne to toast the king and queen consort. Prefer something stronger? Laphroaig, Charles’ favorite Islay distillery, has been bottling whiskey for the king since the 1990s; Hedonism Wines in Mayfair has a bottle of Laphroaig Highgrove 1991 for £675.

But while one would assume that a flask of Highgrove whiskey would be what the King packs when on the move, Charles apparently never travels without the ingredients for a Martini, carried in a special briefcase by his agent. protection to prevent the drink from being spiked. The King prefers a wet martini that is 50/50 gin and vermouth; Organic Juniper Green holds a royal warrant, although a bottle of Buckingham Palace Gin, launched by his mother in 2020 and made with plants grown in the gardens of Buck House, might be easier for Charles to find.

Royal Strike

King of Fashion: Charles with Stella McCartney

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Like his mother, King Charles has become a surprising style icon by never following trends – either that or he’s proof of the old adage that if you wait long enough, eventually everything comes back into fashion. As Charles said at London Men’s Fashion Week at St James’s Palace in 2012: “I went from best dressed man to worst dressed man. During this time, I continued, like a stopped clock, and my time returns every 25 years.

The King prefers double-breasted suits from Savile Row (Gieves & Hawkes and Ede & Ravenscroft are favourites), shoes from Jermyn Street (Tricker’s, Crockett & Jones, John Lobb) — and if you believe the rumors, tied with laces steamed by his valet. Its shirts are also from Jermyn Street, handcrafted by Turnbull & Asser, while the cashmere is woven by Johnstons of Elgin (handy for Balmoral, but also on Bond Street).

Of course, none of these come cheap, but considering Charles has been wearing the same Anderson & Sheppard overcoat since 1986, they’ve proven to be investments.

To ensure it smells as good as it looks, the King could opt for a spray of Highgrove Bouquet (£155) from Penhaligon’s. The royal warrant holder’s new fragrance is inspired by summers in the gardens of Highgrove House, although the king’s signature scent is actually Creed’s Green Irish Tweed (from £185).

The great outdoors

The Queen presents Prince Charles with the second prize during the Silver Jubilee Cup match at Guards Polo Club in 1988

/ PA Archives

King Charles transformed the once overgrown gardens of Highgrove into an organic showcase of rare trees and flowers that attract 30,000 visitors a year (along with the birds and wildlife that call it home). The gardens of Buckingham Palace are open to the public in summer but, all year round, the green-fingered king is patron of the Garden Museum in Lambeth, the world’s first museum dedicated to the history of gardens which has a café rather lovely.

The museum was opened in 1977; Chelsea Physic Garden, of which the King is also a patron, is somewhat older, having been founded in 1673. Today its purpose is to promote the value of plants to humanity and, at least, meander along of its gravel walkways or a seat on a shady bench should convince anyone of Charles’ belief in the importance of spending time in nature.

Famously, the King is just as happy to look at landscapes as he transforms them and is said to have taken his own paintings from the Scottish Highlands to decorate his bedroom when he travels. Winsor & Newton, sold in Cass Art’s six London shops, provides her with artist materials if you want to try your hand at watercolour.

Shooting, one of the King’s other favorite outdoor pursuits, is harder to attempt outside in London, but if an invitation to a weekend in the countryside comes your way, Holland and Holland and James Purdey both have warrants to supply Charles with weapons. And although his polo days are behind him, Guards Polo Club, Windsor Great Park was the site of some of Charles’ greatest triumphs on horseback, a fact commemorated by the annual Duke of Cornwall Trophy held in August. Who knows? You might meet your own prince.