Bond Street: A Right Royal History
A Moment in History: Celebrating the Coronation of King Charles III on Bond Street
As the nation prepares to celebrate the crowning of His Majesty King Charles III on Saturday May 6, the world's eyes will be on London. All along Old and New Bond Street, visitors will be treated to an extravaganza of florals thanks to special coronation planters brimming with royal blue Senetti and white geraniums, while our world-class boutiques will be replacing their own flags with Union Jacks, as a mark of respect and jubilation for this landmark occasion. And where better to celebrate than here on Bond Street, where links to the Royal Family are embedded into the fabric of everyday life?
Majestic references are to be found at every turn, starting with The Royal Arcade. This stunning walkway connects Old Bond Street with Albemarle Street and Brown’s Hotel takes its ‘Royal’ name from Queen Victoria who would often visit. Then, there is the Royal Academy of Arts. Located in Burlington House, it has stood as a place where art is made, exhibited and debated since it was founded by George III in 1768. Today, this iconic gallery continues to attract visitors from far and wide to its annual Summer Exhibition, the largest open-submission art exhibition in the world.
Meanwhile, Bond Street and its neighbour St James’s, boasts more Royal Warrants than any other in the UK. Among them, Charbonnel et Walker, Britain's first chocolatier, takes prime position in The Royal Arcade. The partnership of Mrs Walker and Mme. Charbonnel began with the encouragement of Edward VII, the then Prince of Wales. He wasn’t the only Royal enthusiast. Neither Princess Margaret nor the Queen Mother could resist their chocolate peppermint creams.
And when it comes to fashion, The Royal Family were so admiring of Burberry’s tailoring and skill that both Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the then HRH The Prince of Wales granted them Royal Warrants in 1953 and 1990 respectively. With Coronation Day just around the corner, why not get in the spirit of things with the heritage brand's new Highgrove silk scarf?
Royal connections run deep among our celebrated jewellers. Tiffany & Co's links date back to 1860, when the Prince of Wales’ Newfoundland dog wore a Tiffany & Co sterling silver dog collar. But it was Queen Victoria who granted the jeweller its Royal Warrant in 1882.
Meanwhile, Cartier first came to London to dress guests attending the Coronation of Edward VII in 1902. In 1937, the jewellery house received an order for 27 tiaras to be worn at King George VI’s coronation. Taking pride of place in this collection was the Halo Tiara, purchased by the future king for his bride Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, who later became the Queen Mother. After being gifted to Princess Elizabeth on her 18th birthday, the tiara was later worn by Catherine Middleton at her wedding to Prince William in 2011.
Fast forward to today and New Bond Street jeweller, David Morris, will be marking the coronation with two one-of-a-kind pieces. The first, the Coronation Ring, takes its cue from the three colours of the Union Jack. The unisex design features a central 17.30-carat cushion cut blue spinel, surrounded by rows of dazzling diamonds and clusters of red spinels. While a rhodium-plated white gold tiara with a spray motif is set with more than 24 carats of rose-cut, pear-shaped diamonds in a wishbone style.
Elsewhere along the street, Boodles stunning Coronation Gemini Ring fuses two very special diamonds from the Cullinan Mine. With its delicate pave-set strands and references to spring flowers, the ring is a fitting tribute to a nature-loving monarch. It also marks a long history between the jeweller and the Royal Family dating back to 1934 when the current King's great-grandfather, King George V, visited Liverpool and commissioned the house to create a silver gilt switch box as a commemorative gift.
Boodles is also teaming up with Brown's Hotel for a delectable English Garden Afternoon Tea. The storied London hotel is, of course, steeped in royal history. Queen Victoria herself was believed to have taken tea here. In addition to finger sandwiches and pastries with fresh flowers, a delicate cake in the shape of a beehive will be drizzled with Highgrove Honey when served. Guests will also receive hand-painted postcards on which to write and congratulate the King before posting them in the pink Boodles' post-box located just inside the hotel entrance. All letters will be delivered to Buckingham Palace.
Letter writing will also feature in Smythson’s Coronation Day celebrations. At the New Bond Street flagship, poet Greta Bellamacina will pen a letter of congratulations to the new monarch, ahead of the opening of Smythson’s in-store writing station. Running from 28 April to 8 May, visitors will be invited to write their own well-wishes to His Majesty the King on complimentary Smythson stationery. All letters written in-store will later be shared with the palace.
Affectionately known as the 'annexe of Buckingham Palace', Claridge's will also be pulling out all the stops to ensure your Coronation Day sparkles with its new Painter's Room cocktail menu. Highlights include the Coronation Cocktail, featuring Dry Vermouth and a smidgen of orange bitters. Meanwhile, Claridge’s archivist Kate Hudson has scoured the hotel’s historical archives to unveil some of its most memorable royal moments and treasures. Showcased for all to see in Claridge’s Coronation Archive Windows, these precious mementoes include celebratory fans created by the hotel in 1911 for the coronation of King George V and Queen Mary, and Claridge’s menus and cocktail cards designed for the coronations of King George VI in 1937 and Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. Artist in Residence, David Downton, will also unveil a new colour portrait of King Charles III to sit in the hotel’s Talking Heads Gallery.
For the ultimate in royal regalia, Sotheby's New Bond Street's Coronation Sale celebrates over eight centuries of royal history and is packed with riches. Lots includes a series of heraldic manuscripts dating from 1568-80, a replica set of British crown jewels and a sketch of the young Prince of Wales by British portrait artist, Bryan Organ. Bidding is now open until May 4.
Finally, to learn more about Bond Street's royal heritage and its close connectivity with the British Royal Family, 'Bond Street A Right Royal History’ podcast, narrated by Poppy Delevingne recounts the history and the unique stories of many of the brands, institutions and iconic names associated with this renowned enclave of London. To listen, click here.