There’s more to royal London these days than Changing the Guard and Trooping the Colour. Today’s young socialites know how to have a good time, making the most of the capital’s best shopping, wining and dining opportunities.
Now, you can experience the city in style, too, with the help of our regal guide.
Where to stay
The Duchess of Cambridge spent her last night as a single woman at Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Goring before marrying Prince William in 2011. Kate Middleton, as she was known then, stayed in the Royal Suite at the luxurious Belgravia establishment, a two-bedroom apartment that was unveiled as part of the hotel’s centennial celebrations, also in 2011.
Who knows whether the future queen of England tickled the ivories of the suite’s grand piano, took in the view of the hotel’s gardens from the private balcony or raided the decanter bar during her stay, but she must have been tempted — it’s that kind of place.
And you’ll see for yourself once the 1,482-square-foot suite is all yours for a long weekend.
What to do
The Duchess isn’t the first beautiful young princess to wow the world with her fashion choices. William’s late mother, Princess Diana, who died 20 years ago this year, is being celebrated in “Diana: Her Fashion Story,” a new exhibition at Kensington Palace.
The show (which runs to 2018) traces the evolution of her style, from blushing bride to confident, media-savvy People’s Princess, via no-nonsense business suits, demure formalwear and the iconic blue velvet Victor Edelstein evening gown she wore when she danced with John Travolta on a visit to the White House in 1985.
Where to shop
The Duchess’ style choices have been closely monitored — and applauded — since she and Prince William started dating while students at the University of St Andrews in 2003.
She’s a champion of elegant British designers, including Alice Temperley, whom she wore at a gala at the National Portrait Gallery in March; the high street store L.K. Bennett, whose nude pumps are a particular favorite; and ethical designer Beulah London. Alice Temperley and Beulah both have area boutiques, and you’ll find L.K. Bennett stores across the capital as well.
Prince William, meanwhile, is less of a trendsetter than his better half, yet he always looks stylish in his informal “uniform” of slacks, a button-down shirt and sweater.
Head to J. Crew’s London flagship store on Regent Street for the essential elements of his signature look. You can pick up a classic weather-proof jacket, one of William’s go-to’s, from Barbour. And when it comes to more formal attire, the Duke loves fitted suits from Savile Row tailor Gieves & Hawkes.
Where to eat
When Prince Harry’s American girlfriend Meghan Markle was visiting this winter, he took her to The Sands End Pub and Kitchen in Fulham. This simple place, with its mismatched furniture and countryside vibe, is owned by Harry’s pal Mark Dyer, a former royal equerry (aka senior attendant) who also owns The Brown Cow pub nearby.
The Sands End’s innovative kitchen delivers the sort of treats you don’t usually find on gastropub menus — think beef tataki with white truffle ponzu or roasted cod with glazed hispi cabbage.
Where to party
The young royals tend to favor private establishments when it comes to partying, as you might imagine, but there are a few clubs and bars open to the rest of us where you’ve got a fair chance of bumping into Harry and his glamorous cousins, the princesses Beatrice and Eugenie (daughters of Prince Andrew).
Try Tonteria in Sloane Square, a tapas lounge and tequila joint owned by Guy Pelly, a close friend of the princes and godfather to little Prince George.
Maggie’s Club, a 1980s-themed disco in Chelsea that has its tongue firmly in its cheek, is another good bet.