— DON - When three generations of royalty step out for a shop, they don’t go to just any store. For the first time, Queen Elizabeth II, Camilla, and Kate made an official visit together — and headed to the luxury London department store Fortnum and Mason, known locally as the queen’s grocer.
The three ladies, all wearing different shades of blue, arrived in the queen’s Rolls Royce and were greeted at the door by London Mayor Boris Johnson while musicians played in the background.
Fortnum and Mason, established in 1707, is a London landmark, with its cabinets of exotic teas and a café fit for, well, royalty.
While there, the women were given a tour of the food hall, where the queen inspected the honey and preserves, Camilla checked out the bakery and Kate took a look at the famous teas. The two duchesses then sampled sweets at the store’s confectionery department.
The three also met military personnel involved in the Gifts for Troops program, which sends packages to soldiers in Afghanistan. Lucky store staff members, as well as former workers from 60 years ago, were treated to a tea party.
“She didn't come very often but I did see her in the shop once or twice," Joan Goff, 86, who worked at Fortnum's during World War II, told the Press Association. "We had to sneak a look. I think it was probably in the clothes department. Today I told her that I had been here when I was 14 and she said, 'how marvelous.'"
Kate wore a blue Missoni coat with gray heels and accessorized her look with a daffodil pin to mark St. David’s Day. St. David is the patron saint of Wales, where the duchess lives with her husband, Will, on a Royal Air Force base.
Camilla, who just the other day wore a dress from a mail-order site, returned to designer duds with a Bruce Oldfield dress.
Winding up their visit, the queen unveiled a plaque outside the store commemorating the refurbishment of the Piccadily area.
William’s deployment to the Falklands at the beginning of February has resulted in a coming-out party of sorts for Kate. She made her first solo appearance at the National Gallery on Feb. 8, which was followed by a visit to Liverpool on Valentine’s Day and a trip to Oxford on the 20th.
Next week, the duchess will join the queen once again as she kicks off her diamond jubilee tour around the U.K., celebrating 60 years on the throne with a visit to Leicester.
"The Queen couldn’t have been happier at Buckingham Palace last year for the royal wedding,” NBC royal expert Camilla Tominey said on TODAY Thursday. “She sees Kate as a very good influence on William, a great thing for the royal family."