The three royals are presented special Jubilee picnic hampers at Fortnum's

By Simon Perry Stephen M. Silverman
March 01, 2012 08:45 AM
Gotcha Images/Splash News Online

Thursday morning brought a very rare tea party to London’s swankiest food store.

In attendance, a royal trifecta: The Queen, Camilla and the Duchess of Cambridge (who wore a blue M Missoni coat with a daffodil and Rupert Sanderson pumps for St. David’s Day) – with all three receiving special Jubilee picnic hampers that included dog treats.

“One thing in common with all the ladies is their love of a hound,” says Kate Hobhouse, chairman of the Fortnum & Mason food store, on why the baskets included the venison-flavored dog biscuits, called Hearty Treats for Happy Hounds. “It was a little bit of fun.”

The gifts were very well received by the Queen and two future queens. “There was lots of joy, especially over the biscuits,” says a royal source, adding, “The [Queen’s] Corgis are going to be lucky tonight. They’ll be in doggie heaven.

Kate’s cocker spaniel puppy Lupo was bound to be happy, too.

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The three royals were at the Piccadilly store to mark the regeneration of the central London business district, and while they were at Fortnum’s they were shown many of the store’s posh products.

Taking a whiff of some tea (the store’s specialty), Kate said, “It is quite acidic, isn’t it?” before asking Fortnum’s staff, “So how do you go about choosing which tea to sell when there are so many out there?

Perfect Cup of Tea

As for her personal tastes, she said, “I like a cup of tea, but it is my brother [James] who really likes his tea, as well.” She even promised to send the sibling to the store, because, “he really does love his tea.”

She apparently likes it, too. “I would really like to learn to make the perfect cup of tea, as when I last made a pot of tea with dried tea leaves I got it very wrong,” Kate admitted.

At the confectionery stand piled high with chocolates, Kate chose a small, crystallized rose petal, which retails for about $10 per 3.5 oz.

“Gosh, it is very sweet,” she said as a staffer suggested placing it in a glass of champagne. “I will definitely try that.”

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She added, “I love chocolate. I think all girls like chocolate.”

Thursday’s event was the first of two outings the Duchess is having with her grandmother-in-law while husband William is stationed in the Falkland Islands. Next week, she’ll be in Leicester for a series of engagements with Her Majesty.

For more details on Kate’s recent style choices and her solo royal outings while Prince William is deployed, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday