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There May Be a Secret Royal Passage From St. James Palace to Dukes Bar in London

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Here’s some royal, spiked tea: Jack Brooksbank, husband of Princess Eugenie of York, reportedly told columnist Richard Eden about a secret passage from St. James Palace. “I haven’t used it yet, but I’d love to check it out,” Brooksbank supposedly said.

Clandestine corridors aren’t exactly breaking news—palaces, castles, and other royal residences have always historically featured sneaky ways to move about. (There is a well-publicized albeit hidden entrance via mirror to the White Drawing Room in Buckingham Palace, for example.) But this one is of particular fascination not because of where it is, but where it is going: a bar.

Oh, yes. There may very well be a secret passage from a royal residence to Dukes.

Dukes Bar, nestled inside the Dukes boutique hotel in London’s Mayfair, is a lounge of legendary lore. James Bond author Ian Fleming was a regular, and it’s here that 007’s “shaken, not stirred” martini was first crafted. To this day, the Vesper Martini remains Dukes’ signature drink. Patrons can order the classic creation from a tableside trolley rolled by storied bartender Alessandro Palazzi, and have it served in a V-shaped glass with a hearty Amalfi Coast-lemon peel.

The walls are decorated with 19th and 20th century portraiture, and tables are surrounded by snug blue velvet adorned with tassels. Overhead is a geometric-patterned (or “Old English”) ceiling.

Other than Fleming, Dukes is remarkably mum about their well-heeled (or crowned, as the case may be) clientele. But it’s also rumored to be a favorite of Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana, who had an affinity for their afternoon tea. Nor has the establishment confirmed (or denied!) the existence of this secret tunnel. But on their website, Dukes Bar offers this tantalizing tease: “If the walls of this intimate space could tell a thousand stories,” they write. And hey, according to Google Maps, the bar is only .2 miles away from the historic royal palace. That sounds like walking distance.

https://www.vogue.com/article/there-may-be-a-secret-royal-tunnel-from-st-james-palace-to-this-legendary-london-bar