Royalty-themed tearoom throws out three customers who refused to stand for national anthem

 

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The owner of a royalty-themed tearoom explained today why she threw out three middle-aged customers who refused to stand when she played the national anthem.

Fervent monarchist Anita Atkinson, 55, opened the Royal Teas shop in rural Stanhope, County Durham, to mark the jubilee celebrations with her friend Christine Dodd.

Mrs Atkinson, editor of the Weardale Gazette newspaper and Deputy Lord Lieutenant of the County of Durham, was the Guinness Book of Records holder for the largest collection of Royal memorabilia and some of those items have been put on show in the tearooms.

Every 3pm, Mrs Atkinson asks customers to stand and then lets a young customer tap a helium balloon which then plays the tune of the national anthem.

She said: "The whole thing is quirky, it's a bit of fun and we decided that we should play the national anthem at 3pm.

"Some customers stand with their hands on their hearts like the Americans in this room full of Royal memorabilia.

"On Saturday I announced it, 'Ladies and gentlemen, please be upstanding for Her Majesty the Queen'.

"They all did - including four teenagers - apart from three ladies who were looking a bit miserable.

"They were vociferous in their refusal to stand up so I asked 'are you not going to stand up?'

"One said 'I'm not standing' so I said 'will you just please leave then'. I was nice about it.

"One of them told me the coffee was rubbish and they talked deliberately through the national anthem. They were grumbling all the way out.

"The teenagers in the tearooms were absolutely shocked and one of them said 'that was a complete lack of respect by those ladies'.

"If the women had been leather-clad bikers or youths you would expect to call the police."

Mrs Atkinson understood not everybody loved the Royal Family like she did, but said: "If you don't want to stand for the national anthem, don't spoil the fun and don't come into a tearoom dedicated to the British monarchy."

The grandmother is running the tearoom with her friend as a community asset to bring in tourists to Weardale, and to thank the Queen.

She said: "It's a celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. It's not a business, it is an event.

"I have never worked so hard in my life.

"Other people have parties, I have a tearoom.

"I have had people wanting to buy the concept of the business, but it's not about that."

The tearoom features masks, books, cut-outs of royalty and even thrones in the toilets.

Visitors from Germany, Spain and Australia have already enjoyed this corner of English eccentricity and the tearooms will remain open until the end of August from 10-4.30pm, Wednesday to Sunday.

Mrs Atkinson camped out for two nights to get a good view of the procession for the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge last year.

PA

Comments