21/05/2012 12:59 BST | Updated 21/05/2012 13:06 BST

Anita Atkinson, Fervent Monarchist, Throws Three Out Of Tearoom For Refusing To Stand For Anthem

The owner of a Royal Family-themed tearoom has explained 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.

Atkinson, who is also editor of the Weardale Gazette newspaper and Deputy Lord Lieutenant of the County of Durham, was formerly 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.

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

Every 3pm, Atkinson explained, she plays God Save The Queen and asks everyone present in the tea room to be upstanding.

"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."

Atkinson asked the three women if they would stand up, but they refused.

"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.

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