Queen's favourite bottled water halts production
US drinks giant Coca-Cola is closing Malvern Water, a luxury brand of bottled water favoured by the British royal family for centuries, a spokeswoman said Thursday.
Coca-Cola will halt production at the small factory in Colwall, in western England, from the end of November, after Malvern's share of the British market shrunk to just 0.4 percent.
Elizabeth I, England's 16th-century "virgin queen", is recorded as having drunk the water and legend has it that Britain's longest-reigning monarch, Queen Victoria, would not travel without it.
The current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, still orders crates of the water before foreign trips, Buckingham Palace said.
Author Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin, the father of evolutionary theory, were also reportedly fans.
"This has been a very tough decision for us to take, particularly given the hard work and commitment shown by our staff at Malvern," a Coca-Cola spokeswoman said.
"Coca-Cola is committed to doing all it can to offer its 17 employees alternative roles at its other sites and help with re-training opportunities."
The site will be sold to a residential property developer.
A spokesman for the Queen confirmed that Malvern Water holds a Royal Warrant, a mark that signifies it has supplied the royal family for at least five years, but would not comment on the factory's closure.
© 2010 AFP