Sherry trifle, egg and cress sandwiches, chicken supreme and fruit cake have all starred in royal wedding menus over the years – but what can guests expect on Saturday 19 May when Prince Harry marries Meghan Markle?
Well there’s plenty of speculation about the royal wedding menu – with chefs up and down the country offering their views on what might be served. And there’s certainly plenty to consider when devising a royal wedding menu: tradition, culture and seasonality for starters as well as personal favourite foods and flavours – not to mention logistics!
It’s rumoured that London caterers and party designers Table Talk may have bagged the event of the year – having catered for Pippa Middleton’s wedding last year. Promoting core values of sensational food, impeccable service and exceptional design they certainly sound well qualified!
Food anthropologist Kaori O’Connor says that all royal wedding breakfasts are symbolic – kinds of rituals with deep meanings.
Royal Wedding Menus
At the Queen Mothers’ wedding no expense was spared – even though Prince Albert wasn’t the heir to the throne. However, by the time her daughter the Queen was married in 1947 Britain was still reeling from the war and the five-course royal wedding luncheon reflected the austerity of the time.
By 1981, when Charles and Diana tied the knot the Queen hosted a four-course banquet at Buckingham Palace featuring stuffed chicken breast and strawberries with clotted cream. A generation later William and Kate opted for a ‘best of British’ menu which included organic lamb, Scottish salmon, Berkshire honey ice cream and fresh mint tea.
Six years earlier, however, when Charles married Camilla there was no formal banquet. In a stark move away from royal wedding tradition, guests were served afternoon tea-style canapes which included mini Cornish pasties, potted shrimp bridge rolls, strawberry tartlets and miniature ice-cream cornets.
What we do know is that Harry and Meghan’s wedding service at St George’s Chapel begins at 12 noon and will be followed by a two-mile carriage tour of Windsor starting at 1pm. The Queen will host the first, more formal, reception for 600 guests in St George’s Hall followed by a second, evening, reception for 200 at nearby Frogmore House, hosted by the Prince of Wales.
And it’s been widely reported that there’ll be a buttercream-covered organic lemon elderflower cake decorated with fresh flowers – a break from traditional fruit cake.
As for the rest, well it’s wait and see!