The royal wedding is right around the corner and we couldn’t be more excited about it. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s summer wedding will surely be the stuff of dreams and with this nuptial, they will be making history – Markle will be the first ever colored woman to marry into the British monarchy, one of the few royal families in the world that has kept itself relevant by adapting to the mores of a increasingly democratic world.
The most awaited wedding of this year, I am sure that the dress along with every other part of the outfit (including something old and blue) will be perfect to the tip of her shoe. But that’s just Meghan, and as much as I love her as the next royal fan, being a foodie at heart I wonder – what about the rest of the wedding – the guests, the themes, the food and the drinks?
Every detail of the wedding has been broken down and scrutinized by the world after the two lovebirds announced their engagement on November 27, 2017. Her wedding dresses (yes there are rumors there will be two) has been the center of so much speculation – what designer has she hired? Will there be sleeves? and the list goes on.
One thing is for certain, that this wedding will surely have to be different than all the other royal nuptials that have preceded it. So far, we know for certain where the wedding is set to take place. The royal wedding will take place at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. We also know that Claire Ptak will bake the cake, which will be a lemon elderflower flavor cake, iced with white buttercream and fresh flowers, breaking the tradition of fruitcake soaked in alcohol – something that has been a permanent fixture at royal weddings in the past.
The theme will feature peonies and white roses, a mix of Meghan’s and late Princess Diana’s favorite flowers respectively. It is certainly such a sweet gesture on the couple’s part, to pay tribute to Harry’s late mum who passed in a tragic accident in 1997. Even the ring with which Harry popped the question to Meghan has a little bit of Diana in it – it includes diamonds from her personal collection.
One cannot predict exactly what would be on the menu this year but we can certainly take an educated guess. Tom Bridgeman, Director of Catering at Cripps & Co, the wedding venue operators behind the Tithe Barn at Bolton Abbey, says that it will be the most swanky wedding menus till date. It will not only be elegant and yum, it will also be extremely innovative. Looking at the way the couple has made history every single time they’ve done things their way, it will really come as no surprise.
“Based on the current wedding catering trends, royal guests can expect the rustic themes from Will and Kate’s to be continued.” As food trends change with times, he said that at the moment there is a “rise in big, sociable sharing dishes and feast style menus” and this royal wedding is expected to have the same. Since the two like traveling, he speculates that it will definitely play a part in what will be served at the wedding. Exotic cocktails? check!
But it is worth noticing that the rumors around this wedding are very different from Prince William and Kate Middleton’s. In fact, every British royal wedding ever has had very different themes and food menus every time one of them tied the knot.
Let’s start with the most recent one – Prince William and Kate Middleton’s expensive (cost of the wedding was said to be 20 million euros) but extremely cool 2011 wedding had one of the most rustic themes that you can expect a Brit wedding to have. The food menu had a gastro-pub theme, which meant a lot of finger foods.
Marinated salmon, crab, and langoustines were served as starters and a plate of organic lamb saddle came out with spring vegetables, asparagus, potatoes, and some classic Windsor sauce as the main course. Their food was quite bold but still traditional and the couple decided to skip the overdone beef and chicken meat for a slice of juicy lamb instead.
Their wedding cakes featured one massive fruitcake covered in white frosting and the other was a tribute to the groom’s favorite dessert – a chocolate biscuit icebox cake made with nuts and tea. Both were baked by their favorite local baker Fiona Cairns. For dessert, they had a chocolate parfait, a sherry trifle, and ice cream made with honey that was from Kate’s native English lands. The duo did not stray from tradition in the general sense and made whatever they could theirs by making small changes here and there.
Their wedding theme featured white myrtle, lily-of-the-valley, and hyacinth wedding flowers in a shield-shaped bouquet. It was made to match the floral detailing on Kate’s Alexander McQueen gown. The couple did not accept gifts at their nuptials but instead asked the guests to donate whatever they wanted to their 26 favorite charities.
They went with a vintage car too – the Queen’s classic 1977 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI for Kate’s arrival to Westminster Abbey and staying true to their traditional-with-a-twist ceremony, the wedding had lush greenery as the centerpiece at the wedding.
The wedding before William and Kate’s 2011 nuptials was a much more daring one: The marriage of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005. A rekindled romance that had a history of separation and failure, this wedding was a controversy on its own.
At first, it looked like the ceremony wouldn’t go as planned – especially after it had to be postponed. The civil wedding date was set for April 8, 2005, but had to be set for the next day. The Prince of Wales was to represent the Queen at the funeral of Pope John Paul II, who had passed away. Known as Camilla Parker Bowles before the knot, she was called Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall after the wedding.
Their wedding feast was just as bold as their love story. The couple, unlike Will and Kate, had a very non-traditional setting. It was more along the lines of a canapes and drinks afterparty setting. The event paid a homage to their roots and their food served was ample proof of it. The guests were served hearty sandwiches of egg and cress, smoked salmon and roast venison. Mini Cornish pasties, grilled vegetable tartlets and mini pastries like glazed mocha fudge, strawberry tartlets, and caramel banana slice made this wedding menu the most fun out of all the famous royal knot feasts.
While the bride kept it conservative, in a cream silk chiffon dress with a basket weave coat of the same color – it is worth mentioning that their entire wedding is such an insight into who they are as a couple. Traditional on the outside for the world to see, but contrastingly fun and hip on the inside.
But this wasn’t Prince Charles’ first wedding. He was wed to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 in an extremely traditional setting. Like traditional royal weddings, they went with a many-tiered, 5-foot tall fruit cake which was baked by David Avery, the head baker at the Royal Naval cooking school. A breakfast reception, it was extremely exclusive, perhaps keeping in mind the whole royal family only feel, with 120 guests. They also served 27 different types of cakes for their guests, just for the heck of it.
The dishes were named after the members of the royal family. There was Quenelles de Barbue Cardinal Quenelles, which was basically dumplings that were made from brill accompanied by lobster sauce. The menu had a chicken dish named Supreme de Volaille Princess de Galles – named after the Princess of Wales. It was chicken stuffed with lamb mousse. For dessert, they went quite simple, with fresh English strawberries served with cream.
Now, for the original royal wedding of our times, the grand wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten in 1947. At the time, the sun was setting on the British empire and the after effects of World War II meant that the country was still rationing food.
The couple made no compromises for the feast, however, though some of the food was made possible by donations. The three-course meal started with a Filet de Sole Mountbatten, a meat fillet named after the groom’s family name.
This was followed by a casserole served with green beans, salad and fried balls of pureed potatoes – the dish was called Perdreau en Casserole. For dessert, the couple went with ice cream, fancy none the less. Called Bombe Glacée Princesse Elizabeth, this dome-shaped strawberry ice cream, was named after Princess Elizabeth. The wedding had happened in November, thus making the strawberries a rarity and apparently, they were grown just for this ice cream feast.
The cake was massive too, four-tiered and weighing 500 pounds. It was a traditional fruitcake which went on to be called “The 10,000-Mile Wedding Cake” because of its ingredients. The ingredients were said to be donated by the Australian Girl Guides.
Food menus at royal weddings have so far reflected a lot about who they were as a couple and the times they lived in. Meghan Markle has always been outspoken politically and Prince Harry has always involved himself in charities, so it would be really interesting to see what their feast would look like. Plus there’s their cute love story, so here’s hoping for some Eton Mess pudding!