Though there are many still wondering about who will design Kate Middleton’s wedding dress, chefs worldwide are looking for which culinary trends will be set by Kate and William’s elaborate wedding. And as in any royal event, the past is always the most appropriate starting point when seaching for new traditions.
In 1923 Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (the future Queen Mother) married Prince Albert, who would become King George VI after his brother King Edward VIII abdicated to marry the American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
Recently the Oscar winning movie, The King’s Speech, depicted the amazing relationship between this lovely Scottish lady and the Prince that won her heart. At their wedding each dish was named after a member of the royal family: Consomme a la Windsor, Supremes de Saumon Reine Mary, Cotelettes d’Agneau Prince Albert, Chapons a la Strathmore and Fraises Duchesse Elizabeth.
When their daughter, the then Princess Elizabeth, married her prince, Philip Mountbatten of Greece in 1947, she was facing the crushing austerity of the years that followed World War II in England. With a nod to the difficulties faced by the common citizens of Britain at that time, the menu was a more restrained one that included Filet de Sole Mountbatten and Perdreau en Casserole. But even in those dark days, a wedding is still a wedding and needs a touch of grace and elegance. And so a stunning ice cream dish, a Bombe Glacee Princesse Elizabeth made with rare out of season strawberries, was served as a finishing touch.
On the death of her father, King George VI, in 1952 Princess Elizabeth became the Queen of England and remains so today. Together she and Prince Philip had four children – Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward.
Anne, the Princess Royal, would be the first to marry in 1973, not to a prince but to a commoner then a lieutenant in Queen’s own Dragoon Guards, a Mr. Mark Phillips. Later commissioned a captain, he was the first commoner to marry a member of the royal family in 200 years!
Their lavish Westminster wedding was a grand gala watched on television by an estimated 500 million people around the world. Equally extravagant was the feast served at their post wedding reception which featured lobster and partridge, not to mention a towering five foot six inch wedding cake – exactly the height of the newly married princess.
In 1981 Prince Charles, the heir apparent to the English throne, would marry the lovely Lady Diana Spencer again as millions watched and wished them well and long life.
Yet despite a fairytale gown and 27 stunning wedding cakes (!), the marriage of the young and beautiful Diana and Prince Charles ended sadly in a bitter divorce and, ultimately, a tragic car wreck that shocked the world.
This week another charming couple will wed in London’s grandest cathedral. Whether they will copy Diana’s wedding menu of chicken stuffed with lamb mousse (a la Princess of Wales) or brill in a rich lobster sauce, one can only hope that the greatest trend they share with everyone will be a fresh belief that Love should be mixed with maturity and tended with care and insight.
Your Culinary World copyright Ana Kinkaid/Peter Schlagel 2011