POPSUGAR Food

Food and Drink Wedding Traditions of the British Royals

Apr 28 2011 - 4:23pm

It's here! The week of the royal wedding has finally arrived, and there's no doubt it'll be the biggest celebration England's seen so far this century. Still, Prince William and Kate Middleton have some pretty big shoes to fill: they'll be following in the footsteps of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Queen Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, and Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

With hundreds of years of history behind them, the soon-to-be newlyweds are following more than a few precedents set by the British crown. To see what traditions they'll likely be sticking to — and which ones they're breaking! — keep reading.
Source: Getty [1]

Traditional: A wedding breakfast for the guests.

Following the wedding [2], guests will join Will and Kate at Buckingham Palace for a buffet-style wedding breakfast [3], as it's called. In reality, this "breakfast" is really more like an afternoon cocktail party with passed hors d'oeuvres. With 600 attendees, this reception will be much larger than the wedding breakfast hosted in 1981 by Prince Charles and Princess Diana. That soirée only had 120 guests [4].
Source: Getty [5]

Traditional: A reception hosted by the queen.

The wedding [6] breakfast will be hosted by Queen Elizabeth [7]. She'll also have the ultimate say in what canapés will be served at the buffet — like smoked salmon on beet blinis and quail eggs sprinkled with celery salt.
Source: Getty [8]

Not traditional: A menu free of foie gras.

As one of the Western world's greatest delicacies, foie gras was fit to grace Buckingham Palace tables — that is, until Prince Charles banned it from royal residences in 2008 [9], for the delicacy's widespread inhumane practices. So don't count on it being at either the wedding [10] breakfast, or the royals' sit-down dinner later that evening.


Source: Getty [11]

Traditional: Toasting the bride's family.

Prince Harry promises to give a toast [12], but the first one will come from Prince William. It's expected that the groom will thank the bride, her immediate family, and the guests for attending. Historically, it's been de rigueur for the bride's family to pay for the wedding [13] (although we're hoping they got a little help for this one).
Source: WireImage [14]

Not traditional: a Champagne other than Bollinger.

Bollinger has been the official Champagne supplier to the British court since 1884 [15], when it received a royal warrant from Queen Victoria. Today, it still carries a seal that reads, "by appointment of the Queen Elizabeth II, the Royal Majesty."

William and Kate are starting their own Champagne tradition, however: a source has confirmed that the two will be pouring Pol Roger [16] instead.
Source: WireImage [17]

Traditional: A multilayered behemoth of a cake.

At the wedding [18] breakfast, guests will be offered a slice of fruit cake [19], which is customarily cut up and put into little boxes for as a small gift for attendees. That's because, according to food archaeologist and historian Marc Meltonville, fruitcake's dense texture allows it to keep as a memento for years. The multitiered wedding [20] cake will also be covered in white icing — much like Princess Diana's, which clocked in at five feet tall.
Source: Getty [21]

Not traditional: a bride's cake and a groom's cake.

Princess Diana had 27 official cakes at her wedding [22], but for the one that takes place on April 29, there'll only be two [23] — a classic tiered white fruitcake for the bride, and, entirely bucking tradition, a chocolate McVitie's cake for the groom, similar in nature to the cake pictured.
Source: Getty [24]

Traditional: a menu written in French.

In a twist of utter irony, the menu at British royal weddings [25] is always en Français. Even at fancy royal functions, there is never any translation on the menu — even for foreign politicians. Thankfully, the Prince himself is fluent in French. Source: Flickr User fred_v [26]

Traditional: a dish will be named after Kate Middleton.

It's common practice at British royals' weddings for chefs to name dishes after the bride [27]. For instance, Princess Diana sat down to suprême de volaille princesse de galle — chicken breast stuffed with lamb mousse, wrapped in brioche, and garnished with asparagus tips and Madeira sauce. Kate's dish will probably be revealed at the couple's second reception [28], their sit-down dinner later that evening.


Source: Getty [29]

Traditional: expect plenty of people to be drinking beer.

Windsor was once a brewing town [30], so many people will be throwing back a brewski or two. There'll be a number of varieties produced for the wedding [31], including one by the newly established Windsor and Eton Brewery, which is producing the "Windsor Knot," a brew dedicated to the occasion.


Source: Getty [32]


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