What will be on the royal wedding menu?

15 Mar 2018

The catering team at the Tithe Barn at Bolton Abbey offer their predictions for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding menu by taking a trip down memory lane and turning their attention to emerging trends

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Taking a step back in time, Tom Bridgeman, director of catering at Cripps & Co - the wedding venue operators behind the Tithe Barn at Bolton Abbey in North Yorkshire, has looked back at the royal wedding menus throughout the years.

Offering insight into what the royals and their wedding guests ate, the menus also provide a suggestion to what Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will opt for on their big day in May. 

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From partridge casserole to quintessentially British canapés, here are the catering secrets from royal weddings been and gone:

Prince Albert and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, 1923: A nine-course meal consisting of quintessentially British dishes including ‘Windsor soup’, asparagus in a creamy mousse sauce and Duchess Elizabeth strawberries for dessert.

Princes Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten, 1947: A more condensed menu than the 1923 royal wedding, dishes served at the Queen’s wedding were quite contrasting in a crippled post-war Britain. In an attempt to not appear too ‘lavish’ to the public, dishes included partridge casserole, green beans and an ice-cream bomb for dessert.

Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, 1981: Prince Charles and Lady Diana’s menu was very in-keeping with the traditions of previous royal weddings. With dishes named after members of the monarchy such as ‘Supreme de Volaille Princess de Galles’ – Princess of Wales chicken supreme. Comprising five courses, the menu included simple dessert of English strawberries with clotted cream.

Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, 2005: Moving away from the traditional, formal banquet, Charles and Camilla’s wedding was much more of a canapés and drinks set-up. Still with a strong British theme, sandwiches were offered first including egg and cress, smoked salmon and roast venison. Hot canapés included mini Cornish pasties, and grilled vegetable tartlets. For dessert, there was miniature, fun pastries like glazed mocha fudge, strawberry tartlets and caramel banana slice.

Prince William and Catherine Middleton, 2011: Will and Kate’s menu was much closer to a gastro-pub style meal (albeit a very extravagant one). Heritage, organic ingredients made up hearty, yet sophisticated dishes. Mains included saddle of North Highland Mey, and select organic lamb with Highgrove spring vegetables.

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So what will Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding guests tuck into on Saturday, 19th May? Tom says: “It’s difficult to say exactly what will be on the menu, but based on the current wedding catering trends, we expect the rustic themes from Will and Kate’s to be continued."

“We’re seeing a rise in big, sociable sharing dishes and feast style menus," continues Tom. "Small, pretty dishes are a thing of the past and now wedding food is more about tasty, high quality produce. Whole barbecue spring lamb are increasingly popular, as is street food. It’s likely there will be a nod to the States in there too, possibly with an American burger as a late night snack on the dancefloor."

"Harry and Meghan are very well travelled, which could also influence the cuisine on the menu. One of the couple’s favourite destinations is Botswana so there could be some exotic cocktails on offer, perhaps a pornstar martini. They might even serve Eton Mess for pudding. While it will still be a highly sophisticated affair, we think this could be the tastiest, innovative royal wedding menu to date.”