GIVEAWAY: We will be giving away a print copy of Jessica Hart’s The Baronet’s Wedding Engagement. Comment in our post with what you’re looking forward to in Harry and Meghan’s upcoming wedding! As this will be a continuing blog series, make sure to comment on all related posts leading up to the wedding for a chance to win each book in the Royal Wedding Invitations series!
We will announce the winners in our weekly newsletter, so make sure to subscribe if you haven’t already!
PLANNING A ROYAL WEDDING 2: THE CATERING
So, there you are, having found your prince, and you’ve decided when and where to get married. But even trickier decisions lie ahead. What about the reception? Where will that be? What will you serve your guests and who will sit where? Pity poor royal brides for whom the seating plan involves an extraordinarily complicated protocol dictating that a princess must be seated above a duchess, a duke above a lord and so on.
After their wedding and a carriage procession through Windsor, Prince Harry and his bride will join their guests for a reception in St George’s Hall at Windsor Castle. This spectacular hall is used on occasion for state banquets, and up to 160 guests can be seated around the table, but a reception with canapés and champagne will avoid the headache of a seating plan altogether.
After the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in April 2011, the Queen hosted a reception for 650 guests at Buckingham Palace. Over 10,000 canapes were prepared for that occasion by the royal chef and his team, who will also cater Prince Harry’s wedding in the Great Kitchen at Windsor Castle. The kitchen dates back to the fourteenth century and is one of the oldest working kitchens in the world – although fortunately its equipment is definitely twenty-first century.
Royal events are run with a meticulous attention to detail, and the canapés are likely to make a mouth-watering display: at William and Kate’s wedding the canapés included miniature Cornish pasties, mouthfuls of bubble and squeak with confit of lamb and tiny smoked haddock fishcakes.
That menu provided the inspiration for chef Flora Deare, bridesmaid to Hope Kennard at her wedding to Prince Jonas. Hope opts for a simple country wedding – or as simple as a royal wedding can be – and Flora has promised to do the catering. Although she has vowed to give her friend exactly the wedding she wants, Flora can’t help hoping to inject a little style into the food too. At a rather awkward dinner with Ally, Max and the super cool Count Fredrik, Flora trials a selection of canapés for the wedding: “Smoked salmon on a beetroot blini, miniature Yorkshire puddings with rare roast beef and a horseradish mousse, and those are walnut sables,” she tells the others, although she’s frustrated by Max, Hope’s brother, who would, as she says, be perfectly happy to serve the royal party “a bag of crisps and some dips”.
Harry and Meghan’s guests in St George’s Hall will be served by liveried footmen, but Hope and Jonas celebrate their wedding in a marquee in the grounds of Hasebury Hall, the ancient manor house where Hope grew up and where Max now lives. Rather smaller than Windsor Castle, Hasebury Hall has plenty of history of its own, and a large kitchen that is just what Flora needs to plan the royal wedding menu while keeping her cake-making business going on the side.
She and Max come to an agreement: she will use the kitchen in the run up to Hope’s wedding, and as Max’s cooking is limited to opening a can, he’ll hardly know that she’s there. But somehow it doesn’t turn out like that …
You can read Flora and Max’s story in The Baronet’s Wedding Engagement, free this month on Bookbub!
* Photos from Bigstock or authors’ own
Jessica Hart is the author of more than 60 romances. She also writes historical novels under her real name, Pamela Hartshorne, and non-fiction, including most recently – and coincidentally – a history of Windsor Castle.
Find out more about Jessica at her website www.jessicahart.co.uk or keep in touch on Twitter @JessicaHartXX.