John Stillwell-WPA Pool/Getty Images
John Stillwell-WPA Pool/Getty Images
Let them eat cake? You bet. And blinis, and beetroot, and quail eggs and—this being the most quintessential British event ever and all—bubble and squeak, to name just a few of the tasty delicacies that are, as we speak, calming post-wedding nerves.
After all, there's nothing like being watched by a few million of your closest friends to work up an appetite.
Those are just a few of the dishes set to grace the 10,000 plates prepared for the first of three wedding receptions held today in Prince William and Kate Middleton's honor. Oh, excuse us—the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's honor. Oh, excuse us again. Honour.
So what's in store for Kate, Wills, Harry, Pippa, Charles, Camilla, Liz and the rest of the glosse posse? How did the cake-cutting go? And just how down can you get at a party hosted by your grandma?
Well, fairly down, as it turns out. Though with two more receptions to go before calling it a day, there's time yet for Kate to really let down her hair and go wild. And yes, admittedly, that's not a very likely scenario.
The first reception of the day is hosted by Queen Elizabeth II and, as such, is likely the most formal of the Buckingham Palace-based events. And that's despite the newlywed couple's decision to serve the canapés (ready for this?) buffet style. He may have been donning his finest regimentals, but William clearly knows how to break rank.
In addition to boasting the most regal hostess (HRH herself), the reception is also the biggest, with 650 of the 1,900 wedding guests making the first cut (it only gets more brutal as the day goes on). A guest list has not been released for the do, but the invitees were chosen to equally represent the private and official lives of the couple.
But enough about that. What, pray tell, does one do to celebrate at a royal wedding reception?
Well, first one greets the couple. ("Nice frock" isn't bad for an icebreaker and has the added bonus of being true.) Also, the queen (curtsy, back away, no talking!). Then, one enjoys the mellifluous sounds of Claire Jones, the official harpist (what, doesn't everyone have one?) to Prince Charles. Then one pays rapt attention as Prince Harry delivers a hairline-retreating best man speech (very, very sadly, no cameras are allowed in the receptions so we will never hear his no doubt highly amusing words).
And then one eats. And how.
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About which, the question on everyone's mind—and we're guessing none more so than Kate herself who looked not only stunning but particularly wedding-fit (so…hungry, most likely)—is what did they eat?!
A whopping 21 chefs, led by royal chef Mark Flanagan prepared approximately 10,000 canapés (that's 16 per guest for those doing the culinary math at home).
So what's on the menu? Even the most refined palates will be impressed by the spread: Gressingham duck, English (duh) goats cheese, English (mmm hmm) asparagus, Welsh (sensing the theme yet?) celery salt, langoustines from the coast of Scotland, English crayfish, pork from the Cotswolds, Windsor Estate lamb (fancy!), smoked haddock from Scotland, beef from the Castle of Mey Selections in the Scottish Highlands (is it just us or does that sound pretty expensive?), and English rhubarb.
And, presumably, a boatload of champagne.
But what's a wedding reception without a wedding cake? Kate and Will, of course, have two, a traditional boozy dried- and candied-fruit laden cake with marzipan frosting and a groom's cake based on a recipe featuring digestive biscuits that William enjoyed as a child.
As for the more formal of the two, the fruit cake was conceived by Middleton (or should that be Windsor?) and features an English floral theme, with each of the 17 frosting flowers representing a special quality of the marriage.
Among the foliage featured on the cake:
• White rose—national symbol of England
• Daffodil—national symbol of Wales, new beginnings
• Shamrock—national symbol of Ireland
• Thistle—national symbol of Scotland
• Acorns, Oak Leaf—strength, endurance
• Ivy—wedded love, marriage
• Lily of the Valley—sweetness, humility
• Rose (Bridal)—happiness, love
• Sweet William (no seriously, this is a flower—how perfect can you get?)—grant me one smile
• Honeysuckle—the bond of love
• Apple Blossom—preference, good fortune
• White Heather—protection, wishes will come true
• White Jasmine—amiability
• Daisy—innocence, beauty, simplicity
• Orange Blossom—marriage, eternal love, fruitfulness
• Lavender—ardent attachment, devotion, success and luck
The reception is expected to last until about 3:30 p.m. (London time, obviously), when Will and Kate will head to St. James Palace for a "period of reflection" throughout the afternoon. They won't be seen again until 7 p.m., when they will make their way back to Buckingham Palace for the second reception to be hosted by Prince Charles for just 300 of their bestest pals.