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Royal wedding menus through the ages: from 11-course sit down meals to casual canapés and trending small bowl food

See how much has changed since the Victorian era when dishes like roast snipe and tongue were served to wedding guests.

by: Julie Donald | 19 May 2018
poached salmon dish

(images: Getty Images | iStock)

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Past Royal weddings have had usually featured sit down meals, but Meghan and Harry will be serving canapes and dishes in small bowls that can be eaten standing. Could they BE any cooler? Who doesn’t love the idea of mingling instead of being stuck at a table next to dreary, deaf Auntie Bee for the whole evening?  

The official menu has not been released yet, so we wait with eager anticipation to see what dishes will be served. But we DO know that they will be fresh, seasonal and showcasing locally grown produce.  

To get an idea of how things have changed in the last 150 years, here are some menus from previous royal weddings.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert married in 1897
According to, a whopping 11 courses were served featuring two soups and two desserts. Also featuring roast snipe (what on earth is a snipe?) and a side table with hot and cold fowls, tongue, hot and cold beef. The main course was aptly named Cotolettes á la Princesse (lamb cutlets, with a truffle sauce).  

london back in the day

Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten married in 1947
The surprising element of this wedding was the Queen’s choice of strawberries for the Bombe Glace (fancy pants ice-cream) at the end of November, these were apparently grown in a hothouse at Windsor castle, these days such out of season selections would be a little frowned upon. Also served was a sole dish named for Philip Mountbatten (reports The Kitchn) and a partridge main course. Partridge was not subject to rations during WWII and rationing was still very much in force in 1947. The princess only had three courses followed by fruits and coffee, perfectly fitting for her somewhat frugal nature.

queen elizabeth and prince philip on their wedding

Prince Charles and Diana Spencer married in 1981
This 1980s menu was on trend at the time. features the light menu that reflects a very Diana-style choice. A light, fish starter, followed by stuffed chicken breast with baby potatoes and rounded off with the quintessential English dessert of strawberries and cream. Apparently, the couple was gifted 27 wedding cakes which were on display all around the room. 

princess diana and prince charles on their wedding

Prince William and Catherine married in 2011 shared a perfectly divine menu for the fairytale couple which included a seafood starter. The provenance of each ingredient carefully stated, “South Uist Salmon, Lyme Bay crab and wild Hebridean Langoustines”.  The main course was an organic lamb and the whole thing was topped off with a trio of ice creams, made with Berkshire honey, of course! 

kate and william on their wedding day

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