Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Queen Victoria's Wedding Cake

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Loretta reports:

When Queen Victoria got married on 10 February 1840, she was not, as many believe, the first bride to wear a white wedding dress—though it was a new look for royals, who’d previously inclined toward silver.  Still, she did start a fashion for BIG royal weddings.  Previously, these had been relatively quiet, private affairs.  But then, hers was a big deal—the first wedding of a reigning queen since Queen Mary in 1554.

The wedding cake was a big deal, too. 

“If taste of design only equal what appears to be intended for the actual dimensions, it will beat any bride-cake ever seen.”*

~~~
  5. THE ROYAL WEDDING CAKE. —A select few have been gratified with a sight of the royal wedding cake at the apartments of the confectionary in St. James's palace, but it is described as consisting of the most exquisite compounds of all the rich things with which the most expensive cakes can be composed, mingled and mixed together into delightful harmony by the most elaborate science of the confectioner. This royal cake weighs nearly 300 lb. weight. It is three yards in circumference, and about fourteen inches in depth or thickness. It is covered with sugar of the purest white; on the top is seen the figure of Britannia in the act of blessing the illustrious bride and bridegroom, who are dressed somewhat incongruously in the costume of ancient Rome. These figures are not quite a foot in height; at the feet of his serene highness is the effigy of a dog, said to denote fidelity; and at the feet of the queen is a pair of turtle doves, denoting the felicities of the marriage state. A cupid is writing in a volume expanded on his knees the date of the day of the marriage, and various other cupids are sporting and enjoying themselves as such interesting little individuals generally do. These little figures are well modelled. On the top of the cake are numerous bouquets of white flowers tied with true lovers' knots of white satin riband, intended for presents to the guests at the nuptial breakfast. This elegant emblem of the felicities of marriage will be placed on the breakfast table of the queen at Buckingham palace at the breakfast which is to succeed the ceremonies in the chapel royal.
1840 Annual Register.

*The Mirror of literature, amusement, and instruction, Volume 35, 1840.

13 comments:

Hels said...

This is probably not the correct place to ask, but I have not found a satisfactory answer to my question.

When the very young queen met her handsome cousin, who popped the qustion to whom? He was more male, but she was more royal. It might have been a very ambiguous situation.

Lady Damaris Eversley said...

Because of Royal Protocol at the time, she actually proposed to him. As a queen regnant (as opposed to his being a prince of a rather minor principality at that), it was the only way considered to be correct.

Chris Woodyard said...

Could that be a misprint in the original for "costume of ancient Rome" rather than Home?

Jane O said...

I feel for the royal pastry chefs. Did they really have to work with cake pans nearly a yard in diameter? Can you imagine the size of the oven they would need? No wonder the final creation looks a bit lopsided in the drawing!

Lauren said...

This is so great! Love the "Roman" statuettes.

nightsmusic said...

I'm not entirely sure I'd want to eat any of that cake! And speaking of eating, were they planning on giving everyone in the country a piece? It's HUGE!

Maybe I never really took a good look at that picture of the queen before, but she looks very sweet and a little wistful. Beautiful.

nightsmusic said...

One question. I read the link for the white wedding dresses (haven't gotten to the others yet) and I wonder if you can tell me what a "Royal Closet" is.

Theresa Bruno said...

Nightsmusic,

I agree. With a 300lb cake, they could have feed the entire country.

LorettaChase said...

Theo, do you mean the Queen's Closet? It's the name for one of the rooms in St. James's palace, behind the Throne Room. I think the illustrator had some trouble with perspective, among other things. I'm sure the cake was far from lopsided. It must have looked absolutely elegant and perfect--royal chefs and confectioners were very particular about appearances. So, do we think this was a fruit cake? Is it true that fruit cake is traditional at English weddings?

nightsmusic said...

Maybe it is the "Queen's Closet," but the article definitely called it the "Royal Closet" and all I could think of was a privy...

LorettaChase said...

They would certainly not mention the queen's stopping at the privy in a public document. "Closet" simply meant a private chamber--as opposed to the Throne Room, whose function was very public. BTW, that one cake was only for the banquet. It was by no means the only "bride-cake" made on the occasion. There's more about the bride-cakes here:
http://bit.ly/hJ2ewW

nightsmusic said...

LOL, no, I rather figured they wouldn't. I'd never heard the phrase or at least, I don't remember hearing it.

I wouldn't have eaten that cake though if it was fruit cake. I'm not a 'fruity' cake eater. I'm just so often amazed though at the extravagance. Makes me wonder what they're going to do when Kate and William get married.

Michelle said...

Your blog needs social sharing buttons. :)

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