[Update: I've moved to an island for a while, and am temporarily unable to access some of my stuff electronically. Thus today's repeat performance, in honor of Queen Victoria's wedding anniversary, coming up this weekend.]
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.
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.