There’s not much happening across the pond lately, which troubles me, because if I don’t have anything to put in Royally Speaking, people are going to start to think that the Royals are, well, boring. Nevertheless, so as not to disappoint, I did come up with a few things.|
Happy 60th Anniversary
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. Prince Charles and Camilla (the ever-nervous hostess) hosted a small black-tie dinner for 25. Yeah, yeah, I know. Get to the menu. The royal dinner started with Eggs Drumkilbo with lobster (where do they come up with this stuff?), which, I think, is some kind of mousse. This was followed by roast partridge from the Sandringham Estate (at least they eat what they kill) with roast potatoes and braised cabbage (ooooh, pass the Beano). Dessert was vanilla, raspberry, and chocolate layered ice cream cake with a compote of red berries from Charles’s Highgrove estate.
Those of you looking for ideas for your holiday dinner, here you go.
60: The Magic Number
In anticipation of Prince Charles’s 60th birthday next November, there will be an exhibition of Charles’s school exercise books, a geometry set, a school ruler with the name “P. Charles” etched on it, and a history book in which the prince confuses the words “pheasants” and “peasants.” (Oh, what the hell, shoot ‘em all.)
I can hardly contain my excitement.
To Launch, or Not to Launch
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, launched Cunard Lines’ new ship Queen Victoria, much to the surprise of her mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II. I guess the usual protocol is that a Queen launches a Queen, so everyone’s wondering how the hell Camilla got the honors.
While in Turkey, Prince Charles gave a speech on poetry and religious tolerance to some 3,000 little school kids. Not only were the children bored silly, to the point where they ignored the prince and chattered amongst themselves, but Camilla was seen fidgeting in her seat and constantly checking her watch.
Royal Holiday Shopping
In keeping with the spirit of the holiday season, those of you looking for last-minute gifts might want to check out where the Royals shop.
If you’re looking for plum pudding this holiday, look no further than Fortnum & Mason in Westminster. That’s where the Queen will purchase 1400 plum puddings this year for her staff. The fancy grocer stocks all kinds of goodies. For my money, you can’t go wrong with a Christmas hamper (read: gift basket). Prices range from $55 to $47,000. See? You’re sure to find something to suit your budget.
If you have a hankering for chocolate, Charbonnel et Walker in Mayfair has a great gift idea. The chocolates are alphabet letters wrapped in gold leaf, which you can arrange to spell out your own special holiday message, all in a gift-wrapped box. Now, to me, this creates a bit of a dilemma because if you eat one of the chocolate letters, you ruin the sentiment of the message. So I guess you’ll just have to eat them all at once.
For those extra place settings for your holiday table, pop over to Wedgwood on Regent Street. This year, Wedgwood’s gift theme is chocolate, champagne, and candlelight. Hey! I bet you could find a nice dish to display those gold leaf-wrapped chocolate letters from Charbonnel et Walker.
If it’s one-stop shopping you want, you might consider Selfridges on Oxford Street. Here you’ll find Santa’s Grotto, where you can climb aboard Santa’s Express for a train ride through the store. (Don’t they think of everything? Fun and browsing at the same time!) The Queen buys food and household goods here (maybe dish towels or something), but you can also buy the all-important holiday party outfit at this emporium. Bring along the lush in your life for some champagne at the store’s Moet Bar. Maybe you’ll see Prince Harry there.
A book is a great last-minute gift, and Hatchford’s is London’s oldest bookseller. Lord Byron, Oscar Wilde, and Rudyard Kipling have shopped here. You can also find your favorite biographies, cookbooks (I wonder if they have Rachael Ray), gardening, and history books. And the store features book signings and free refreshments!!
You can get your booze on St. James Street at Berry Bros & Rudd, wine and spirit merchants to the Royals since 1698. They feature over 20,000 bottles of wine. Hot tip: Barry Bros & Rudd recommends the Brane-Cantenac 2001 Bordeaux red to go with the Christmas turkey. You’re supposed to decant it and place it next to the crackers—at least, that’s what they tell me.
Burberry’s has a new flagship store on New Bond Street, as well at the original Regent Street store. Get your luxury raincoats here, and don’t forget the umbrella and scarf.
A Jolly Good Time
There’s a Christmas festival going on at the Queen’s Sandringham estate. There are husky-drawn sleigh rides, skating, and hot turkey mince pies. The estate is lit up with a half-mile of twinkling lights, strung from tree to tree. Wait a minute. Why are they using huskies to pull a sleigh? Where are the Royal horses? Do you think they’re saying “sleigh” but they mean “dog sled”? I guess you won’t know until you get there.
Don’t look for any tacky lawn ornaments, though.
Happy holidays, everyone.