The new Duke and Duchess of Sussex enjoyed a menu fit for a king — or at least a really big fan of cake and canapes — and were serenaded by family friend Sir Elton John.
After a lunch reception for 600 guests at St. George's Hall of Windsor Castle, newlyweds Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan hopped in a silver-blue 1968 Jaguar E-type (with the license plate "E180519" to commemorate the wedding date) and drove off to a more intimate sitdown dinner for 200. The evening event is hosted by Prince Charles at Frogmore House on the Windsor Castle estate. Duchess Meghan even had time for a wardrobe change, from her wedding ensemble to a sleeker white Stella McCartney halter-top dress.
According to the palace, approximately 7,500 servings of food were prepared for the lunch by a team of 25 led by Royal Chef Mark Flanagan. John performed three songs at the request of Prince Harry. "It was a very, very touching reception," Prince Harry's friend Dominic Reid told CNN. "Very private affair. Really nice speech by the Prince of Wales."
Prince Charles ended his emotional remarks by telling his son, "My darling old Harry, I’m so happy for you," one guest told People, while another informed the magazine that attendees cheered when Prince Harry referred to the couple as "my wife and I" during a "very off-the-cuff" and "lovely" speech. “He promised that all the Americans wouldn’t steal the swords and said, ‘Please, when you leave, be quiet as you don’t want to wake the neighbors,’ which was quite fun.” (Duchess Meghan will make her speech at the evening function.)
The guests at the Queen's reception had a variety of tasty victuals to nosh on, starting with an abundance of canapes:
Scottish langoustines wrapped in smoked salmon with citrus crème fraiche
Grilled English asparagus wrapped in Cumbrian ham
Garden pea panna cotta with quail eggs and lemon verbena
Heritage tomato and basil tartare with balsamic pearls
Poached free-range chicken bound in a lightly spiced yogurt with roasted apricot
Croquette of confit Windsor lamb, roasted vegetables and shallot jam
Warm asparagus spears with mozzarella and sun-blush tomatoes
For those who preferred their canapes on the sweeter side:
Champagne and pistachio macarons
Orange crème brûlée tartlets
Miniature rhubarb crumble tartlets
The extensive reception menu featured hors d’oeuvres and appetizers passed by footmen and under butlers and served in small bowls for ease of eating while mingling:
Fricassee of free-range chicken with morel mushrooms and young leeks
Pea and mint risotto with pea shoots, truffle oil and Parmesan crisps
Ten-hour slow-roasted Windsor pork belly with apple compote and crackling
Duchess Meghan is known to be a foodie interested in organic and fresh food, while Prince Harry is more of a beer-and-pizza guy, says former Royal Chef Darren McGrady. “Harry is into the nursery foods, cottage pie, shepherd’s pie, all the real comfort foods," McGrady says. "(The reception menu) is great opportunity to do both and have sort of a mixture."
While they do have some tastes in common, Harry "loves ribs and barbecue" and Meghan "is coming with healthy eating (views), so there could be a clash there,” McGrady says. However, he notes Harry lost about 10 pounds before the wedding, thanks to a diet under his bride's guidance.
Also on tap was the cutting of the wedding cake, designed by Claire Ptak. The cake features elderflower syrup made at the Queen’s residence in Sandringham, as well as a light sponge cake, Amalfi lemon curd filling and elderflower buttercream.
Drinks served included Pol Roger Brut Réserve Non-Vintage Champagne and a selection of wines and soft drinks. One specialty: an apple and elderflower mocktail, made with the same elderflower syrup that's used in the cake, plus Sandringham Cox's apple juice.