Monday, June 23, 2014

Royal Icing: The Wedding Cake of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth

The Wedding Cake of the Duke
and Duchess of York
McVitie & Price, 1923
The Royal Collection

Royal weddings are historically lavish affairs. For example, let’s take a look at the principle cake from the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI—of The King’s Speech fame—and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother).

On April 26, 1923, Albert Frederick Arthur George, the Duke of York married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon at Westminster Abbey. The nation joined them in celebrating. While the guest list was as guarded as the one for Friday’s wedding, those in attendance were many in number. A variety of cakes were served to the guests, but, as is still the custom, one principle wedding cake served as the centerpiece.

The grand cake stood at three meters (almost 10 feet) tall and weighed over 350 kilograms (over 770 pounds). The four-tier cake was made by McVitie and Price with ingredients supplied by the Girl Guides of Australia. Full-faced, porcelain figures of winged putti holding rings decorated the massive confection. Two of these figurines survive in the Royal Collection.
Porcelain Putti, 1923The Royal Collection
“Bertie” (as he was known to family and friends) and Elizabeth enjoyed a long and happy marriage despite the troubles of the world around them. Their union brought about two daughter—Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose. Of course, today, Princess Elizabeth is Queen Elizabeth II.

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