|The Queen and Prince Philip in Australia.|
The wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten on November 20, 1947, was considered the biggest post-war royal event. Fresh from the devastation of the armed conflict, Britain plunged into economic depression and rationing was enforced but the wedding brought in a spirit of hope. Despite the enforcement of rationing, some dishes were made possible by donations and chefs managed to serve delectable menus.
After the solemn ceremony, the couple proceeded to Buckingham Palace, where the couple waved to the crowds from the balcony. The wedding breakfast was held in the Ball-Supper Room of the Palace. In the United Kingdom, a wedding meal is called a breakfast and is served in the late afternoon but breakfast food is not proffered. There were 146 invitees, including The Queen of the Hellenes, the King and Queen of Denmark, the King of Norway, the King and the Queen Mother of the Romanians, the Prince Regent of Belgium, Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain, King Peter II and Queen Alexandra of Yugoslavia, and the King of Iraq.
Royal relatives and guests were given scrumptious treats. Filet de Sole Mountbatten were served first, followed by partridges in casserole with salad, green beans, and pommes noisette were also served. Royal chef Darren McGrady explains that partridges were not subject to rationing during World War II, and pommes noisette are puréed potatoes made into little balls and then fried so they’re crispy and golden-brown (like fancy tater tots). The most luxurious dish on the wedding menu was the ice cream dish called Bombe Glacée Princess Elizabeth, which was served with fresh strawberries from Windsor Castle greenhouses.
Towering above all the royal wedding menus was the official wedding cake was baked by London bakery McVitie & Price. It was a four-tiered fruitcake that stood nine feet high and weighed about 500 lbs. About 80 oranges, 660 eggs, and over three gallons of Navy Rum were used to make the wedding cake. Considering the rationing implemented that time, some of the ingredients used to make the cake were shipped to Britain from around the world, earning the cake the moniker "The 10,000 Mile Cake.” The cake was decorated with the coats of arms of both the bride's and the groom's families, as well as the bride and groom's individual monograms, and sugar-iced figures depicting regimental and naval badges, as well as the couple's favorite activities. The couple cut the cake with the Duke of Edinburgh's Mountbatten sword, which had been a wedding gift from his father-in-law, the King.