From the Museum

Portion of Royal Wedding Cake (MO 1948.80.10)

As the world prepares to celebrate the wedding of His Royal Highness Prince William to Catherine “Kate” Middleton, we reflect on the wedding of the Prince’s grandparents that took place over 60 years ago. On November 20, 1947, Her Royal Highness The Princess Elizabeth (the future Queen Elizabeth II) was wed to His Royal Highness Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh, at Westminster Abbey in London. England was still recovering from the physical devastation and economic effects of World War II, and the Princess had to set aside her ration cards in order to buy the material for her gown, designed by Norman Hartnell. The nine foot tall, 500-pound wedding cake reflected the significance of the event with four tiers of sculptured sugar made by McVitie and Price, Ltd., from ingredients given as a wedding present by the Australian Girl Guides. The Duke used his Mountbatten sword to cut the cake during the wedding reception. Pieces of cake were later given as gifts to friends and British schoolchildren.

One such gift was sent to Eleanor Roosevelt soon after the Royal wedding. This piece of chocolate wedding cake arrived in a white box with silver-tone embossed lettering on the top that reads, “BUCKINGHAM PALACE, 20TH NOVEMBER 1947.” A card enclosed inside the box reads, “With the Best Wishes of Their Royal Highnesses The Princess Elizabeth and The Duke of Edinburgh.”

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