Update 5/19: Kensington Palace released the official menu that was served at the luncheon by the Queen:
A selection of canapés, including:
- 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 Yoghurt with Roasted Apricot
- Croquette of Confit Windsor Lamb, Roasted Vegetables and Shallot Jam
- Warm Asparagus Spears with Mozzarella and Sun-Blush Tomatoes
A selection of bowl food, including:
- 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
Sweet canapés, including:
- Champagne and Pistachio Macaroons
- Orange Crème Brûlée Tartlets
- Miniature Rhubarb Crumble Tartlets
The wedding cake was also served at the reception.
Original story 5/16:
This Saturday, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will officially tie the knot at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. While details like the dress and the tiara are still under wraps, there's another highly-anticipated part of the day waiting to be uncovered (pun completely intended)—the food!
MarieClaire.com enlisted former royal chef Darren McGrady, who worked for the Queen from 1982–1993 and Princess Diana from 1993 until her tragic death in 1997, for his expertise on the royal menu. (Fun fact: He lived in Frogmore House—the place where Harry and Meghan will have their private evening reception hosted by Prince Charles—when he cooked for the Queen.) Here, everything we know about the food for Harry and Meghan's big day.
What food will Harry and Meghan have at the luncheon following their wedding ceremony?
The Daily Mail has reported that Harry and Meghan will not have a sitdown meal at their luncheon immediately following the wedding ceremony that's hosted by the Queen. Instead, the 600 guests at St. George's Hall will be served "mini main courses" in bowls and presented by waiters and waitresses, often known as footmen in the Palace. This is an unexpected choice from the royals, who traditionally have formal sitdown meals.
"When they talk about doing the small bowls, I can definitely see them having something like a shepherd's pie, Hawaiian poke, or taking the lamb from the Highgrove Estate and creating a dish Prince Harry loved when he was younger. Harry is not quite into the healthy eating as much as Meghan. This is a whole trendy, new idea of serving everything into bowls," McGrady tells MarieClaire.com.
Per Kensington Palace, the options will include "classic dishes made from seasonal British produce, much from the monarch’s own estates." The food "will be delivered from farms across counties like Kent, which is known as the 'garden' of England and Norfolk." The produce has also come from the Queen's estate at Windsor. McGrady also notes that there will be wine, soft drinks, and champagne served.
"When the Queen got married she had them grow strawberries at Windsor Castle for her wedding in November. The eating of local ground foods has been going on for a long time," says McGrady.
Do Harry and Meghan have a say in their wedding menu?
"With all of the royal weddings, the bride and groom have input in the menu just as if any of us got married. You can see Meghan's healthy food influence by her using local and spring produce," says McGrady.
Kensington Palace has also confirmed Meghan and Harry "attended several tasting trials held in the Windsor Castle kitchen in March, sampling each of the dishes made from scratch in the castle's kitchen."
How will the afternoon and evening receptions differ?
"You can't possibly seat 600 people in St. George's Hall. You can only do smaller banquets in there," says McGrady. "For past weddings, the royals have had smaller groups so they've sat down for a wedding breakfast, but as they started inviting more and more people they will have to pass around appetizers like canapés to fit more people in there. In the evening they'll go off to a more private, intimate dinner party at Frogmore House that's right down the road."
"Typically royal events, like state banquets, are very formal but when it comes to wedding receptions, it's a bit different. It's as much about Meghan and Harry getting the chance to mingle with everyone as it is about getting people into that celebration in St. George's Hall," he continues. "That's something Harry and Meghan would have been told—if you want more people this is what we have to do."
Are they breaking any traditions with their food?
"The wedding cake in the U.K. is traditionally a fruitcake. Meghan's introducing a little bit of the United States by having a sponge cake—this is the first time ever we've broken away from that. The royals are starting to go a lot more modern now in their approach. The days of having that wedding breakfast where they have three set courses are over."
What's the food preparation process like?
"From a culinary side, the chefs have been in Windsor now for a while. They have the same teams and they travel around the world with the Queen. They have the luxury of being in Windsor, so a lot of prep work is done ahead of time," says McGrady. "An event with 600 people is nothing, really. It's not a small event, but it's not something that they would think is crazy. It's just another party at the Palace."
Will Harry and Meghan hire any caterers?
"My general idea is that there would be outside caterers for the event at Frogmore. Prince Harry's father, the Prince of Wales, brought in a caterer for Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding reception in 2011," McGrady explains. "When I was there, the Queen had 20 chefs and everyone would be on duty. Everyone would want to be on duty, too. Being at the palace for a royal wedding was a fun time. We did banquets all of the time. They were very formal, but weddings are much more fun."
Try out Chef McGrady's special royal Kellogg's recipes here that you can make at home or enjoy them at Kellogg’s NYC Café during the royal wedding. (He totally used these for the Queen and Diana, too.)