“Six programs over a number of hours”: How did Queen Victoria eat?

W.hen Queen Victoria went to lunch at Waddesdon Manor, home of the Rothschilds in Buckinghamshire, she did not leave her. For several hours, the Queen enjoyed six courses, starting with consommé, then trout, followed by quail, beef and chicken, ducklings garnished with bunting and asparagus, soufflés a la Royale (decorated with gold leaf) and beignets a la Viennoise. She was also served ortolans, tiny fried songbirds. The Ortolan hunt is of course forbidden these days. But in the late 19th century, these tiny songbirds were considered a delicacy.

And to make digestion easier, a military band played throughout the process.

It seems that one rule for admitting the queen was that you provided the food, staff, and dining room and then made yourself scarce. The Queen insisted on private dining with her daughters during this May 13, 1890 visit. Your host, Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild, and the other guests dined in the nearby breakfast room. That was probably a good thing, because Ferdinand did not share the queen’s appetite. His lunch consisted of cold toast and water.

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