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Harry and Meghan

With the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markel days away, Americans can’t help themselves—we are intrigued and curious about the couple, royal traditions and the details of the wedding.  However, Prince Harry and his American bride-to-be are not the first couple of British royalty to achieve celebrity status.  Americans have a long history of “royal watching.”

Fawning over the dress choices and breeding habits of the royals has been a longstanding American preoccupation. Although it may have reached its peak with Diana, as she was truly the fairy-tale princess, it didn’t begin with her.

I remember as a very young child (and I mean very young) watching the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth on T.V. 

Prior to that, look in the newspaper archives at the scandal caused by King Edward the VIII when he abducted the throne to marry Wallis Simpson, an American socialite who was divorced from her first husband and was pursuing the divorce of her second.  

Today, we have the internet and the king and queen of social media are William and Kate and George and Charlotte and Baby Louis, pronounced Looeee.

Nor can we forget the popularity of Downton Abby, the cult T.V. show depicting the lifestyle of British class distinction. The show was discussed in the work place, at cocktail parties, book clubs and more.

Now we have a California girl about to become a member of the British royal family when Meghan marries Harry on May 19. The pretty and talented American is a graduate of Northwestern University, a Kappa Kappa Gamma, actress and blogger and we are enchanted with the new fairy tale.

Are we charmed by the pomp and circumstance or the fairy tales of our childhood? Whatever, we like to watch the Royals.

The Disciple Women of Central Christian Church chose tea as the theme for their last meeting of the year, prior to summer break, borrowing the idea from the forthcoming wedding.

Note that I said, “tea,’ not “a tea.”

Central member Anne Pogson gave a review of the history of tea and the etiquette surrounding the tradition of taking tea. Anne shared the accidental discovery of the drink, its Chinese roots and its arrival in England by Catherine De Braganza, as well as what is proper in serving and drinking tea.

“According to British etiquette, you host ‘tea,’ not ‘a tea,’” Anne informed the women.

“Also, be careful to stir your drink not in a circular motion, but gently and quietly, north to south. And never squeeze your lemon; simply drop the slice into your cup and let it infuse on its own,” she added.   

So much to learn and so little time, if we are still hoping for that engraved invitation to St. George's Chapel.

Following the delightful presentation by Anne and a quiz on royal weddings (Jayne Hawley was most knowledgeable, winning a book titled “Tea at the Ritz,”) tea was served.

Earl Gray Black and Oolong, two of the most popular teas were among the choices. Finger sandwiches with fillings such as egg salad, cream cheese, radish with butter and cucumber (the most popular of tea sandwich fillings) were offered for the first course.

Next, in keeping with the order appropriate for serving, a variety of scones, pronounced scons, (no long “o”) were served with clotted cream, lemon curd and marmalade.

Strawberries, chocolate truffles, almond cookies and Lemon Elderflower cake finished the celebration.

Meghan has chosen a light, springy Lemon Elderflower cake, rather than the heavier traditional fruit cake for her wedding cake.

I made my own version of a Lemon Elderflower Cake.  And as usual, I cheated a mite for convenience by starting out with a cake mix.  Not just any cake mix, but Betty Crocker’s Pound Cake Mix.  It is an excellent cake on its own and doctoring it with some lemon and St. Germain’s Elderflower Liquor resulted in a cake fit for a Queen, a Princess, a Duchess or a Kappa Kappa Gamma.

Lemon Elderflower Pound Cake

1 Betty Crocker Pound Cake Mix

2 eggs

3to 4 lemons or enough to produce 1/3 cup plus two tablespoons juice (divided use)

2/3 cup liquid (use 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon and 1/3 cup water)

½ stick softened butter

1 tsp. almond flavoring

Lemon zest from one lemon

For topping

1/3 cup Elderflower cordial (can be purchased at liquor store)

Remaining lemon juice

Granulated sugar for sprinkling

Whipped cream (optional)

3 Tablespoons Creme Fraishe (optional)

Combine cake mix, liquid (water and lemon juice), eggs, softened butter, almond flavoring and lemon zest. Beat according to package directions.

Bake as directed on box using baking spray with flour to prepare 9’ x 5’ loaf pan.

When cake is done, cool 10 minutes and remove from pan and continue to cool about 30 minutes.

While cake is cooling combine 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon and 1/3 cup of Elderflower Cordial. (Can be purchased at liquor stores) 

Pierce cake top generously with fork or skewer.  Pour lemon and cordial mixture over top.  Sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Slice and serve with a dollop of whipped cream or a combination of whipped cream and crème fraishe.

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