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Huitres d'Ostende

Fresh oysters from Ostende on the Belgian coast

Potage à la Wynnstay

Cream of leek soup named after the Wynnstay estate in Wales where Queen Victoria, as a child, spent much time with her mother

Croustades à la Victoria

Puff pastries filled with a lobster and truffle mousse

named after Queen Victoria

Darnes de saumon, sauce ravigote

Salmon steaks dressed in Ravigote flavoured with capers, onions, mustard and chervil

Pièce et filet de bœuf

Filet of beef

Suprême de poulardes à la George IV

Chicken breasts, with wing attached, braised in almond milk named after King George IV

Chaud-froid de mauviettes

Cold boned larks stuffed with foie-gras before being coated in a white sauce, decorated with shaped truffle slices and herbs; and sealed in a thin layer of aspic jelly


Faisans rôtis, salade, compote

Roast pheasants with salad and fruit compotes

Fonds d’artichauts aux petits pois

Artichoke hearts with young garden peas

Crême aux ananas à la Mazarin

Génoise cake filed with pineapple cream and crystallised pineapple segments



Glaces aux fraises et au café blanc

Strawberry and white-coffee ice-creams


Archduchess Marie Therese.jpeg

Standing in for the Empress: Archduchess Maria Theresa assists the Emperor with 'hostess' duties while Empress Elisabeth spends time in Corfu.

Royal Menus - Franz Joseph  menu crest.p

Detail of the Imperial Austro-Hungarian crest that appears atop the menu-card.

Menu dated: 19th November 1891


Dinner at the Hofburg Palace, Vienna, hosted by His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary in honour of a visit by Their Majesties King Albert and Queen Carola of Saxony


Puff-pastries oozing with a lobster and truffle mousse were offered to imperial guests at this palace dinner in 1891, ahead of plates of tiny boned spit-roasted larks that had been stuffed full of foie-gras.


Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary was the host of this dinner which celebrated a unique 'renunciation' ceremony that belongs to an era long gone.


Prince Friedrich August of Saxony, who would later become the last King of Saxony, was betrothed to Archduchess Louise of Tuscany, who was a member of the Habsburg Imperial Family. But before any Habsburg Princess could marry into a foreign royal family, they first had to partake in a ‘renunciation’ ritual to forgo any rights to the throne of Austria-Hungary.


And so it was, earlier on this November day in 1891, that the engaged couple accompanied Emperor Franz Joseph to the throne-room of the Hofburg Palace where they were read the Deed of Renunciation before being administered oaths by the Prince-Archbishop of Vienna, and signing the imperial parchment.


There were 173 guests attending this 14-course dinner that was so large, it began at four o’clock in the afternoon. Sitting at the head table alongside the Emperor and the engaged couple was the reigning King and two future Kings of Saxony. Also at the head table was the then heir to the Habsburg throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and the Emperor’s brother Archduke Carl Ludwig. To the side of the head table sat another 14 Archdukes and four Archduchesses and all number Princes – foreign and local – mingled with an array of Counts, Barons, and Archbishops.

Down the length of three grand tables, guests devoured the huge silver platters stacked high with roast pheasants and stuffed artichoke hearts for the main course; before a sublime imperial Viennese treat of strawberry ice-creams was served after the  platters of cheeses. These were no ordinary ice-creams: they appeared in edible baskets and were shaped as life-sized strawberries with a centre of white-coffee ice-cream: perfect for being daintily plonked into the mouth in one or two bites. Desserts were always a highlight at the table of the Emperor Franz Joseph who was renowned for both his sweet tooth and love of coffee.

Not surprisingly, the Emperor was not joined by his wife Empress Elisabeth who had set sail for Corfu in September. Her attendance at court functions was becoming infrequent and it was left to the Emperor's sister-in-law, Archduchess Maria Theresa, to take on the duties as hostess alongside Emperor Franz Joseph.


While this imperial banquet may have been a stunning success, the marriage would not be. Two days after this banquet the Archduchess, having now renounced her rights, married Prince Friedrich August. In just over a decade he would ultimately become King Friedrich August III of Saxony, but she would never become Queen.


As the Archduchess sat just three seats down from her soon-to-be father-in-law and future King George of Saxony, it would have been hard for her to ever imagine that he would one day attempt to have her sent to a "lunatic asylum" when it was discovered she was having an affair with her children’s tutor. The future King would also decree a civil divorce without consulting the couple who were the stars of this pre-marital banquet. Wisely, the Archduchess would flee to Geneva.


The Archduchess would never return to Saxony; her husband would never forgive her; he would never recognise the imposed civil divorce or remarry; and she would never become Queen.

If palace gossip was to be a guide, it seems the marriage held no hope from the start. A former Governess to the imperial court recounted how she stood:


"... in the corridor at the Hofburg to see the wedding procession of the Archduchess Louise of Tuscany and Prince Frederick Augustus of Saxony... No happiness is predicted as the outcome of to-day's wedding. It is said that Louise was in love with and desirous of marrying Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, but for political reasons the Emperor refused to sanction the match, in fact, there had been no end of a row, and she was sequestered in the Convent of the Sacred Heart until she consented to marry Frederick Augustus".


"At any rate", the Governess continued "the sympathy all seems to be with Louise. She is not by any means pretty, though she has a bright face, and looked extremely well in her magnificent wedding dress".

And even more ominously the Governess recounted:


"It was a scene which I shall always remember, but the thing that impressed me most deeply was that amid all this splendour, all this magnificence, no one, from Emperor and bride down to the ladies-in-waiting of the Royal suite, looked happy".

Royal Menus - Austro-Hungarian Crown.png
View the Imperial Banquet' Guest List & Seating Plan
Royal Menus - Sitz Liste - Franz Ferdina
seating plan
Royal Menus - Kaiser Franz Joseph - etch

1891 Seating Plan

Hofburg Palace​

Dinner hosted by His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty Kaiser Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary for a visit by the Royal Family of Saxony
(Names on the seating plan can be magnified by 'clicking'
the cursor above them)
Royal Menus - Habsburg - Archduchess Ali

Erzherzogin Alice, Grosshzgin. v. Toscana

Archduchess Alice, Grand Duchess of Tuscany: Mother of the engaged Archduchess Louise

Royal Menus - Habsburg - Archduke Karl L

Erzherzog Carl Ludwig


Archduke Carl Ludwig: Brother of the Emperor; heir to the Habsburg throne;  and father of the future heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand

Royal Menus - Habsburg- Princess Mathild

Prinzessin Mathilde v. Sachsen


Princess Mathilda of Saxony: Daughter of Prince George (future King) of Saxony

Royal Menus - Habsburg - Kaiser Franz Jo

Se. K. u. K. Apostol. Majestät.


His Imperial and Royal Apostolic Majesty: Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary

Royal menus - Habsburg - Queen Carola of

I. M. die Königin v. Sachsen


Her Majesty the Queen of Saxony: Queen Carola of Saxony

Royal Menus - Sitz Liste - Franz Ferdina

(Names appearing at the head-table)

Royal Menus - Habsburg - Prince Friedric

Prinz Friedrich August v. Sachsen


Prince Friedrich August of Saxony: Future King Friedrich August III of Saxony betrothed to Archduchess Louise

Royal Menus - Habsburg - Archduchess Lou

Erzherzogin Louise


Archduchess Louise: Betrothed to Prince Friedrich August of Saxony

Royal Menus - Habsburg - King Albert of

S. M. der König v. Sachsen


His Majesty the King of Saxony: King Albert of Saxony and uncle of the betrothed Prince Friedrich August of Saxony

Royal Menus - Habsburgs - Archduchess Ma

Erzherzogin Marie Therese


Archduchess Marie Therese: Emperor’s sister-in-law; wife of Archduke Carl Ludwig and daughter of King Miguel I of Portugal

Royal Menus - Habsburgs - Prince George

Prinz Georg von Sachsen


Prince George of Saxony: Future King George of Saxony; brother of King Albert and father of the betrothed Prince Friedrich August

Royal Menus - Habsburg - Archduchess Mar

Erzherzogin Maria Josefa


Archduchess Maria Josefa: Daughter of Prince George (future King) of Saxony and mother of the last Emperor of Austria-Hungary, Kaiser Karl

Royal Menus - Habsburgs - Archduke Franz

Erzherzog Franz Ferdinand v. Oest-Este


Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Este: Nephew of the Emperor & future heir to the Habsburg throne.

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