An imperial family spat was well underway as the Romanovs gathered at Pavlovlsk Palace in 1886 for this banquet hosted by the Tsar’s uncle, Grand Duke Constantine Nikolaievich. No amount of culinary largess, even if it did include sterlets baked in white wine with truffles, was going to appease the seething towards the Grand Duke’s guest and nephew, Tsar Alexander III.

Before his name became synonymous with regicide, King Carlos I of Portugal had a reputation as a gourmand. At this dinner in 1903 His Most Faithfull Majesty serves the visiting King of Spain a 10-course farewell dinner that includes a complex dish of beef tournedos garnished with glazed lamb sweetbreads, cockscombs and truffles that were then smothered in a Champagne, ham and mushroom sauce.

Imperial Banquet for the Wedding of the Kaiser's Daughter

This 1913 banquet was the last social event King George V and Kaiser Wilhelm II attended together before each led their country against the other in World War I. They dined on turtle soup, spit-roasted saddles of venison and turbot dressed in oysters and truffles.

Cold Soup for the Tsar of Russia in the Crimea

In 1898 when Tsar Nicholas II holidayed at his Livadia Palace in the Crimea, he made sure he took along his celebrated French Chef, Pierre Cubat. This imperial luncheon menu shows that alongside the finest French dishes the Tsar also chose to partake of the traditional chilled Russian soup, Botvinya (Ботвинья), made from kvass and beetroot leaves; and served with poached sturgeon and crayfish tails.



... a history of royal dining.

Banquets of Russia's Princely Yusupov Family

Before their name became synonymous with the murder of Rasputin, the Princely House of Yusupov was associated with some of the most decadent banquets of imperial Russia. The beautiful Princess Zinaida serves guests a soup garnished with the poached marrow from the spine of a sturgeon before platters of spit-roasted ortolans arrive smothered in creamed watercress.

Royal Wedding Banquets

Explore the menus from Imperial and Royal Wedding banquets from Queen Victoria, Edward VII, the Habsburg family of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the German Kaiser and the royal courts of Sweden and Egypt.

Marinated Elk with Truffles and Goose Liver served by Romanov' Grand Duchess

Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna hosts a  winters' day lunch in 1884 of marinated elk dressed in a ragout of truffles and goose-livers following a timbale of sturgeon, caviar and crayfish. The Grand Duchess was Tsar Alexander III's sister-in-law and made her home, Vladimir Palace along the embankment in St. Petersburg, an epicentre of Romanov imperial social life.

1884 Birthday Banquet for 16 year-old Tsesarevich  

As members of the Romanov imperial family gathered at the Winter Palace to celebrate the 16th birthday of the Tsesarevich, who had just officially become heir to the Russian throne, the imperial chef was finalising the touches on the whole stuffed salmon-trouts that were to be baked in red wine before being garnished with sautéed roe, truffles and poached crayfish. Following that came the small pastries filled with lark’s breasts before the grand platters of roast woodcocks, great snipe and prized ducklings from Rouen were carried to the table.

Windsor Castle Menu for Queen Victoria's Funeral

In 1901 the new King lays out a Windsor Castle buffet lunch for the royal family’s guests attending the funeral of Queen Victoria

1890 Luncheon for Prince Albert I of Monaco

Coddled eggs with mussels & truffles started this 1890 princely luncheon for Albert I of Monaco.

Riofrio Chorizo concludes the dinner for King Alfonso XIII of Spain 

At the beginning of the 20th century, King Alfonso XIII serves his royal guests homeland treats such as Chorizo de Riofrio and roast partridges marinated in the finest Spanish sherry alongside classical French dishes. A revolving door of head royal chefs led to an eclectic mix of dishes at the King's table.

In the late 1800's Queen Victoria proves it is not ‘low brow’ to serve Christmas ‘leftovers’ for up to a week after the royal banquet. Her Majesty’s yuletide offerings include a whole stuffed boars head that arrived as a gift from the German Emperor; and a giant woodcock pie from the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

Bismarck's last hurrah to throw a banquet to entice the Emperor's favour 

This 1890 banquet hosted by Otto von Bismarck served as a swansong for his 19-year grip on the German' Imperial Chancellery. Media was aflutter as Kaiser Wilhelm II arrived as the guest of honour at Prince Bismarck’s Berlin' residence for this dinner of roast roebuck, turbot in tarragon sauce and platters of oysters especially shipped in from Whitstable in the south of England.

Pastries piped full of lobster & truffle mousse  served at Habsburg Banquet


In 1891 the Emperor of Austria-Hungary, Kaiser Franz Joseph, entertains the Royal Family of Saxony at Vienna's Hofburg Palace. The gala dinner starts  with dishes of lobster and truffle mousse and foie-gras stuffed larks before a main course of roast pheasants with artichokes followed by a dessert of bite-sized strawberry ice-creams, shaped as the actual fruit, filled with a centre of white-coffee ice-cream.

Prussian Prince serves guests a delicate mousse made from tiny thrushes

After plates of lobsters dressed with a butter and red pepper sauce, Prince Albert of Prussia spoilt his guests at his Berlin palace with a delicately flavoured mousse made from the breast of the tiny thrush.

Dazzling Banquets of the Grand Duchess

who later became a Saint

A quarter of a century before revolution curtailed the splendor of Imperial Russia, the Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorvna dazzled her guests with balls and banquets before she embraced a pious life as a vegetarian nun who would later be canonised. Along with her husband Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich, the imperial couple served breakfasts of jellied grouse, traditionally Russian Kournik pie and even glacéed chestnuts with strawberry ice-cream before midday.

The Khedive of Egypt hosts a Palace Buffet of Snipe, Pheasants & Woodcocks - 1896

The 21 year-old Khedive Abbas II of Egypt hosts a Palace Ball and Buffet in 1896 that betrays his love of shooting and eating game birds. Eighteen elaborate dishes are laid out at Cairo's Abdine Palace that include grouse, quails, snipe, woodcocks, pheasants and young turkeys.

Royal Banquet for the King of Portugal

Platters of Sterlets in White wine feature at imperial romanov banquet

Calf's Head delicacy served at the 1857 Banquet for the future Emperor of Mexico

Tête de Veau en Tortue, a Middle Ages' delicacy of calf's head poached in wine, was served to guests at this 1857 dinner during a tour of Venice by the future Emperor Maximilian of Mexcio and his wife, Archduchess Charlotte. 

Roast Swan served by King Edward VII

The future King Edward VII serves guests especially reared 6 month-old spit-roasted swans accompanied with hot redcurrant jelly. The dish appears as Cygne á la Windsor on this 1890s dinner menu for the host; who was then still the Prince of Wales. 

Empress Sadako of Japan Serves Plum Pudding & Roast Snipe in 1925

At the Meiji Palace in 1925, the Empress of Japan serves roast snipes in a cognac and foie-gras sauce courtesy of the Imperial Chef, Akiyama Tokuzō (秋山徳蔵), who trained under the guidance of Auguste Escoffier.

King George V hosts Balmoral Ball & Midnight Supper in 1912

Royal “finger food” including grouse pies, lobster medallions, champagne jellies and rosettes of partridge breast were served alongside a rather common sounding ‘assortment of sandwiches’, at this midnight supper at Balmoral Castle in 1912.

Birthday Banquet for King Ludwig II of Bavaria 

In 1882 "Mad King Ludwig" offers his guests a refreshing woodruff sorbet between courses of venison sausages; stuffed partridges wrapped in bacon and drizzled in a truffle sauce; poached goose livers; and fried capon served with a traditional german potato salad made with gherkins.

Quails with truffles and walnut & orange ice-cream served at 1907 banquet hosted by Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands.

A banquet of turtle consommé with sautéed sweetbreads followed by saddles of wild boar roasted with juniper berries, and quails with truffles, was offered at this palace banquet in 1907 by the young Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. The Queen’s guests were the delegates attending the second International Peace Conference instigated by Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.

His Majesty's 'Yacht Racing Hamper'

A giant royal hamper consisting of pigeon-pies, pressed tongue, and chicken breasts poached in white wine and sautéed with truffles was prepared by royal chefs as a sailing hamper for King George V in 1935. This would be the last time the King would race his personal yacht, Britannia, at the annual Cowes regatta.

1917 Banquet for Charles I of Austria-Hungary

War-time food rationing  was put on hold in 1917 when two Emperors came together for this lunch of chestnut soup; roast pheasants served with a 1906 Heidsieck Champage; and salmon dressed in a Bearnaise sauce. 

German Emperor Serves Giant Blue Carp at Palace Banquet

Giant 'blue' carp, measuring over a metre long, drizzled in a classically German beer sauce featured at this banquet hosted by Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany at his palace at Potsdam.

Franz Joseph & 'Sissi' host Wedding Banquet at Hofburg Palace

In 1881 the Emperor of Austria-Hungary and his famous wife Empress "Sissi" had no idea this wedding banquet for their son was the start of one of the most tragic history-altering marriages in Europe. Imperial chefs at Vienna's Hofburg Palace prepared stuffed woodcocks garnished with truffles and cocks' combs; pastries filled with a purée of lark’s breasts; and an elborate pudding of pig’s kidney with prunes steeped in red wine and then flamed in rum, for the

wedding of the man who was supposed

to one day become Emperor.

Turtle Soup, Roast Larks & Stuffed Wild Boar's Head Served by Duke

In 1870 the Duke of Cambridge served spit-roasted larks and haunches of roast venison alongside a whole stuffed wild boar’s head set in a mountain of aspic jelly to guests at his Piccadilly mansion. The 16 course banquet started with turtle soup and finished with a fritters stuffed with cherries in a kirsch syrup. Today the Duke's military contribution is forever recognised with his bronze statue outside Whitehall, but this menu reveals his culinary contribution was befitting of the Duke's heritage as the grandson of King George III.

Tsar of Russia Serves Saddles of Venison & Rare Siberian Trout

Having survived an assassination attempt just 24 hours earlier, the Tsar of Russia had no intention of letting such trifling disturbances get in the way of this 1911 grand banquet held at the Mariyinsky Palace in Kiev. Even the infamous meddling monk Rasputin was amongst the guests that devoured saddles of venison dressed in chestnut cream with redcurrant jelly; whole trout carted in from the pristine mountainous lakes on the Russian-Mongolian boarder; and roast grouse served alongside truffle salads and stuffed artichokes. 

Royal Christmas Banquets

Explore the Royal Christmas banquets of Queen Victoria, the Prince of Wales, Kaiser Wilhelm II and the King of Saxony.

Royal Grocery Shopping 

Explore this 1880’s catalogue from Charles Hanus – the grocery provider to the kitchens of eight imperial and royal palaces.

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Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany

prepares for lunch at his Chateau on the Western Front