Princess of Battenberg
Menu dated 6th December 1901
Luncheon at Osborne Cottage, Isle of Wight, for Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrice of Battenberg.
When Queen Victoria died in 1901 she bequeathed Osborne Cottage, the venue for this luncheon, to her youngest daughter Princess Beatrice of Battenberg; the Cottage overlooked Osborne House which was Queen Victoria’s private residence on the Isle of Wight.
Upon her mother’s death, the widowed Princess Beatrice moved into Osborne Cottage which remained the Princess’s home until 1914 when she moved to Kensington Palace in London.
This luncheon menu is embossed with the royal cipher of Princess Beatrice and her deceased husband Prince Henry of Battenberg: the ‘double B’ cipher represents the names of Beatrice and Battenberg which converge to form the letter ‘H’, in the middle, for Henry.
The menu reveals diversity in culinary tastes for Princess Beatrice: a serving of roast pheasants is followed by a humble dessert of stewed apples with creamed-rice.
Prior to Queen Victoria’s death, Osborne Cottage was used to accommodate the Queen’s favourite guests. In 1886, for example, the London World reported that the exiled Empress Eugénie of France “has been staying during the last 10 days at Osborne Cottage, the best of the Queen’s numerous houses round Osborne”.
Queen Marie of Romania, who was a niece of Princess Beatrice, also remembered staying at Osborne Cottage as a child:
“We inhabited Osborne Cottage”, she wrote in her memoirs, “a delightful little house just beyond the royal park which Grandmamma Queen lent us occasionally for the summer months”.
“Osborne Cottage was a typical English cottage overshadowed by lime trees, and honeysuckle nodding in at its windows. These were two more scents that filled me with beatitude. Ever afterwards, no matter where I was, the perfume of lime trees in full bloom carried me back to Osborne Cottage, just as the smell of damp autumn leaves ever conjures up again the Eastwell woods before me as with a magic wand.
“It was always in the season of lime trees in flower and of honeysuckle that we came to the Isle of Wight.... the hall of Osborne Cottage was always full of white lilies with pink spots, which also had a perfume that regularly tingled all through me in shudders of delight.” – Queen Marie of Romania.
From the private Royal Menu Collection of © Jake Smith
Croquettes de poison
Crumbed and fried cylinders of fish mixed with mashed potato and béchamel sauce
Côtelette de mouton
Mutton cutlets shallow fried with bacon, carrot and onion before being lightly simmered in white wine
Courte aux pommes