Queen of Great Britain 

Menu dated 23rd May 1909

Dinner aboard the Royal Yacht, “His Majesty’s Yacht Victoria and Albert” moored in Venice, hosted by Her Majesty Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom with her sister, Her Imperial Majesty the Dowager Empress (Tsarina) Marie of Russia.


The royal equivalent of sardines on toast helped conclude this elaborate dinner aboard the royal yacht that capped off a five day shopping spree in Venice by Queen Alexandra and her sister, the Dowager Empress of Russia (consort to the late Tsar Alexander III).


The sardines along with the young seabass were no doubt locally sourced along with the wild strawberries that were set in Maraschino jelly.


The menu card was specially printed for use aboard the royal yacht featuring a watercolour of the "Victoria and Albert" and the gilt embossed dual monogram of Queen Alexandra and King Edward VII.


Earlier in the day both the Queen and Dowager Empress had taken afternoon-tea on the balcony of the Excelsior Hotel before attending the Venice Biennale art exhibition.


This would be the final night the two sisters would dine together on this excursion to Venice, with the Dowager Empress leaving by train later that evening for Ala in northern Italy.


When the royal yacht arrived earlier in the week a close confidant of Queen Alexandra, Lady Layard who lived in Venice, recounted in her diary:


Today the Royal yacht “Victoria & Albert” came to Venice with the Queen & her sister the Empress Marie of Russia on board…. as soon as the Queen saw us in the distance she began waving to us & when at last the yacht was anchored Violet & I went on board & I was presented to the Empress whom I had never seen before. Both she & the Queen wore white serge short dresses with white flat caps to match sailor fashion. Lady Antrim is the Lady in waiting—a pretty charming woman. Poor old Miss Knollys, the woman of the bed chamber—looked fearfully ill.


A few days earlier, on the 20th May, Lady Layard also had the honour of hosting the Queen and Dowager Empress to lunch at her own home, the Palazzo Ca’Capello’, overlooking the Grand Canal. Lady Layard’s account of the luncheon and the short notice given to her can be read at the link below.

From the private Royal Menu Collection of © Jake Smith


Crême de pois à la Clamart

Cream of fresh green-pea soup served with fried

croûtons named after the Clamart district in

Hauts-de-Seine famous for its peas


Petits Loups de Mer au Rubis

Young European Seabass in a tomato sauce


Croustades à la Financiére

Puff pastries filled with a ragout of cockscombs,

mushrooms, chicken, truffle and Madeira


Aloyau garni à l’Anglaise

Roast sirloin of beef with roast vegetables


Poulardes froides au Daube

Larded poached chickens served cold


Asperges Sauce au beurre

Asparagus in butter sauce


Fraises de Pois à la Gelée Marasquin

Alpine strawberries (wild strawberries) set

in Maraschino flavoured jelly


Sardines Allumettes

Thin long puff-pastry biscuits sandwiched together

with a sardine butter and then topped with

sardine fillets


Glace au Citron

Ice creams flavoured with crystalized lemon

and lime peels

Queen Alexandra and her sister the Dowager Empress Marie of Russia are photographed by the Queen's Lady-in-Waiting as they arrive aboard the Royal Yacht in Venice in 1909.