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
Thin long puff-pastry biscuits sandwiched together
with a sardine butter and then topped with
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.