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hristmas  Day Dinner 1894 and New Year's Day Dinner 1895 at Osborne House, Isle of Wight, hosted by Her Majesty Queen Victoria.

Any concerns that it is somehow “low brow” to serve Christmas dinner leftovers to guests, are dashed with confirmation that the most regal of dinner hosts, Queen Victoria, served her recycled yuletide dishes for more than a week after Christmas Day.

Dated just seven days apart, the two menus appearing on this page from Queen Victoria’s dinner table confirm the aging monarch was a royal version of an 1800s “economising housekeeper”. Large components of Her Majesty’s  Christmas Day dinner reappear on the menu for New Year’s Day; including the roast turkey, chine of pork, mince pies and plum pudding.

Of course there were slightly more royal Christmas ‘leftovers’ including the whole stuffed wild boar’s head, the Foie-Gras terrine and an unprecedentedly giant woodcock pie that all flanked the huge roast baron-of-beef, which was made from the two hind legs of one of Her Majesty’s own shorthorn oxen.

Even Her Majesty’s plum pudding was of such a royal size that slices were cut from it and sent to all her nearest relatives: the first slice in later years was reserved for her imperial grandson-in-law, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, and posted to Saint Petersburg in time for the Russian Orthodox Christmas celebrated on the 7th January.

The first menu appearing on this page is for the Christmas dinner in 1894 served to Queen Victoria at her Osborne residence on the Isle of Wight, which is depicted atop the gilt-edged menu-card. The Queen was accompanied by her daughter and son-in-law,  the Prince and Princess of Battenberg, along with the royal grandchildren, the Dowager Lady Churchill and the Duchess of Albany.

HMS Australia, a Royal Navy cruiser, was stationed as the guardship on the Isle of Wight during the Queen’s stay.

The second menu is from a week later and confirms large amounts of Christmas ‘leftovers’ reappeared at the royal table to kickstart the New Year in 1895.

The table for the Royal Christmas lunch and dinner always featured the very best produce courtesy of royal families from across Europe. The wild boar’s head was usually a gift from either the German Emperor, the King of Saxony or the Duke Coburg; while the Tsar of Russia sent some imperial sturgeons.

The Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin would send the finest terrine of Pâté de Foie Gras, which was encased in pastry to look like a giant pork pie, and the Emperor of Austria would send a dozen bottles of Tokay wine from his personal vineyards.

In return, Queen Victoria would send out 200 Christmas puddings made at Windsor Castle to all her relatives and leading families of Europe. For these, the royal kitchens drained 24 bottles of brandy.

“I went to see the roasting in the kitchen of turkeys, geese, and beef a mighty sight : at least fifty turkeys before one fire”, recounted Viscount Torrington, a Lord-in-Waiting to Queen Victoria.

“The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland”, continued the Viscount, “by custom or law, sends over every year a large woodcock pie. This one is composed of one hundred birds”.

Because the kitchens at Osborne were too small to cook the Christmas feast, all the main dishes were prepared at Windsor Castle and sent by royal yacht to arrive at Osborne on Christmas Eve. The dinner started at 9pm and concluded with pots and stilton cheese and plates of fruit in the off-chance guests could still be feeling hungry.




Potage a la Tête de Veau claire

Calf’s head consommé garnished with truffle quenelles

 cock’s combs and mushrooms


Potage a la Cressy

Carrot soup flavoured with celery and ham created by

Charles Elmé Francatelli who was once

Royal Chef to Queen Victoria


Les Tranches de Saumon, Sauce Hollandaise

Salmon steaks dressed with Hollandaise Sauce made from eggs, butter and lemon juice


Les Soles à la Colbert

Crumbed fried fillets of sole stuffed with tarragon butter

and served with fried parsley


Les Pains de faisans à la Milanaise

Moulds of puréed pheasant meat flavoured with truffles;

and dressed in thick a sauce made by blending a tomato

sauce with macaroni, cheese, ham, pickled tongue,

mushrooms and truffles


Roast Beef, Yorkshire Pudding


Le Dinde à la Chipolata

Roast turkey served with braised chestnuts, glazed pearl

onions, mushrooms, bacon and chipolata sausage slices

all bound in a reduced Madeira Sauce


Chine of Pork


Les Asperges à la sauce

Asparagus spears dressed in a white sauce


Mince Pies


Plum Pudding


La Geleè d’Oranges à l’Anglaise

Jellied orange flavoured custards served with cream


Baron of Beef


Wild Boar’s Head

(a gift from the Emperor of Germany)


Game Pie




Woodcock pie

(a gift from the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Cadogan)


Terrine de Foies Gras

(a gift from the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin)

Royal Christmas: an 1857 print of the arrival of Queen Victoria's Christmas banquet including the stuffed wild boar's head and gigantic game pie.

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Queen Victoria's New Years' Day Dinner menu for 1895

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Christmas Menus from other Royal & Imperial Courts in history

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The Queen's
Ladies-in-Waiting recount a Royal Christmas

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"A Right Royal Stuffing" 
... a magazine article on Royal & Imperial Christmas banquets

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Royal Christmas: an 1889 newspaper print of Her Majesty's Christmas sideboard shows (from left to right): whole stuffed wild boar's head; Brawn; Baron-of-Beef decorated with shredded horseradish formed to write the year; woodcock pie and game pie.

The 8th Duke of Argyll Recalls Queen Victoria's Royal Christmas Feast

"Music  would  follow  the  dinner,  at  which  a  wonderful baron  of  beef  was  placed  on  the  side  table — not  quite  a whole  ox,  but  the  greater  part  of  one.  There  was  usually a  boar's  head  sent  from  Germany  by  the  Duke  of  Coburg or  some  other  relative,  and  there  was  a  mighty  pie,  the interior  of  which  held  I  do  not  know  how  many  woodcocks from  Ireland,  and  another  great  game  pie  into  whose mysteries  it  would  be  profane  to  inquire",

Duke of Argyll 

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New Provider of the Royal Boar's Head

During the early reign of King George V and Queen Mary, the task of providing the wild-boar's head for the royal Christmas feast had been commandeered by the Dowager Grand Duchess Augusta of Mecklenburg-Sterlitz. The Grand Duchess wrote to her niece, Queen Mary, in 1912 with the reassuring news that:


"From the Throne I sink down to the Kitchen to announce to you the departure of the Wild Boars Head for George [King George V], only lately killed and prepared for sending.  Will you tell him I hope he will accept it. I have addressed it to “the King" to the care of the Master of the Household, thinking this safest".

Since she was a child, Queen Mary had been treated to the grand porcine Christmas spectacle. Mary’s uncle, the Grand Duke of Mecklenberg Sterlitz, took great pride in sending the stuffed head to her mother each Christmas and wrote in 1875:


“The wild boar shooting is therefore very good this year & I hasten to send you a hure de sanglier [boar’s head] which I hope shall arrive in good condition, & just in time for your Christmas dinner. It is the head of a lady & not of a gentleman wild boar & perhaps less showy, but the old Master of the hunt informed me it was particularly tender, & so I send it at once & trust you will let your dear Mama partake of it. May it also be to the taste of Francis! [Queen Mary’s father, the Duke of Teck]”.

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​Grand Duchess Augusta (top left) and Grand Duke Frederick William of Mecklenberg Sterlitz (bottom right).  (Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © His Majesty King Charles III, 2023)

Iced Gingerbreads with Oranges in Syrup for Queen's Christmas Dessert

After roast turkey with sage and chestnut stuffing, Queen Elizabeth II serves iced-gingerbread segments with oranges in syrup (Glacé à la Pain d'Epices, Compote d'Oranges) at the Royal Family's Christmas Day lunch at Sandringham in 2014. 

Traditional vegetable sides consisted of Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts (Choux de Bruxelles et Marons), Buttered Carrots (Carottes au Beurre), Roast Parsnips in Honey (Panais Rôti au Miel), and Roast Potatoes (Pommes Rôties).

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George VI and Princess Elizabeth - 22 December 1936 -royal family departs for Christmas at

Christmas 1936 - a ten year-old Princess Elizabeth (future Queen Elizabeth II) departs for her first Christmas at Sandringham upon her father's accession as King.

(L-R: Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth (the future Queen Mother); Princess Elizabeth (the future Queen Elizabeth II) and King George VI).

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Wild Boar's Head served for the Duke of Edinburgh's Christmas aboard 'HMY Britannia' in the South Pacific

After opening the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne the Duke of Edinburgh left Australia aboard HMY Britannia for New Zealand and then to the Falkland Islands. En route Prince Phillip celebrated Christmas Day in the South Pacific with traditional English roast turkey (Dinde roti a la anglaise) and a stuffed wild boar’s head (Hure de sanglier) along with the traditional offerings of Christmas Pudding and mince pies. The Queen remained at Sandringham for Christmas with Prince Charles and Princess Anne.

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(Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © His Majesty King Charles III, 2022)

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Kaiser Wilhelm II

Christmas Eve, 1907

Giant blue carp and mince pies with the German Emperor.

Royal  Christmas Celebrations


King Albert I of Saxony

17 December 1901

Christmas in Dresden with the King of Saxony.


The Prince of Wales

Christmas Day, 1875

Christmas in India aboard the Royal Yacht.

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The Prince of Wales

27 December circa 1890s

Roast swan at Christmastide for the future King Edward VII.

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Queen Victoria's Christmas Tree at Windsor Castle, 1857

(Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2021)

Queen Victoria's Ladies-in-Waiting remember​


in their own words:

Baroness Georgiana Bloomfield

Maid of Honour to Queen Victoria


26 December 1842


"The Queen sent for us and Lady Canning at five o'clock on Saturday, and gave us each a Christmas-box. Mine is a brooch of dark blue and light blue enamel in the shape of a bow, with two rubies and a diamond. Miss Lister has a brooch something similar, and Lady Canning the bracelet always given to the Ladies of the Bedchamber, with a portrait of the Queen from Winterhalter's picture. The Queen also gave Lady Canning a nice Paisley shawl, and before dinner all the household received presents pins, studs, rings, etc. etc. After dinner there were three lovely Christmas trees, and there was some very pretty music in the evening."


Hon. Eleonor Stanley

Maid of Honour to Queen Victoria


24th December 1843


"We are just come in, having been to the Chapel, after walking in the slopes with the Queen; on coming home we were desired to wait in the gallery, where she presently came to us and presented us with our Christmas gifts; Lady Douro's is the usual Lady in Waiting's bracelet, with her picture, and Miss Hamilton's and mine are of enamel, with a little buckle of pearls, by way of clasp, very pretty, and it was so nice of her to give them herself instead of sending them by a dresser."


25th December 1847


"Yesterday evening we were desired, at a quarter to seven, to come down to the Corridor, to get our Gifts; we found all the gentlemen and Mrs. Anson already assembled, and presently the page desired us to go to the Oak-room, where the Queen and Prince already were, standing by a large table covered with a white cloth, in the middle of which was a little fir-tree, in the German fashion, covered with bonbons, gilt walnuts, and little coloured tapers...  Round this were all our presents, with the name of each person, written by the Queen on a slip of paper lying by the present; Caroline's and mine were two very pretty little chains for round the neck, with a hand in front, which holds the ring, to which is fastened a heart or locket; mine is in carbuncles and little diamonds, and Caroline's in Pave de Vienne, of the same pattern…


... After we had got ours, we followed the Queen and Prince to see their own presents, and the children's and the Duchess of Kent's. The latter's were, little statues of Princess Royal and Princess Alice, the size of life, from the Queen and Prince, and some other little trifles. The Queen's were the handsomest; some of the things very pretty, particularly a large drawing from one of Overbeck's cartoons, and several small bronze copies of old statues, the Hercules, etc. There were also some blue and diamond brooches, the Duchess of Kent gave her, very pretty.


The Prince's were also very nice ; the Queen's gifts were a small picture by Landseer, of herself and the two eldest children, standing by the Lake at Ardverikie, with a Highland man and pony near them—a beautiful picture; also a little sketch of a Magdalen by Winterhalter, very pretty. The children had each a little table with their new toys, and were running about in great glee showing them off ; Prince Alfred, in a glorious tinsel helmet that almost covered his face, was shooting us all with a new gun, and Princess Alice was making us admire her dolls, etc."


27th December 1851


"On Thursday night, Christmas, the dessert consisted almost entirely of the most lovely bonbons, dogs, men, steam-boats, etc., and the table was abandoned to pillage, everyone coming away loaded with spoils. The younger Royal infants were there during all dinner-time, the elder ones only came in to dessert. Princess Royal and Princess Alice looking very nice in little wreaths of holly ; the little ones went to bed directly after dinner, but Princess Royal and Prince of Wales sat up till ten; you can't think how simple and happy all the Royalty looked, just like any other family, of the most united and domestic tastes."

christmas memoirs
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