King of the United Kingdom
Every woman, rich or poor, gasped and marvelled as the Shah of Persia alighted from the royal train at Portsmouth to be greeted by King Edward VII.
Gracing the Shah’s hat was the largest pink diamond in the world: the 183 carat Dari-i-Noor, whose whereabouts today is unknown.
Edward VII, attired in the uniform of the Admiral of the Fleet, teasingly wore the medal of the Grand Order of the Garter which the Shah was so hoping to have conferred upon him, this day.
The King and Shah saluted each other and shook hands before walking along the red-carpeted jetty to the newly built royal yacht, His Majesty’s Yacht Victoria and Albert, where luncheon was about to be served.
“What happened on board I am not in a position to say”, wrote the correspondent for The Times in the following day’s edition.
Yet this menu now reveals that an eleven course grand banquet, starting with a crayfish bisque, happened on board. It was followed by dishes of lamb with creamed cucumber; roast grouse; whole dressed crabs; jellied meats; and a dessert of fried rice-cakes with poached greengages.
Despite the grand banquet, the Shah left very unhappy indeed. Instead of receiving the Grand Order of the Garter, he had to make do with a jewelled portrait of the King who, reportedly, had grimaced at the thought of giving a Christian decoration to a Muslim.
From the private Royal Menu Collection of © Jake Smith
Menu dated 20th August 1902
Luncheon aboard His Majesty’s Yacht Victoria and Albert, Portsmouth, hosted by Their Majesties King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom in honour of His Imperial Majesty the Shah of Persia, Mozaffar-e-Din
Crayfish bisque flavoured with Cognac, white whine, cayenne pepper; and thickened with crème fraîche
Mayonnaise de Poisson
Steamed moulds of pounded fish mixed with mayonnaise, egg and flour, to accompany the bisque
Côtelettes d’agneau aux Concombres
Lamb cutlets that are first coated in a white sauce before being crumbed and fried; and served with creamed cucumber
Poulets à l’Estragon
Poached chicken breasts dressed in a cream of tarragon
sauce flavoured with arrowroot
Viandes froides à la Gelée
Jellied Cold Meats (no pork products given the
King’s Muslim guests)
Salade de tomates
Purée de choufleurs, gratinée
Puréed cauliflower topped with a breadcrumb and cheese crust
Pains de riz à la Cintra
Small cakes made from rice-flour which have been steeped in cream, floured and then fried
Compôte de Reine Claude
Poached greengages (wild green plums) named after Queen Claude, wife of King Francis I of France
Lunch guests: photo taken aboard HMY Victoria and Albert on the day of this royal banquet, 20 August 1902. Seated in the front row (left to right): the Prince of Wales (future King George V); Shah of Persia; Queen Alexandra; King Edward VII; and Princess Victoria of Wales.
Set for dinner: the dining room aboard the Royal Yacht Victoria and Albert ; and a clipping from The Times with the Court Circular for 20th August 1902.