Party – British Style
The British are famously reserved, but we do enjoy an excuse to have a party. When the reason to party is Royal, we like to turn back time and party like we did as children. Royal occasions are often marked in England by street parties (block parties), or picnics in the park or at the beach with games. People make the best use of red white and blue clothing or adapt the Union Jack in ways that poke fun at British stereotypes, such as topping bowler hat with a little flag.
There’s no need to be a royalist, or even terribly patriotic. In the recent wave of royal-themed party excuses with the wedding of Prince William and Catherine, their baby, and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, the Queen’s 90th birthday, those with republican (in an anti-monarchist, rather than American political affiliation) sensibilities came along anyway, to celebrate living alongside nice neighbors in a wonderful country.
Food can be either traditional English high tea, fun finger foods from children’s parties, or if you’re feeling adventurous, a buffet selection incorporating food from across the Commonwealth, including dishes from the Indian sub continent, southern Africa, the Caribbean and the former colonies of Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Bake Like a Brit
If there’s one thing that we Brits know how to do it’s to bake a superior cake. Royal parties really call for a Victoria Sponge, named after Queen Victoria, and a staple of British party cooking. You can fill it with strawberries and cream, or raspberry jam, or my favorite, buttercream with a little rosewater, then topped with fresh rose petals from the garden. This book shows you how to bake like a Brit, with recipes for real English muffins, hot cross buns and more. Of course you can bake American cupcakes, but fairy cakes are their delicate British cousins, perfect for eating at a garden party.
Hang Out The Bunting
With the flags of the UK and the USA sharing the same colors, it’s easy to re-purpose many of your 4th of July decorations for a Royal British party. The British don’t go in much for flag flying, we tend to indicate that we are en fete with plenty of European style bunting, although balloons are popular too. If you want to go the whole hog, perhaps to surprise a British friend or neighbor, then Union Jack bunting will raise a smile.
Drink Like A Brit
Do not attempt to drink like a Brit unless you are from Northern Europe. You can enjoy a British style drink.
The Queen is partial to a gin and Dubonnet with a slice of lemon before lunch. Prince Phillip likes a pint of Boddington’s, whilst Charles prefers a dry Martini, or Laurent-Perrier champagne for celebrations. The Duchess of Cornwall drinks gin and tonic. Prince William likes Guinness, but the Duchess of Cambridge favors a Champagne and Chambord cocktail with strawberries. Prince Harry likes a vodka and Red Bull, and then another one.
The British Royal Family never, ever get drunk. They may get ‘tired and emotional‘, but never drunk. Make sure you follow their lead by having something to eat before, and during, any celebratory drinking. Fix yourself some cucumber sandwiches and be sure to cut the crusts off. The sandwich was invented to allow Brits to keep drinking and gambling without having to pause for meals, so any kind of sandwich is a Great British tradition.
Ahhh, Pimm’s, the quintessential British summer drink. Mix it up with ginger ale and add a slice of lemon and a spring of mint, or add lemon/lime soda, add some slices strawberries and cucumber and a few bruised mint leaves, serve with ice and you can almost hear the thwack of leather on willow. If you can get hold of Pimm’s, then do. Number One Cup is the summer choice, based on gin. Number Three has a brandy base for winter drinking.
If there’s one drink that makes a Brit feel right at home, it’s a proper cup of tea. One that you can ask for without having to say “hot” because what other kind is there? Treat a Brit today.
British Royal Style Halloween Costumes
There’s a lot of fun to be had for children, dressing as soldiers, knights, princes, princesses and kings and queens. The British Royal family tend to avoid fancy dress parties after Prince Harry was papped wearing a Nazi outfit to a party, an unwise choice. That doesn’t mean other people can’t have fun dressing up.
Being Queen is much cooler than being a Princess. The current Queen is the most recognised person in the world, and one of the most powerful women, so ditch that Disney Princess outfit, get a velvet cape and crown and go full regal. Alternatively, dress like the Queen really does, slip on some comfortable shoes, a nice tweed skirt and twin set, wrap a Liberty’s scarf around your hair and take a Corgi along if you can’t find a horse.
Let’s face it, a Royal Guard’s outfit is not designed for battle, it’s designed to look good in photographs, and make a little kid look big and impressive. It’s a super cool dress up outfit.
Being a knight is fun. You get to wield a sword and protect the honor of fair maidens (like your Mom), fighting off dragons as you go. You can even joust (with pool noodles). Richard III could have done with you at his side.