Tag Archives: royal wedding

Royal Wedding Cake By Mail

Royal Wedding Cake

William and Catherine's wedding cake

Here’s a new reason to check the mailbox every day: wedding cake in the mail.

Apparently, it is a tradition in the British Royal Family to mail pieces of wedding cake to people who were unable to be invited to the wedding itself.

The cake, which is usually a dense fruitcake to ensure that it has a long shelf-life, is sliced into slivers and placed in cake boxes specially made for the purpose.

The tradition dates back to at least 1840 and Queen Victoria’s wedding cake.

Queen Victoria Wedding PartySince Queen Victoria – and her husband, Albert – were related to many of the most influential heads of state around the world, it would have been very important personally and diplomatically that each of them receive a slice of cake in recognition of their connection.

However, for as long as the Royal Family has mailed their wedding cake, there have been instances of wedding cake mail theft. So if you think there’s any chance that a slice is still on its way to your home, make sure you don’t let it linger in your mailbox!

Here is a photo of a preserved piece of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s wedding cake from 1840 – making it more than 170 years old!

Piece of Queen Victoria's wedding cake

Piece of Queen Victoria's wedding cake

If you’re still interested in trying the “official royal fruitcake,” here’s a recipe from the cake designer and baker who created Prince William and Catherine Middleton’s wedding cake, Fiona Cairns.

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Filed under Europe, Learn

Stories Fit for a Prince or a Princess

Reading with kidsWith the British royal wedding only a few days away, royal fever seems to be gripping many people around the world.

And since I enjoy any excuse to read with my child, it seems like a good time to introduce some royalty-themed books into our nightly routine.

The Prince’s Bedtime by Joanne Oppenheim and illustrated by Miriam Latimer is a wonderful read even if your little guy – like mine – isn’t too interested in the royal wedding. The problem facing the king and queen is universal: how do I get my child to fall asleep? All parents will be able to relate to the prince in the story who is only too willing to let his parents jump through hoops to get him to sleep at a reasonable hour. But it’s one wise old woman who finds the way to send him off to dreamland, no hoops required.

The Princess and the White Bear King by Tanya Robyn Batt and illustrated by Nicoletta Ceccoli combines Greek myths and Norwegian folk tales to spin a story of a brave young princess who withstands many trials, and her own foolishness, to win a husband worth having.

The Real Princess: A Mathemagical Tale by Brenda Williams and illustrated by Sophie Fatus is a mathematical take on the classic story of the Princess and the Pea. In this story, math plays a much greater role in the discovery of a real princess fit to marry the prince and take over the kingdom. Any parent who’s ever struggled with the stereotype that girls don’t like math will want to scoop this book up and make it part of their nightly reading ritual.

The Seven Wise Princesses: A Medieval Persian Epic by Wafa’ Tarnowska and illustrated by Nilesh Mistry is a great book to introduce children to Persian literature, which has been a dominant force for centuries. This book is based on a poem by Nizami, a Sufi poet who was born in the 12th century in what is today Azerbaijan. With ten stories told by different princesses from China to India to Greece to Morocco, it is a wonderful way to introduce children to folk tales from other cultures.

For more great books to read, check out the Barefoot Books website and KidCulture’s Amazon.com reading list.

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Filed under Africa, Asia, Europe, Listen, Middle East, Read

Countdown to the British Royal Wedding

Prince William Kate MiddletonLike a lot of people, I think the upcoming British royal wedding is exciting. There’s something escapist and fairy-tale-come-to-life about all weddings but when you add in a few princes, a queen, a beautiful bride and all the pomp and circumstance the British can muster, well then you’ve got yourself an event!

But did you know that 22 percent of the world’s countries have some form of a monarchy? More than 40 countries have either a constitutional or active monarch. Six have an absolute monarchy.

The global number of royal families increases dramatically when you take into account tribal monarchies that exist in many parts of Africa, including the country in which I served in the Peace Corps, Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso had many royal families. Some reigned over no more than a small village. Others were part of a powerful dynasty that continued to exert political, moral, religious, and social influence.

Perhaps that is the great allure of royalty today. Even without power, the idea of a monarchy still has the ability to influence us and to connect us.

Hopefully, this influence is wielded in a positive way such as when the late Princess Diana shook hands with HIV/AIDS victims, dispelling the myth that the disease could be transmitted through casual contact.

Princess DianaShe also called for an international landmine ban to help countries such as Angola whose people, especially women and children, have suffered so much from the use of landmines.

Her sons continue to do a lot of good by drawing attention to health, economic, and education issues in Africa.

So while we revel in the idea of designer wedding gowns, exotic honeymoons, glass carriages, and parties at the palace, it’s also good to remember the good that can – and should – be done when people choose to use their influence to make the world a better place.

And it’s also important to remember that each of us has that influence within our own social sphere.

Children, in particular, understand this. The argument that they might be a “good example” for someone else, especially a younger sibling or other relative or friend, is a powerful idea and one that parents should feel free to employ.

It’s also important to talk about who is a good role model for them and why. As parents, we need to explain that wealth and power are not in themselves good enough reasons to admire someone. But it’s what each of us does with the resources and the influence that we have that really determines whether or not we are admirable.

And we have the same obligation to use our resources and influence as appropriately as the Queen of England.

Maybe even more so.

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Filed under Africa, Europe