Archive for the ‘British Royalty’ Category

With the Coronation of Charles III and Camilla kicking off on Saturday, May 6, we Janeites have much to look forward to! Whether you enjoy following along with the Royal Family, can’t wait to see the grandiose pomp and pageantry, or want to know more about England and the many historic traditions surrounding the Crown, the Coronation provides a historic moment we won’t soon forget.

Watch Live or Later:

Whether you’re planning to set your alarm and watch it live (for those of us who don’t live in England), watch the recorded proceedings later in the day, or attend a watch party or live event, there is something for everyone. For a schedule of events for this 3-day affair, you can read “The Full Schedule of Events for Coronation Weekend” (Town & Country).

Worldwide Celebration:

People from around the world will tune in for this incredible event. In England, this is a 3-day weekend with plenty of celebrations to enjoy, including an extra Bank Holiday on Monday! If you live in England, you probably have a plan in place to either watch live with friends or perhaps you’ve traveled to London to participate in the city-wide celebrations. If so, please take photos and send them to us here at Jane Austen’s World!

If you don’t live in England, there are two major options: Either get up early and watch it live or watch a recording later in the day. If you’re a true, die-hard fan, you’ll be up early, dressed to the nines, with your tea service ready and fresh scones in the oven. If you’re like me, you’ll get up early to watch some of it live, but also plan something later in the day so that your family members can participate as well!

Ways to Celebrate at Home:

I’m planning to make a weekend of it, so that I can enjoy the Coronation itself and some of my favorite documentaries about the Royal family. While I’ll always remain loyal to Queen Elizabeth II, and though I do have quite a soft spot for William and Kate, I’m looking forward to seeing my very first coronation!

To make the weekend special (and to lure my family into watching with me), I’m planning plenty of special food and drink! If you’d like to create your own British tea party at home, you can keep it simple with tea and cookies, cakes, or biscuits or you can create a fancier spread!

To read about the difference between afternoon tea, high tea, and cream tea, check this out: “Afternoon Tea vs. High Tea vs. Cream Tea: A Brief Tutorial” (The Spice & Tea Shoppe).

Delicious Magazine: Coronation Recipes

Cream Tea:

I’m planning on making cream tea, which is tea and scones with clotted cream and jam. The best cream tea I ever had was in Lyme Regis on a JASNA Pathfinders tour. It was rainy and cold that day, and my friend and I tucked into a tiny hole-in-the-wall bakery for a bite to eat. We ordered a cream tea and I will never forget how good it tasted!

If you’re curious about the English tradition of Cream Tea, you can read more HERE. Cream Tea is “most often associated with the West Country, i.e. Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset. It usually consists of scones, clotted cream or butter, strawberry jam, and of course, tea” (The Spice & Tea Shoppe).

To create your own cream tea at home, you’ll need tea, scones, clotted cream (or butter), and jam! I prefer making my own scones, but you can also find scones at many bakeries or a mix at the grocery store.

Culinary Ginger, “Clotted Cream for Afternoon Tea”

A Cuppa:

You can drink any type of tea you like, but if you want to truly enjoy a “cuppa” the way the British people drink it, you’ll want to try something traditional. In “How do British tea drinking habits compare with other Europeans?”, you can see some of the top favorites:

Many British people enjoy milk in their tea, but usually without any sweetener. I personally enjoy honey and milk in my tea. I drink a delightful herbal tea that is everyone’s favorite in my house. I buy Bourbon Street Vanilla Rooibos from the English Tea Store.

If you don’t like tea (otherwise known as “hot brown water,” according to Ted Lasso), you might try it with milk and honey. I’ve turned quite a few people into tea-lovers with that special combo!


True British scones are more like an American biscuit in shape and texture than the type of scones you find at Starbucks. I’ve never met a scone I didn’t like, but if you’d like to make a more traditional British scone, you won’t be disappointed.

This scone recipe receives high marks from BBCGoodFood.com: Classic scones with jam & clotted cream.

Clotted Cream:

But how does one find clotted cream if one does not live in England? Many specialty food stores and gourmet supermarkets now carry clotted cream. You can usually find it in the dairy section, the deli area, or the artisan cheese section. Pictured here is Devon clotted cream, which I can usually find at Whole Foods:

But you can also make it at home! The trick is finding heavy whipping cream that isn’t ultra-pasteurized (which is sadly much harder to find in the U.S. in the past few years). Here’s a recipe if you’d like to try it by the Curious Cuisiniere: Homemade Clotted Cream.

Jam or Cream-Which comes first?

You can choose whichever jam you like. I love strawberry jam on my scones! But here’s the real debate about jam and clotted cream: Which goes on the scone first? Do you put the cream on first and then the jam? Or is it the other way around?

For most Americans, I think we’d automatically say it’s cream first and then jam, since we usually butter our biscuits and toast first and then add jam second. But in England, there’s a big debate about which one goes first: “While those in Devon typically spread the clotted cream first followed by jam, the Cornish tradition is to spread jam first followed by cream” (The Independent).

The Sun reports that the Queen herself prefers jam first. Thus, if you want to eat your scones like the Queen, you know what to do. You can read all about it HERE.

Tea with Biscuits:

If you prefer biscuits with your tea, there are many to choose from. I’m personally obsessed with chocolate Digestives and chocolate Hob Nobs. British people love their biscuits and are quite opinionated about which are the best, particularly for dunking.

Apparently, the most “dunkable” biscuits are Jaffa Cakes, according to a recent study: “The best biscuits for dunking, according to science – so is YOUR favourite on the list?” (The Daily Mail)

But if you’re interested in knowing the most popular biscuits in England, The Sun has all the answers. If you’d like to try some of the top biscuits yourself, you can read more here: “CHOCCY WOCCY DOO DAH Britain’s top 20 favourite biscuits revealed – but do YOU agree?”

Victoria Sponge:

If you really want to take it to another level and pretend you’re under the tent at The Great British Baking Show, you can try Mary Berry’s famous Victoria Sandwich Cake for your Coronation dessert! This is next-level baking, and it’s something I’ve always wanted to try. I like this recipe from The English Kitchen because it lists ingredients in British grams and American measurements: “Mary Berry’s Victoria Sandwich Cake.”

Tea Sandwiches:

If you’re planning to spend the day or weekend watching Coronation events, it’s best to plan on sandwiches as well. Otherwise, tea with scones, biscuits, and/or cake might be a bit too sweet! You can make a tray or a tiered tower of your own favorite sandwiches or prepare several classic tea sandwiches.

According to BBCGoodFood.com, here are the “15 best afternoon tea sandwich ideas.” I personally love anything with cream cheese and cucumbers, but my family likes something with a bit more protein involved!

Make it a Celebration:

If you want to decorate your table, get out your fine china tea cups, dress up, or even invite people over, the sky’s the limit. You can decorate a sun hat with real or faux flowers, cut out paper crowns, or print your own invitations.

Whether you’re planning to make a weekend of it or if you’re just going to watch the highlights, this is an event to remember.

If you’re planning something special, which I’m sure many of you are, please comment below. We’d love to hear from you over the next few days as we all enjoy the beauty of this historic moment in time!

RACHEL DODGE teaches college English classes, gives talks at libraries, teas, and book clubs, and writes for Jane Austen’s World blog. She is the bestselling author of The Little Women DevotionalThe Anne of Green Gables Devotional and Praying with Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen. Now Available: The Secret Garden Devotional! You can visit Rachel online at www.RachelDodge.com.

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As the entire world mourned the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II this last two weeks, I have spent time honoring her life and reign, learning more about her personality and leadership, and watching countless hours of television coverage.

I was home on September 8, 2022 and watching the news, as I had heard the reports of her health failing. When her death was announced and the national anthem played, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing or seeing; it was so surreal.

Once reality set in, I found myself weeping.

Her Majesty, the Queen

The Queen was a beautiful lady in every respect, a wonderful wife and mother, and an exemplary queen. And though I honor her role as the Queen of England, I most admire her character, her steadfastness, and her strong faith.

The beautiful sight of a double rainbow over Buckingham Palace just before her death was announced, and the sound of the crowd outside the Palace singing “God Save the Queen” right after, brought immense joy to my heart. Her life meant so much to so many people.

Photo: Yahoo!News

Days of Remembrance

Her Majesty’s funeral was quite touching, as were the many other events and processions leading up to it, especially the Vigil held by her grandchildren.

Vigil at Westminster Hall

I watched the funeral processional and funeral service on television and read the Committal program. As I read and listened, I greatly admired the thoughtful prayers, Bible verses, and songs that were selected. Everything was quite fitting for such an honorable woman of such deep conviction.

The Committal Program

Her Life

Like many of you, I enjoy exploring the many biographies, movies, miniseries, and documentaries about the Queen, the history of the House of Windsor, and the Royal Family. I think that we honor people best when we spend time finding out more about their lives, experiences, and history.

Below are a few of my all-time favorites. There are countless others to explore.

The Queen (2006)

The Queen, starring Helen Mirren, is a 2006 British film that depicts the events following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997. Initially, the Queen and Royal Family regarded Diana’s death as a private affair and thus not to be treated as an official royal death, in contrast with the views of then Prime Ministry Tony Blair and Diana’s ex-husband, Prince Charles (now King Charles III), who both favored an official, public expression of grief.


The Crown (2015)

As most of you probably know, The Crown is a fascinating and resplendent Netflix television series that follows the political rivalries and romance of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and the events that shaped the second half of the twentieth century.

IMDB Trivia: “The series is one of the most expensive television series ever made. Each episode is budgeted at £5 million and it had already been commissioned for two seasons, with the intention of four more, before the first episode had even been completed, or any episode broadcast.”


The Royal House of Windsor (2017)

Drawing on newly available evidence, The Royal House of Windsor, an epic Netflix series, explores the Windsor dynasty’s gripping family saga, providing fresh insights into how our royal family have survived four generations of crisis.

I have watched this series twice, as so much of it was absolutely fascinating to me and my family. There was so much that we did not know about the Windsor family that helped connect many dots for us.


Listed below are several lists of other documentaries, films, and television series you might be interested in watching:

Biographies on Queen Elizabeth II

There are, of course, dozens of books you can read about the Queen, her life, her family, and her reign. I love reading biographies, but I have yet to read one about Queen Elizabeth II. I’ve been perusing these lists, in order to select 1-2 biographies I’d like to read:

The biography I’ve had in my Amazon cart for quite some time is The Faith of Queen Elizabeth: The Poise, Grace, and Quiet Strength Behind the Crown by Dudley Delffs because I have always admired and been curious about the Queen’s personal faith.

Book Description: “Discover the inspiring spiritual legacy of Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning monarch in British history. Sharing a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the life of this notoriously private monarch, The Faith of Queen Elizabeth features intimate stories and inspiring reflections on the personal faith behind the Crown.”

Life and Legacy

If, like me, you enjoy learning more about Britain’s current Royal family and British history as a whole, I hope that this commemoration of HM Queen Elizabeth II’s life has been meaningful. Please comment below with your favorite shows, biographies, and resources so we can all learn more about her life and legacy. Finally, please share what Queen Elizabeth’s life and reign have meant to you.

RACHEL DODGE teaches college English classes, gives talks at libraries, teas, and book clubs, and writes for Jane Austen’s World blog. She is the bestselling author of The Little Women DevotionalThe Anne of Green Gables Devotional and Praying with Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen. Her new book The Secret Garden Devotional releases October 31. You can visit Rachel online at www.RachelDodge.com.

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Inquiring readers, Patty Saffran from Brandy Parfums has followed up her lovely post on the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee schedule with a report on the magnificent Household Cavalry Horse Escort. You are treated to a sneak preview of an article that will be published in the July issue of Horse Directory Magazine. Accompanying this post is the layout of her article . You might also be interested in a piece she wrote for us about the horses in Georgette Heyer’s novels. Thank you, Patty, for keeping us in the loop and updating us on these wonderful horses.

First page of the article. Click on image to view the photos in more detail.

The three-month-long elaborate celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee continued with the Household Cavalry in the spotlight on June 5, 2012. The Queen was first driven by car to St. Paul’s Cathedral for a service of thanksgiving. In the Cathedral, the Household Calvary State Trumpeters, wearing gold state dress, greeted the Queen by playing the powerful fanfares for which they are well-known. Upon leaving the cathedral, the Queen walked past an honor guard from branches of the military. Captain Alex Owen of the Household Calvary Mounted Regiment (HCMR) wrote, We had a six man step lining party outside the cathedral from HCMR. They were commanded by Captain Roly Spiller [Adjutant-HCMR] who was in overall command of the Tri-service step liners.

Mercury and his drummer, CoH Kent, ready to plod on down to Westminster.

The Queen was next driven to the Lord Mayor’s residence, Mansion House, for a reception and then on to the Palace of Westminster for a special luncheon. The event that all horse enthusiasts were waiting for came next. The Queen along with the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall stepped into the 1902 State Landau pulled by six Windsor Grey horses from the Royal Mews. (This landau which was built for King Edward VII’s Coronation was in the news last year when it carried Prince William and his bride, Catherine, to Buckingham Palace after the royal wedding.) As the Duke of Edinburgh was in the hospital, the number of landaus was abbreviated to two instead of three. One other state landau pulled by two Cleveland Bays, also from the Royal Mews, followed the Queen with the heirs the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. Originally many more carriages were to be included, but a decision was made to simplify this procession. This determination unfortunately reduced the number of beautiful ceremonial horses, a main element of the pageantry. Some wondered why the Queen chose not to use the ornate Gold State Coach built in 1762 for George III, which would have been more spectacular. The Gold State Coach was the Queen’s coach of choice for the 2002 Golden Jubilee. One opinion offered is that the Gold State Coach, built so long ago, has no shock absorbers and the Queen has a bad back (a common complaint from many who ride frequently.) The other reason given is that the Thames flotilla celebrating the Queen’s 60 year reign was so elaborate on June 3rd that they did not want to overdo the parade to the Buckingham Palace with too much splendor. Yet another reason a landau was used, and not an enclosed ornate coach, is that more people would see the Queen in the open State Landau. It is a pity that a more ornate coach was not used such as the Irish State Coach that the Queen rode in on May 9th to open Parliament this year. A larger procession of carriages would have made horse lovers and all other spectators enjoy the spectacle even more.

All disappointment about not having a grand procession of carriages disappeared when preceding the Queen’s landau and Sovereign’s Escort, the double Household Cavalry Mounted Band made up of 53 musicians and horses appeared on the parade route. In case readers are wondering, the band was not part of the royal wedding last year.

Military bands from various regiments had already marched down the Mall and positioned themselves along the route. The Irish Guards played near Buckingham Palace for the crowd near the Palace Gates.

Led by heavy horses Achilles and Mercury with their enormous double-sided silver drums and banners and with their riders in ultimate festive attire, the entire Household Calvary Mounted Band passed the thousands of cheering spectators lining the parade route. Achilles of the Life Guards and Mercury of the Blues and Royals had waxed handlebar moustaches. While on parade, the drum horses assume the rank of Major (!) (A fantastic Munnings painting that pays homage to the beauty of the drum horse was on display at the Kentucky Horse Park’s 2002 exhibition “All the Queen’s Horses”.)

The Queen’s landau and Sovereign’s Escort

Of particular interest to American horsemen, the Queen’s horses including the Royal Mews horses and race horses are trained according to Monty Robert’s methods (The Man who Listens to Horses). He has also been a consultant to the Household Cavalry and has started drum horses for them.

Captain Alex Owen of the Household Calvary’s Blues and Royals Squadron wrote to me that the horses on parade have a sense of the importance of the occasion and appear to walk with pride. Captain Owen also wrote that the riders may seem to be expert horsemen, but most learned to ride only recently as part of their military training. Many will be rotated back to Afghanistan after their participation in ceremonial duties.

Those who think perfect horse manoeuvres for the Jubilee came easily should realize that many rehearsals and much time was spent to make everything run smoothly. Leading up to the event, Captain Roly Spiller, Adjutant of the Household Calvary Mounted Regiment (HCMR) said, “He had Early Morning Rehearsal for the Queen’s Birthday Parade and were out early again for the Jubilee rehearsal on Friday (stables at 0330 hrs and 0230 hrs respectively!), having already been out early in the morning for further internal rehearsals, so it was a long week.”

Second page of the article, somewhat cropped.

From Westminster, the Sovereign’s Escort of four divisions of 116 men and horses of the Household Calvary escorted the Queen up Whitehall, through the Admiralty Arch and down the Mall to Buckingham Palace. This was a longer route, which meant many more people could see the procession than the usual shorter route through the Horse Guards Parade to the Mall. Captain Roly Spiller wrote ,”Today (June 4th ) has been our final day of preparations for the Jubilee Procession tomorrow. We have been practicing for the Stair-Lining Party outside St Paul’s Cathedral this morning, as well as exercising the horses to ensure they are not too fresh for tomorrow’s parade. Unusually, we will be coming through Admiralty Arch, rather than Horse Guards, so I hope it will be a really impressive sight coming down the Mall.”

Drum Horses Achilles and Mercury and the Household Calvary Mounted Band

The Horse Guards Parade was the staging ground for the King’s Troop Gun Salute. Captain Roly Spiller of the HCMR wrote, As it turns out, the noise bowl [the bleachers at Buckingham Palace] was manageable, as the horses were more concerned about the Gun Salute that the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery was firing from Horse Guards. However, with some determined riding, everyone kept the Escort moving. All in all, we were pleased (and relieved!) with how it went.”

The King’s Troop of 53 horses and 71 troops that form the Queen’s Saluting Battery included six teams of six horses to position gun carriages with thirteen pounder state saluting guns from WWI. The Troops fired a sixty gun salute honoring the Queen in the Horse Guards Parade, which was what concerned the Household Calvary passing nearby. The King’s Troop were originally created by the Queen’s father, King George VI, in 1947 to honor the role of the horse in pre-mechanized warfare.

Among those Household Calvary horses in the procession to Buckingham Palace was a troop favorite, Thomas. He is one of the oldest horses in the regiment. At 24, he is due to retire to the farm of one of the farriers right after the festivities. Thomas is well-liked among the Troopers because he rewards those who give him treats with a sloppy kiss.

The Queen escorted by the Commanding Officer on the rear right wheel.

Another favorite horse in the HCMR Blues and Royals Squadron who also participated in the procession is six-year-old Llamrei (pronounced Clam-Rye). He is named after King Arthur’s charger. Around the stable, Llamrei is affectionately called Sausage. Captain Owen wrote, “Llamrei joined the regiment in November. When he was only recently broke and after four months of training to carry the state kit, Llamrei has now started to earn his keep by helping the soldiers muck out in the mornings with a broom between his teeth.”

The popular drum horse Digger missed the procession this time. He was at the Defence Animal Centre in Leicestershire which trains animals and runs courses on animal handling for the military.

The beauty of the perfectly groomed Royal Mews, King’s Troops and Household Calvary horses in high gloss tack, and riders wearing gleaming brass and colorful uniforms made a superb display for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee that millions will never forget.

Note to readers: A new book with beautiful photographs has just been published: “Uniquely British-Behind the Scenes with the Household Cavalry” by Christopher Joll, Edited by Lt. Col Dan E Hughes HCMR Commanding Officer. Tricorn Books, UK 29 Pounds Sterling. Available in the USA from about July 18, 2012 at http://www.amazon.com

All proceeds from this book go to the Household Calvary Central Charitable Fund for HCR and HCMR veterans and their families, and for the regimental horses. More about this charity can be found at http://www.operationalcasualtiesfund.co.uk

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