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Inside the royal kitchen ahead of Harry and Meghan’s wedding

The royal kitchen at Windsor Castle where preparations are underway for the reception banquet after the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
The royal kitchen at Windsor Castle where preparations are underway for the reception banquet after the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding reception guests will be served classic dishes made from seasonal British produce - much from the Queen’s own estates.

Harry and his bride-to-be have tasted and selected their wedding reception menu, which will be created by staff from the royal kitchens at Windsor Castle in the coming days.

Royal chef Mark Flanagan is leading the team who on Saturday will put the finishing touches to the canapes and bowl dishes being served during the afternoon event hosted by the Queen in the castle’s St George’s Hall.

Mr Flanagan said: “The day of the wedding has fallen very kindly for us. All the British vegetables are just coming into season... and that’s been a point of focus for us.

“We know the couple wanted us to make sure we used all of the local seasonal produce as much as possible throughout their menu, and this recent good weather is really helping us to achieve that.

“(For) all their decisions, we purely made suggestions and the couple... they’ve tasted everything, they’ve been involved in every detail.”

Harry and Meghan will marry at Windsor Castle’s St George’s Chapel, and after their carriage ride through the streets of Windsor, they will join their 600 wedding guests for the St George’s Hall reception.

The sweet and savoury canapes that will be served are made to be consumed in two bites, while the bowl dishes can be eaten standing up.

The food is likely to be washed down with champagne and wine from the extensive royal cellars and soft drinks.

The head chef would not discuss the dishes in detail but produce like asparagus, peas and tomatoes are in season - providing a wealth of options for the culinary expert who has worked for some of the world’s best chefs, like Michel and Albert Roux and Raymond Blanc.

In a bid to keep as many ingredients as possible British and local, Mr Flanagan’s team have sourced them from the Home Counties and lands associated with the Queen like Windsor. he said: “We are using produce off Her Majesty’s estates and that features very much.”

He added: “We’ve really just been trying to let the ingredients stand proud within the dishes. There’s no experimentation on Saturday whatsoever, tried and tested and predominantly classics.”

Preparations for the reception begin early this week, and after trials and tests, all the 30 kitchen staff working on Saturday know in great detail the job ahead of them.

In the next few days, they will start washing and peeling vegetables, and getting other produce ready so on Saturday “it’s the minimum amount of cooking and maximum amount of presentation time”, the royal chef said.

The wedding dinner is being staged at Frogmore House by the Prince of Wales, with different caterers responsible for the private event for 200 guests.

The royal chef said he and his team started preparing for the wedding before the couple requested their services.

Mr Flanagan said: “Once the wedding announcement was made, we started to work on some ideas, about what we would do if we were asked to be involved, so we were able to get into the trial situation early in March.”

Harry and Meghan visited Windsor Castle to sample the menu suggestions in the castle’s Great Kitchen.

It dates from the reign of the 14th century monarch Edward III and is believed to be the oldest working kitchen in the country, having served more than 30 monarchs, including the Queen.

Mr Flanagan said: “This is the great kitchen of Windsor Castle, an absolute pleasure to work in surrounded by the most amazing battery of copper (pots).”

He added that working to prepare dishes for the royal nuptials created a sense of pride for himself and his staff: “All weddings are great celebrations and it is an honour for all of our team to have some small part to play in that celebration.”