Royal Family's Christmas dinner menu at Windsor Castle confuses fans

Royal fans have been left baffled by the Christmas dinner menu's unfamiliar language

Royal Family's Christmas dinner menu at Windsor Castle confuses fans
(Image credit: Getty)

A photo of the Royal Family's Christmas dinner menu from Queen Victoria's reign has caused confusion online, as royal fans grapple to understand its lineup of unfamiliar dishes. 

Folks have been left baffled by the Royal Family's Christmas dinner menu at Windsor Castle after a photo of its dishes was shared online. 

The confusion comes as King Charles III hosts a special lunch for his relatives at the iconic Berkshire estate, in what will be His Majesty's first festive season as monarch. 

The Royal Collection Trust (RCT) posted an image of Queen Victoria's Christmas dinner menu on its official Instagram on Tuesday, much to the delight of its 510k followers. The historical document dates back to 1899, less than two years before the long-reigning monarch died. 

According to the RCT, Queen Victoria hosted 31 guests and 19 family members at the 1,000-year-old castle for a "festive evening dinner" of "different dishes." 

Royal fans have been quick to share their reaction to the 'beautifully decorated' menu, with many hailing it as a fascinating insight into the British monarchy's older traditions. 

"Wow - this is amazing," one person wrote, while another commented, "What an amazing snippet of history." 

Some, however, have been scratching their heads over one notable detail - its language. 

With the exception of the title, which reads, "Her Majesty's Dinner, Christmas Day, 1899", the entire menu is written in French. The unfamiliar words have left many Anglophones dumbstruck, as they grapple to find an accurate translation for the extravagant dishes. Others have questioned the reason behind the use of French, considering the Royal Family primarily communicates in English. 

"But WHY in French?" one person wrote. 

The royal tradition of writing menus en français dates back to the Norman Conquest in the 11th century when French became the official language of the court. The Royal Family has upheld the practice for its formal dinners to this day, with many of the monarch's state banquets still delivering their menus in French. 


Queen Elizabeth II reading a menu 

(Image credit: Getty)

"If the Queen hosts a dinner at Buckingham Palace, the menu is normally in French", Grant Harrold, King Charles's former butler, told The Huffington Post. "When she and the Duke hosted dinner following the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales, it was done in their style, with the menus in French."

Fortunately, the RCT has taken note of its followers' confusion and posted a translation of the historic menu. 

For starters, Queen Victoria's guests enjoyed 'Consommé Monaco and Soupe du Berry', which is 'traditionally a cream of cauliflower soup.' This was followed by a plate of 'Sole fillet à la Vassant', or 'fried smelts' in a 'Verneuil sauce'. After enjoying an entrée of poultry cutlets, diners were served 'chine of pork' and roast beef. Asparagus with hollandaise sauce, mince pies, plum pudding, and orange jelly made up the dessert menu.

"Vegetables would have been included with the meat and fish options, but aren't listed as separate dishes," the RCT added, after some royal fans noted the lack of greens in the indulgent menu. 

Emma Dooney
News and lifestyle writer

Emma is a Lifestyle News Writer for Goodto. Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, she mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.