Friday, June 24, 2011

How a Prince Parties

Marissa’s written several posts on George the IV, who became Prince Regent two hundred years ago, in 1811. This week marked the anniversary of his first official party, a Grand Fete to celebrate the exiled French royal family.

Wait, what?

Yes, celebrating the French does seem like an odd way to began your march toward ruling Britain. After all, in June 1811 Napoleon’s army was still madly fighting away, and British troops were dying on foreign battlefields. Then too, June was traditionally when the King, George’s father, held his birthday party, and he was too ill to attend. So partying, for any reason, seemed a bit crass.

But that didn’t stop Prinny. He invited 2,000 of England’s elite as well as the younger brothers and family of the executed King Louis XVI to join him at nine in the evening on June 19 at his Carlton House address in London. More than 60 servants in blue livery with gold lace served hot and cold soups, roast beef, and exotic fruits, and champagne and fine wine flowed. The supper table was so long it crossed the dining room and ran down the center of the conservatory beyond, the entire length groaning under the weight of all the silver serving dishes and place settings. To top things off, a stream meandered down the center of the table, bubbling from a fountain in front of the Prince. Little bridges spanned the stream, flowers and moss decorated its banks, and live goldfish wove through the waters.

Well, live for awhile. The poor things quickly asphyxiated and lay there dying, causing more than one guest to lose his appetite. But that wasn’t the only thing that gave the rest of the Prince’s subjects pause. The entire affair cost 120,000 pounds, an amount equivalent to more than 4 million pounds (or 6 million dollars) today.

Well, that’s one way to start your summer. Here’s another. If you can be in New York City on Tuesday, June 28, stop by the Marriott Marquis Times Square. More than 500 (yes, you read that right—five hundred!) authors of romantic fiction will be signing books for charity from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. Marissa and I will be among that number. We’d love to have you say hi! More on our New York travels next week.

And even if you can’t get to New York, don’t forget to comment on any post between now and July 12 for a chance to win an Irresistible Earl tote and goodies!


Ladybrinx said...

Amazing the extravagance that was flaunted at the party. Crazy to think what a spectacle it would be today. Enjoy the convention.

Regina Scott said...

I agree, Ladybrinx. He took entertaining to an entirely new level, and not a good one!

Rachel said...

Wow! I'm sure the lower classes were a bunch of grumbletonians after hearing about the cost of that party!