UK palace staff lifts lid on wedding preparations

Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:03am EDT
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By Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters) - Staff at Buckingham Palace have lifted the lid on preparations for Prince William's wedding next month, giving an insight into what guests can expect and the amount of work needed to make it a success.

From cooks and hospitality planners to cloakroom attendants, employees at Queen Elizabeth's London residence are finalizing plans for the reception which will follow William's marriage to girlfriend Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey on April 29.

"For a lot of people it will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Mark Flanagan, the queen's head chef.

Flanagan, who has worked with some of the world's top chefs such as Raymond Blanc, and his 21-strong team will be responsible for preparing dishes for the 600 guests invited to the reception.

While he declined to say what canapes and dishes he would be serving up, 43-year-old Flanagan said it would show off the "best of British produce."

The kitchen staff usually create on average 550 meals a day for the most junior staff to the queen herself, with much of the produce sourced from the monarch's estates around Britain.

Edward Griffiths, the Deputy Master of the Household who is responsible for hospitality, catering and housekeeping at the palace, said he had been working on plans since the couple announced their engagement last November.

"It's a very joyous occasion and preparations are going very well," he said.   Continued...

<p>Jennifer Scott, Assistant Curator of Paintings, sits in the Picture Gallery, which will be used during the wedding reception of Prince William and Kate Middleton, at Buckingham Palace, March 25, 2011. REUTERS/Nick Ansell/POOL</p>