Do you ever wish you had two birthdays?
Well unfortunately such joys are reserved for royalty, and specifically the Queen who will celebrate her second birthday of the year – the official one as opposed to her actual date of birth – on its usual date on the second Monday of June in most territories (sorry Western Australia!). So how is best to celebrate the birthday of our Monarch? With a party of course!
There are generally a lot of club nights and huge parties to enjoy on the long weekend, but there is also fun to be had at home. There probably isn’t a more appropriate way to spend the 9th of June than with a tea party, celebrating the Commonwealth and appreciating the relationship between us and England. Here are some ideas for hosting your own birthday party in honour of Queen Liz.
Do A Downton
Downton Abbey has made Anglophiles of TV watchers all around the world, giving them a window into a world of manners and elegance. Why not evoke the same feeling in a dinner party or afternoon tea with friends? Ask everyone to dress up in their best finery – that means hats and gloves for the ladies – whip out the good china and glass, and serve up some traditional English treats such as a Victoria Sponge and cucumber sandwiches. In a perfect world, you would have a snarky butler to serve these dishes, but if not you’ll have to put an apron on over your finest clothes. Tea is an obvious choice but also think about a nice sparkling wine or soft drink to make it feel a little more like an evening affair, and of course the layout of the table is important – lay out a table cloth, cut some fresh flowers and serve with linen napkins.
Cheese and Tea
So we all love a cheese and wine party, and while that is an equally wonderful idea to celebrate the Queen’s birthday, non-drinkers may want to opt for cheese and tea. Try to have a variety of both the cheeses and teas, asking everyone who comes to contribute something to the table, and then taste to see which go best together; goats cheese is particularly good with a black Assam, Manchego works with Sencha green tea, and whiskey-flavoured cheddars tend to work well with the black, smoky Lapsang Souchong.
Traditional Afternoon Tea
If you’re short on money or time, there’s nothing wrong with a straightforward British afternoon tea. A few types of tea is preferable, although one good variety could work just as well, and the only food that is really need is a few cakes and some finger sandwiches which are simple to make with cupboard ingredients. Cucumber is the norm, although you could also try more extravagant options such as salmon and cream cheese – on white bread and without crusts, of course.
For the cakes you could bake some fairy cakes yourself or simply buy a ready-made selection from the shops, as it’s more about the presentation than anything else; lay them out on a tiered cake plate if you have one, or just on fine china. When your guests aren’t concerned with having a meal as such, clotted cream tea is a huge favourite for those comfortable making scones, as the only extras you’ll need are jam, clotted cream and a standard cup of English tea.
Queen Elizabeth’s 88th birthday is a fantastic opportunity to get together with friends and celebrate some of the cultural heritage of our country – preferably by sipping teas and nibbling on delicious food!