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Prince Charles and Camilla

Camilla suggests a change to a British teatime staple but would Queen Victoria be amused?

Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall
i-Images/ Pool

It’s an enduring favourite on tea tables around the UK, famously crafted to perfection by members of the Women’s Institute and named after Queen Victoria. But now, another royal has added a rather unusual twist, quite literally, to the mix. For the Duchess of Cornwall has suggested a change to the filling of that archetypal English tea time treat, the Victoria sponge.

For decades, the two tiered plain sponge has been held together with jam and either fresh cream or buttercream. However, the Duchess has revealed that she prefers lemon curd and suddenly, we have a minor royal revolution on our hands.

The suggestion came as Camilla shared her favourite cake recipe as part of preparations for Poetry Together which will see communities join forces to share their love of poems and cake. On National Poetry Day, October 7th 2021, schools and care homes around the UK are being asked to get together to recite their a poem and share a tea party while they are at it. Organisations that want to get involved can register on the official website where they can see other groups in their area looking for partners. Once paired up, they pick one poem to all learn off by heart and then on the big day, young and old get together to recite their verse and enjoy a tea party.

The idea began in 2019, under the guidance of Gyles Brandreth, and after moving online in 2020 because of the pandemic, it’s back to reality for the celebration in 2021. And that means cake which is where Camilla’s controversial suggestion comes in.

The Duchess has been a long time supporter of the initiative and has provided a favourite recipe to get the tea party started. Camilla’s recipe for the Victoria sponge follows tradition with its equal quantities of flour, butter and sugar, whisked together with a couple of eggs. However, once that’s out of the oven, things get rather interesting. For the Duchess suggests lemon curd and cream as a filling or, for those with a really sweet tooth, Nutella.

Queen Victoria may not have been amused but royal support for this initiative has been welcomed. Gyles Brandreth wrote a new poem looking ahead to the big day, beginning with the lines ”The old and the young went to tea, with a beautiful home-made cake. It was Camilla’s version of Victoria sponge, delicious and easy to bake.”

About author

Lydia Starbuck is Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton, a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. June has been a reporter, producer and editor, picking up several awards over the years. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.