In celebration of the royal wedding of HRH Prince Harry to Meghan Markle, the Fairmont Empress in lovely Victoria, British Columbia has planned a wonderful month of tastes, treats and traditions.

Hundreds of thousands of guests enjoy tea in the Empress dining room each year. Photos by Cynthia Calvert


For the month of May, they will be serving a Royal Wedding Tea. The storied tradition of afternoon tea began in 1840 in England when the seventh Duchess of Bedford found herself peckish around 4pm. Dinner was served fashionably late at 8 pm, so she began to order tea with bread, butter and cake to her room. Soon enough, she began to invite her friends to enjoy it with her. By the 1880s, afternoon tea had become a high fashion event served in the drawing room with silver teapots, fine linens, elegant teacups, and world-renowned teas.

Guests are offered a wooden box with samples of loose tea and thorough descriptions of each.
The top tier of the tea tray is an array of sweets.


During the summer months, the Fairmont Empress serves Afternoon Tea to more guests than most hotels in London, England. More than 400 people per day come to enjoy a tradition that commenced when the hotel opened Jan. 20, 1908.

For the month of May, the Lobby Lounge will be serving a Royal Afternoon Tea in celebration of the regal nuptials. Guests can reserve seating as they would for normal afternoon tea. Tea seating times will be as usual. Menu as follows:

In honour of the royal wedding, Christian Elsing, Lobby Lounge Manager and resident Tea Sommelier has created our version of Meghan Markle’s favourite tea, using quality ingredients from the Metropolitan Tea Company which is a mix mint green tea, infused with fennel, anise and a touch of licorice root. The result is a green tea with strong notes of licorice and mint, with a soothing body and beautifully complex finish.

Served on three-tiered silver tea trays:

Smoked salmon on blini - Smoked salmon with dill and crème fraiche on blini.

Hand peeled Tofino shrimp tartlet -  Sweet ginger - lemon mayonnaise.Inspired by a dish served regularly to the Royal Family at Balmoral Castle

English cucumber on rye -  Heirloom cucumber, fennel pollen, dill cream cheese.

Roast beef on whole wheat -  Beet and horseradish Chantilly. Princess Diana loved the combination of the beef, beets and horseradish.

Scones are served with honey from the Empress Hotel garden and residents bees.
The Etenia chocolate passion fruit cremeaux tart.


Signature Empress warm raisin scones -  House-made clotted cream, strawberry lavender preserve.

Etenia chocolate passion fruit cremeaux tart  - Empress signature etenia chocolate.

Berry pistachio daisy -  White chocolate, fresh berries, apricot glaze.

Caramel banana cake - A favorite of Prince Harry’s as a young child. He loved any recipe with bananas and this became one of his favourites.

The banana cake is a favorite of Prince Harry!
The berry pistachio daisy.


Cream Earl Grey almond delice -  Gluten free almond cake, bergamot, white chocolate.

Empress honey and bee pollen shortbread.


To tip a glass to the Royal Wedding - May 14 to May 21 - Q Bar will be offering a few select cocktails which are favoured by members of the Royal Family.

Some guests choose to have Champagne AND tea!

The Queen Elizabeth
Dubonnet Cocktail Equal parts Gin and Sweet Dubbonet, with a splash of bitters, and a lemon twist
Served ‘up’ in a coupe glass, this cocktail was also a favourite of her mother’s. $15

Prince Charles
The 50/50 Martini Equal Parts Gin and Dry vermouth, with a lemon twist
Also served ‘up’, this cocktail is a drier version of ‘mums’. $17

Prince Harry
Red Bull Vodka 1 oz Vodka with a Side of Red Bull
The preppy prince has long been a fan of a beverage with a chaser. $17

Meghan Markle
The Negroni Equal Parts Gin, Campari, and Sweet Vermouth
Q Bar also has a very special version On Tap this month which features our Empress Gin as a base. $16

Princess Diana
Veuve Clicquot Bellini 5oz of premium Veuve Clicquot Champagne with a spoonful of sweet peach puree
Princess ‘Di’ preferred to drink light to keep her skin glowing. $27


The Royal Wedding
Although they will not be streaming the royal wedding live due to the time of day (4 a.m. PST), the hotel will be replaying the regal event on the televisions in Q Bar on the day of the wedding – Saturday, May 19. Guests are encouraged to come down for a drink or a meal, and watch the processional and the royal marriage.  Throughout the month of May, watch for Monarch moments and Royal Reminiscing on social media and, especially as it related to the regal history of The Empress.

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