What is it like to dine like a princess or a queen? You can find out on Sunday, May 2 from 1 to 3 p.m. when the von Liebig Art Center presents a Royal Afternoon Tea Party at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples.
Darren McGrady, senior chef at Buckingham Palace from 1982 to 1993 and Princess Diana’s personal chef from 1993 until her death in 1997, will regale the crowd with stories about palace life, provide insight into the lives of Diana and the young princes, and discuss the etiquette and presentation of traditional English afternoon tea.
Of course, no tea party is complete without delicious food. McGrady and the Ritz-Carlton chefs have drawn favorite recipes from McGrady’s cookbook, “Eating Royally: Recipes and Remembrances from a Palace Kitchen.” The menu will include a selection of tea sandwiches on different breads: Sage Derby with Tomato, Baked Ham with English mustard, Jam Pennies, and Cucumber with Mint Cream Cheese. The Tea Pastries will include Queen Elizabeth’s Chocolate Birthday Cake, Raspberry Tartlets, Clotted Cream Scones with Strawberry Preserve, and Traditional Scottish Shortbread. The afternoon will also feature Pimms Cup, Lemon Refresher and Earl Grey Tea with lemon or milk.
“The Royal Afternoon Tea Party is a nice way for moms and their daughters to treat themselves to a special celebration just in time for Mother’s Day,” said Joel Kessler, CEO and executive director of the Naples Art Association at the von Liebig Art Center. “Darren joined us in March for two sold-out lectures, and we are delighted that he could join us again so that more people can hear his humorous stories and insight into the life of the people’s princess.”
The tea party is being held in conjunction with the art center’s exhibition, “Princess Diana: Dresses of Inspiration,” on view through June 27. The show features 20 of Diana’s dresses, including two never before shown in the U.S. and 10 that are in their last U.S. display. The show includes an extensive historical collection of memorabilia related to Diana, Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen Mother, and King George, including many items never before shown. McGrady lent a signed photo from Diana and a pair of cuff links she gave him.
Event guests will have the opportunity to purchase McGrady’s “Eating Royally” cookbook during a book signing after the tea. McGrady, who doesn’t accept a speaker’s fee, donates the book’s proceeds to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, one of Diana’s charities. Locally, the von Liebig Art Center’s exhibition and related events such as the tea will benefit Bosom Buddies Breast Cancer Support and the NCH Mammogram Fund.
Tickets to the afternoon tea party are $100, and reservations are required. Call the Ritz-Carlton, Naples at (239) 598-6644 by Wednesday, April 28.
Tickets to the “Princess Diana: Dresses of Inspiration” exhibition are $12 for non-members, $10 for members and pre-arranged groups, and $5 for children 9 and under. The exhibition is open daily with timed entries at 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. (Tuesdays at 12:30 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.). Tickets are available at the door, at naplesart.org and by calling (239) 262-6517.