The Frosted (and Fruity!) History of Royal Wedding Cakes

These towering confections are more than just a pretty slice — the royals love a wedding cake with extra special meaning.

Cakes That Take the Crown

Royal wedding cakes reveal bits and pieces of history between their many layers. From intricately piped décor with special meanings, to symbolic cascading sugar flowers, these eye-catching creations have been making big statements since as far back as Queen Victoria’s wedding. So straighten your tiara and get ready for a walk down memory lane — lined with over-the-top cakes!

Queen Victoria & Prince Albert — 1840

Queen Victoria was a "foodie" way before that was even a word, and her sweet tooth might explain her 14-inch deep, 300-pound wedding cake. Fittingly noted as "a great beast of a plumcake," the circumference of the dessert was a massive 3 yards! But while that is certainly impressive, the size of the cake ironically paled in comparison to its more delicate features, like the intricate sugar sculpture of the bride and groom.

Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip — 1947

Even though Queen Elizabeth is apparently a total "chocoholic," her wedding cake didn’t have a trace of the stuff. Instead, she and Prince Philip opted for a royal wedding tradition — a fruitcake. Made by McVitie and Price Ltd, the ornate four-tier cake stood 9 feet tall and weighed roughly 500 pounds (we guess Queen Victoria’s cake wasn’t so huge after all!) And the beautiful, intricate decorations lining the tiers recreated scenes from the bride and groom’s lives — adorable! Maybe Queen Elizabeth was the original Pinterest bride? Pinning that idea now.

Princess Grace & Prince Rainier III of Monaco — 1956

This gorgeous, over-the-top six-tier wedding cake (a gift from the pastry chefs at Monte Carlo’s Hotel de Paris) was especially fitting for movie star-turned-princess. When the cake was cut — with the prince’s sword, naturally — turtledoves were freed from one of the tiers. It’s called drama, people.

Princess Anne & Captain Mark Phillips — 1973

This five-tier cake was large enough to soak up two bottles of brandy and 70 pounds of fruit and nuts. Each tier was covered in exquisite details, piped to perfection by chefs of the Royal Army Catering Corp. The top of the cake was finished with a silver vase filled with flowers as well as the regimental crest of Captain Mark and the coat of arms of Princess Anne.

Princess Diana & Prince Charles of Wales — 1981

By now you’ve noticed that fruitcake has a long history when it comes to royal weddings — but possibly an even longer shelf-life? A slice of Charles and Diana’s boozy cake has lasted 36 years (!) and is set to be auctioned off to the highest bidder in June 2018. Experts think it could sell for as much as $1,200 — honestly for that price, the cake better be encrusted with royal jewels rather than just soaked raisins. The couple’s official cake, which was prepared by David Avery of the Royal Naval Cookery school and adorned with orchids, lilies of the valley and roses, was actually just one of 27 cakes served at their wedding. Collectors, keep an eye out!

Princess Charlene & Prince Albert II of Monaco — 2011

Prince Albert and Princess Charlene’s massive five-tier pink cake was uniquely topped with a cornucopia and covered in cascading edible flowers that — 2,000 of them. The blooms include Proteas (South Africa’s national flower), which paid homage to Charlene’s roots.

Catherine Duchess of Cambridge & Prince William — 2011

Everyone remembers William and Kate’s wedding for the fairytale gowns and balcony kisses — but did you get a look at their cake? The traditional couple stuck with fruitcake (if it ain’t broke! )made by Fiona Cairns for their special day. The confection featured gum paste flowers symbolizing the four nations (roses for England, daffodils for Wales, shamrocks for Ireland and thistle for Scotland). While this cake was not out of the ordinary, the couple did do something a little non-traditional: Prince William had a chocolate biscuit groom’s cake (chocolate biscuits were his favorite growing up) that received almost as much attention as Pippa Middleton’s dress. Almost.

Meghan Duchess of Sussex & Prince Harry — 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's cake was almost as highly anticipated as the wedding itself. This royal couple requested a spring-themed cake, and the woman tasked with the job was pastry chef Claire Ptak, owner of London-based Violet Cakes. Chef Ptak utilized seasonal and organic ingredients, something Meghan had grown accustomed to as a "California girl." Chef Ptak created a lemon-elderflower cake covered in light and airy buttercream and garnished it with real flowers. This cake was simple and elegant (and a much-buzzed-about depature from the traditional royal fruitcake!), just like Meghan's perfectly effortless bun look.