A slice of history is up for grabs this month, as a piece of cake from Princess Diana and Prince Charles's wedding goes for auction. The 40-year-old confection was cut from one of 23 official wedding cakes used to celebrate the royal union in 1981.
As you may have guessed, this isn't your average sheet cake – in fact, it looks more like an ancient artifact than a sweet treat. The large slice is covered in white icing with a 'sugared onlay of the Royal Coat-of-Arms coloured in gold, red, blue, and silver, a small silver horseshoe and leaf spray adjacent,' according to auction house Dominic Winter Auctioneers.
The 28-ounce hunk of cake has some damage, including a crack in the crest and some general wear and tear – but for the most part, auctioneers note that 'it appears to be in exactly the same good condition as when originally sold.' Impressive.
'I still wouldn’t recommend eating it but after 40 years it’s clearly destined to last,' says Chris Albury, specialist royal memorabilia valuer at Dominic Winter Auctioneers. 'It’s a curious and unique keepsake celebrating a royal wedding that holds an enduring fascination with British royalty aficionados worldwide.'
The cake has been preserved in cling film inside an old cake tin with a hand-written label that reads, 'Handle with care – Prince Charles [and] Princess Diane's (sic) wedding cake.' The note is signed by Moyra Smith, an employee to the Queen Mother at Clarence House, where a wedding cake was likely sent for staff to enjoy. Smith's family sold the edible artifact to Dominic Winter Auctioneers back in 2008.
But the winning bidder won't just get a slice of cake – the lot also includes ceremonial and order-of-service programs as well as a memorial Royal Wedding Breakfast program. Not included: A royal letter and bottle of commemorative beer that would have accompanied the cake back in 1981. But can you really blame Moyra for saving a little something for herself?
The value of the cake is estimated at £300–£500 (about $400–$700), which seems fairly reasonable for a slice of history. The auction will be hosted on Wednesday, August 11, so get your paddle ready and clear some space in the freezer.