GEORGE II (1683-1760), King of England, as Prince of Wales. Bills of Fare For Their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales and Family beginning Feb.y ye First 1715/16 -- [December 31st 1716], manuscript on paper, 178 folios (including 4 blanks), folio (420 x 280mm), title-page, each page and in black/brown ink, in columns ruled in red (occasional minor spotting, ink stain at upper fore-edge), contemporary vellum boards, titled in manuscript on upper cover, 'Book of Bills of Fare for ye Year 1716' (light wear to extremities). Provenance: Archibald Philip Primrose, fifth Earl of Rosebery (1847-1929; armorial bookplate pasted inside upper cover).
DINING AT THE COURT OF THE FUTURE GEORGE II AND QUEEN CAROLINE. Presumably written by the Clerk of the Royal Kitchen, the bills comprise a meticulously kept daily record of dishes served at St James's Palace and Hampton Court (including those for journeys between the two on the Royal Barge) between February and December, 1716. The menus for 'dinner' and 'supper' are laid out on each page for the young Prince and Princess of Wales, for their immediate family ('young princesses', 'princess Carolina'), Maids of Honour (unmarried women attached to the personal suite of the Princess), and servants of the Bedchamber (gentleman ushers, pages of the backstairs, women of the bedchamber, master cook, 'clerk of the kitchin', laundress). Unsurprisingly, the dishes vary enormously in relation to the hierarchy of the servants of the Bedchamber. Whilst 'rump beef à la royalle', blackbirds, oysters, larks and cherry tart are served to the royal family, the lower-ranking servants dine on mutton and 'pease', with boiled chicken being given to those recorded as 'sick'. Additional, or extraordinary, dishes provided for the Prince or Princess, as well as visitors to the royal household, are sometimes listed in a column below, the visitors including the King, the Duchess of St Albans (who dined on partridge at Hampton Court on September 1st) and the newly-appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, William Wake. Lobsters were sent 'to the Parliament House' on April 14th.
Son of George I, George August became Prince of Wales in September 1714, taking his seat in the House of Lords on 17th March 1715. He established his court at St James's (later moving to Leicester House following his rift with the King), and was appointed guardian of the realm during George I's visit to Hanover from July 1716 to January 1717. In the summer of 1716, Princess Caroline dined in public with the Prince every day in her own apartments, and her familiarity with her Ladies of the Bedchamber was such that she sometimes dined with them in private (see Diary of Mary, Countess Cowper (1864), p.125).
Lord Rosebery, statesman, sportsman and bibliophile, was noted for collecting works which reflected his love of history; other manuscripts from his library included French royal household accounts.