It’s not every day a girl gets to wear her tiara.

Just ask Kristin Fuhrmann-Simmons, who bought herself a Swarovski crystal tiara as a reward after she finished her first half-marathon. It’s not exactly the kind of accessory you wear to the local Hannaford, but it is just the thing for a royal wedding – even if you’re not invited.

Fuhrmann-Simmons intends to wear her tiara Saturday, when she throws a viewing party for the wedding of Britain’s Prince Harry and his American bride Meghan Markle at her Kennebunkport home, which has been newly outfitted with a large screen and fancy projector. Fuhrmann-Simmons has planned a menu that includes a full English breakfast, along with lemon scones, English breakfast tea and small version of Harry and Meghan’s lemon-elderflower wedding cake. Her 11 guests, all women, will toast the happy couple with a Prosecco-elderflower cocktail. There’s a dress code: Everyone must wear either a tiara or a fascinator, one of those small headpieces that always turn up on royal noggins at special events.

Fuhrmann-Simmons, who owns a digital marketing company, actually met Prince Harry in Belize six years ago, and she’s long been a fan of the English royal family and the privileges of palace life.

“If I hear the clip-clop of hooves on cobblestone, I’m done for,” she said.

Royal weddings typically spawn early morning viewing parties (thanks to the time difference across the pond), and this one will be no exception. Americans have long gotten all swoony-headed over the British royal family, even though we kicked them out of our country nearly 250 years ago. This time, since the bride is an American, expect people to completely lose their minds.

If you’re planning your own viewing party, you’ll need sustenance to rise at 4 a.m. to catch the early network coverage of the event. And you’ll require something for you and your guests to dine on in anticipation of what will happen next: Will Markle quiver like her future sister-in-law Kate Middleton, who was so nervous during her own wedding that her hands visibly shook as her father walked her down the aisle? Will little Princess Charlotte steal the spotlight as she did on the day a few weeks ago that her mother, the Duchess of Cambridge, gave birth to her little brother?

Technically, since Markle is American, you could serve hamburgers and hot dogs and still be culturally correct. But where’s the fun in that? So we asked Mainers throwing royal wedding parties and British expats living in Maine for ideas about what English food you should be eating while watching royal correspondents babble on about Windsor castle, royal scandals and happily-ever-afters.

Sigler, with tea. fruit and cake. The menu at Fuhrmann-Simmons’ viewing party on Saturday also includes a full English breakfast. Staff photo by Gregory Rec


The No. 1 recommendation, given the early hour, was a proper English breakfast – or, as Jon and Deborah Meek, brokers with Tru Brit Realty Group in Portland, called it, “a good old British fry-up.”

The Meeks settled in Maine in 2003. Jon Meek is from London and was a producer and journalist for the BBC before coming to America. Deborah Meek grew up on a horse farm in Northhamptonshire. Asked if they have plans to watch the royal wedding, Jon Meek cheekily replied, “So, there’s a wedding?”

The Meeks aren’t planning a party, but Deborah Meek says she’ll likely rise at the crack of dawn to make tea and watch on television, just as she did when Prince William married Kate Middleton. “Everybody loves a love story,” she said, “so I think most Brits will be keeping an eye on the wedding one way or another. I’m certainly not going to a viewing party, but will I get up to see it? Absolutely. You know, there are a handful of times in my lifetime when we will see a royal wedding, so it’s worth getting up to watch because it’s the most amazing spectacle you could ever see.”

Her husband will have a really long day if he watches the wedding with his wife, because the royal family scheduled the wedding on the same day as the FA Cup Final, “which is like a Super Bowl day in the UK,” Jon Meek said. He’s talking about football, or as we Yanks call it, soccer. The game starts at 5:15 p.m. UK time, just a few hours after the wedding.

Deborah Meek admits that the “good old British fry-up” isn’t exactly health food, but notes the English have been around for millennia, “and it hasn’t killed us yet.”

A full English breakfast begins with fried eggs, she said, “and they’re always sunny-side up. Until we came to America, we didn’t know you could have eggs any other way.”

Next add sausages. Fried mushrooms and half a fried tomato are also on the plate. (See a trend here?) Don’t forget the carbs. The meal includes both regular toast, made from either white or brown (whole wheat) bread, and fried bread. Slice a piece of bread diagonally, Deborah Meek explains, and fry it in the same pan as the eggs and sausage. “It sounds horrible because it absorbs all of the grease,” she said. “It’s not heart-healthy, but you will not need to eat another thing all day.”

Finally, include baked beans, but to be authentic they must not have a hint of sweetness. British baked beans are made without sugar.

Most English breakfasts also include black pudding, a type of blood sausage made with pork blood and other ingredients that sound nasty to most Americans. Simmons is leaving it out of her breakfast, settling for some nice country sausages from Mailhot’s in Lewiston instead. Black pudding, she said, is “one thing that’s just not to my liking. I’ll eat scrapple. I’ll eat haggis. I’ll eat a lot of things.” But not black pudding.


Julie Stilphen Harrison of Steep Falls, who is co-hosting a viewing party with a friend in Buxton, is also skipping the black pudding. “I have never had that,” she said, “and I am perfectly fine with that.”

Harrison loves “Downton Abbey” and “The Crown,” and on a family trip to London she got some of the first tickets to see the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress on display at Buckingham Palace. She’s ogled the crown jewels in the Tower of London, and walked through Kensington Gardens, where Harry and Meghan posed for photographers after announcing their engagement.

With Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding fast approaching, Bridgham & Cook has created this display table with commemorative items and party specialties. Staff photo by Ben McCanna

Harrison remembers being 10 years old and watching Princess Diana marry, “riding in that carriage with that humongous dress.” When Prince William married Kate Middleton, she watched the ceremony, but as a busy mom of teen boys she had no time for a party. Now, finally, she has a chance to do it up right. A royal wedding is, Harrison says, like the Super Bowl to super fans of the royal family. “I don’t want anything to do with the Kardashians,” she said, “but I’ll follow the royals like some stalker from a distance.”

Harrison plans to wear a red hat she borrowed from a friend, following the long tradition of wearing hats or fascinators to royal weddings, and she’ll serve her Americanized version of an English breakfast. She ate real English breakfasts in London, and didn’t care for them.

“It was awful,” she said. “Their cooking style is very different from ours. Everything was kind of raw. The bacon was very pink and not crisp like you think of it being in the United States.”

(Prince Harry reportedly likes his bacon crisp.)

Fried tomatoes and baked beans don’t appeal to Harrison either, so instead she and her friend will bake small quiches filled with tomatoes, black beans and mushrooms. They also plan to make a Charlotte Russe, a dessert made with ladyfingers and cream that played a role on Downton Abbey, and scones, lemon-flavored in honor of the wedding cake. Rounding out the table will be crumpets, butters and jams, bacon, and, of course, tea.


Not everyone is excited about the impending royal nuptials. Philip Jones, a British expat who lives in Yarmouth, says he is “supremely indifferent” about Prince Harry’s wedding and won’t be watching it. “I am an anti-Royalist and as such find the whole thing very silly,” he said.

But he still generously offered his suggestions for what to feed your guests Saturday morning. In addition to a British fry-up, Jones recommended kedgeree (an Anglo-Indian dish of eggs, smoked fish and curried rice), kippers (smoked herring) and crumpets. If you’d rather serve an afternoon English tea, Jon Meek suggests cucumber sandwiches “with the crusts cut off, and that’s really important”; scones with clotted cream and jam; and a Victoria sponge, “which is a cake with cream in the middle and jam – not jelly, jam.”

“Another pudding you might have is spotted dick and custard,” he said. “And I’m not joking, that’s what it’s called.”

To stock up on groceries, pay a visit to Bridgham & Cook, a Freeport store that sells British goods, including a variety of foods such as sugarless Heinz baked beans. Store manager Jay Paulus says he always sees a surge of customers after big royal news. “Every time Harry got into trouble, we saw more people coming into the store,” he said.

Paulus said Harry and Meghan’s wedding is proving to be just as popular, if not more so, than Will and Kate’s. People are coming in to buy wedding tea cozies, teapots, tea towels, T-shirts, and bone china cups and mugs with the young couple’s faces on them.

Wedding-friendly products Paulus recommends for Saturday include bangers and black pudding. He has scones, vegemite to spread on toast, Colman’s mustard – a hot yellow mustard served with bangers and mashed potatoes – and HP Sauce, which is used on potatoes. To honor Queen Elizabeth, who is a well-known chocoholic, pick up a package of McVitie’s chocolate digestives.

Should you want to include some of Meghan Markle’s favorite foods, she has said her favorite breakfast is blueberry johnny cakes with extra-crispy bacon and maple syrup. She also loves fish tacos (she’s from California, after all) and, as we all know by now, Prince Harry proposed to her over a dinner of roast chicken.

So go ahead and have fun in the wee hours of Saturday morning, and don’t let anyone make you feel weird about it. Harrison certainly isn’t.

“Do you know how much Sports Center I’ve had to listen to?” she said. “I get to have a royal wedding once in a while, just to even things out.”

Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MeredithGoad

Comments are not available on this story.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.