'An amazing piece of history': Slice of Queen's wedding cake, discovered in a filing cabinet, sells for 1,100
16:27 GMT, 27 March 2012
A piece of the Queen’s wedding cake, discovered last year in a filing cabinet at a hospice, has sold for 1,100.
Antique dealer Gordon Watson, a regular on the Channel 4 show Four Rooms, bought the slice of royal memorabilia to commemorate the Jubilee.
It was one of the items being sold on the programme by hospice fundraiser Dean Hutchings.
Important piece: Antiques dealer Gordon Watson bought the slice of royal wedding cake, and says he loves it. 'It's our Queen – we are about to celebrate her Jubilee – marrying her prince,' he said
Mr Watson said: ‘I can’t quite believe it but I love that piece of cake. I really do. I think it’s an amazing piece of history. It’s our Queen – we are about to celebrate her Jubilee – marrying her prince. I think it’s such an important piece.'
Wrapped in cellophane, in a box inscribed with the words: 'Buckingham Palace 20th November 1947,' the cake was given to CH Spackman, one of the couple’s guards of honour, at their Westminster Abbey wedding.
It came with a greeting card, which read: 'With the best wishes of Their Royal Highnesses The Princess Elizabeth and The Duke of Edinburgh.'
After Mr Spackman died, it was given to the Princess Alice Hospice, in Esher, Surrey, in the 1990s by a supporter in the hope that it could be auctioned to raise funds.
However it lay in the drawer of a filing cabinet until charity worker Anna Fiddimore found it when she was sorting out the archives for the hospice’s 25th anniversary.
Extravagant: The official cake for the wedding of Princess Elizabeth to Duke of Edinburgh was a lavish affair, nine-foot high and boasting four tiers
She said: ‘I used to work in Harrods and dealt with some members of the royal family there, so I have a fascination with all things in the past. It was a quite extraordinary find, especially since it was just sitting among some old archives.
'It was old and a strange colour. It’s not much to look at and I certainly didn’t consider having a bite to see what it tasted like.’
Made by McVitie and Price – who made a chocolate biscuit cake for Prince William’s wedding to the Duchess of Cambridge – Queen Elizabeth’s cake weighed 500 pounds.
Ceremony: The Duke of Edinburgh, pictured leaving Westminster Abbey after the ceremony, cut the cake with his sword
Dubbed the 10,000 mile wedding cake, because the ingredients were donated by the Australian Girl Guides and the rum and brandy came from South Africa, the cake featured four tiers and was nine-foot tall.
Prince Philip cut the cake using his sword and it was then served to 2,000 guests at their reception at Buckingham Palace. One layer was kept until the christening of Prince Charles and another was sent back to Australia by way of thanks.
But it was not the only nuptial loaf served in the palace’s Blue Drawing Room. Ten other wedding cakes were given to the royal couple, some of which were donated to hospitals.
The slice found at Esther Hospice is not the only piece that has survived into the 21st century. Widow Beryl Hume, from West Didsbury, Manchester, also owns a chunk that belonged to her late husband Sam, who was also a guard-of-honour. But she does not plan to sell it.
‘It's been tucked away in the cupboard all these years and not many people are allowed even to touch it,’ she said.
Four Rooms is screened on Channel 4 on Wednesday at 8pm.