x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Brits in Windsor knots over jubilee

The tables at tea parties across Dubai are piled high with crumpets and cup cakes, scones and cucumber sandwiches to mark Queen Elizabeth's diamond jubilee.

Greater than usual Britain: Polly Edwards birthday celebrations coincide with the diamond jubilee.
Greater than usual Britain: Polly Edwards birthday celebrations coincide with the diamond jubilee.

DUBAI // At tea parties across Dubai the tables were piled high yesterday with crumpets and cupcakes, scones and cucumber sandwiches to mark Queen Elizabeth's diamond jubilee.

Some Britons booked into hotels serving meals inspired by the menu served at Queen Elizabeth II's coronation on June 2, 1953.

Others displayed the Union Flag at home and decorated their houses with buntings and balloons for tea parties and dinners to commemorate the event.

It was an extra-special day for Polly Edwards, who turned 59 yesterday and was getting ready for a party at home today themed around the monarch and British traditions.

"It's quite important for me because I was born a day before the actual coronation," Mrs Edwards said. "I think she epitomises everything that is British and English and she is so well respected around the world.

"We do love her and we're so proud of her. We will have the telly rolling during the party."

During a visit home in April, she picked up tea towels, plates, bowls and cups emblazoned with the and pictures of the queen.

Red, white and blue balloons and cutouts of the queen now adorn Mrs Edwards' Jumeirah villa.

Her friends planned to help with the "traditional British" fare including sausage rolls, scones with clotted cream and jam, tea cakes and a Victoria sponge with red, white and blue meringue.

There will also be a quiz with questions such as: What is yarg? A type of cow; how the queen asks for a boiled egg; or a Cornish cheese?

"It's fun to throw a party because this is a milestone and it's happening in our lifetime," said Mrs Edwards, who is from North Wales and has lived in the Emirates for nine years.

"The British Embassy has a picnic on Sunday and we will be charging along there as well. I imagine a lot of people are celebrating this event."

Samantha Schnoor, a Dubai caterer and baker, can vouch for that.

Over the past few days she has baked cupcakes with butter-cream icing, and prepared smoked salmon, cream-cheese savouries and dainty cucumber sandwiches for dozens of parties.

"The colours are very delicate, very pale much like the dresses the queen wears - blue, pink, pale lemon and lavender is a huge one," said Mrs Schnoor, who holds South African and British passports.

"Some people are considering cakes shaped like a fairytale carriage. These will be in chocolate or lemon and will have a Cindrella-like feel.

"It's fun and a lot of work. I'm just exhausted with all the cooking and baking. It's been on this whole week."

In Abu Dhabi, about 100 guests, many in Union Flag dresses, attended a party organised by the Royal Society of St George at The Club.

A screen montage showed pictures from the queen's reign and the guests enjoyed a buffet that included fish and chips, Yorkshire pudding and steak and kidney pie.

In Dubai, several hotels planned celebrations through the week. Some, such as Raffles, used their ballroom for a "street party" for the day.

Guests ate on long tables and stalls served fish and chips, scotch eggs, smoked haddock and pie and mash.

Other hotels, such as Le Royal Meridien, promised guests a set dinner menu influenced by the meal served at the queen's 1953 coronation.

Diners enjoyed tomato and tarragon soup, steamed fillet of trout, a chicken roast to "the queen's taste" and strawberry shortbread.

"We have a culinary tribute prepared specially for the event and it will be on until June 5," said a hotel manager.

"Expats here want something special to remember the occasion."


* With additional reporting by Marie-Louise Olson