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Queen orders cost-cutting measures for royal garden parties
23 Jun 2005 by Malcolm DruryApparently stung by the latest revelations of profligacy on the part of some members of the hapless House of Battenberg-Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, alias Windsor, Her Majesty the Queen has ordered staff to find ways of reducing the costs of her garden parties after complaints that guests were eating too much, DeadBrain has learned.
On average, each of those attending the events last year ate 14 cakes, sandwiches, scones and ice-creams. The total cost of entertaining 39,000 people at the six garden parties was £500,000, or £12.82 each. Considering that the overall cost included that for staff and the rental for marquees and Portaloos, the cost per item of food consumed was well over a pound.
A Buckingham Palace aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, told our reporter that it's hard to keep the costs down when people are eating so much. "So we either have to get the cost per item down or get people to eat less - or preferably both," he said.
He added that the ultimate goal was to get the costs down to zero and eventually maybe even to turn a small profit.
So gone will be the cucumber, smoked salmon and asparagus sandwiches, to be replaced with bags of crisps (one each, with a choice of plain, cheese and onion, or prawn cocktail), and there will be no more mini chocolate éclairs and scones, chocolate lemon cake, Dundee cake, Majorca slice, chocolate Swiss roll, or vanilla and strawberry ice-creams. Instead guests will be offered a choice between a plain ice cream and a Cadbury's Flake.
"No more fancy tea either," said the aide. "From now on it's Tesco's own, one bag between two people."
By these means, he suggested, people would not only eat less but the cost per item would be brought down to something like 25p when bulk purchasing was factored in.
Other initiatives are to include hiring out umbrellas to guests in cases of inclement weather, thereby eliminating the need for costly marquees, and the introduction of a cover charge of £5 a head to help pay for breakages, loss of "souvenirs" and damage to the Palace lawns. "We did consider scrapping the Portaloos," the aide said, "but decided against it when we realised some people would just go behind the rhododendrons."
He said that most members of the Family were supportive of the measures, and some had even volunteered to help. Prince Philip, for example, had offered his services selling souvlaki and doner kebabs at £7.50 a go, but had had to be turned down after a series of trial runs with servants as customers, all of whom he had told to bugger off and get their finger out.
"We felt that his marketing skills were perhaps not fully up to scratch," said the aide.
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