In the Royal Manner: Expert advice on etiquette and entertaining from the former butler to Diana, Princess of Wales
Dear Mr. Burrell,
In the Royal Manner is the most interesting book I never would have thought to read. Rather, my wife the Diana-watcher insisted that anything that mentioned the Princess of Wales need be in our collection. So I relented. If she kept the (what I presumed to be) dribble out of the kitchen, I would shell out the $28 to you. After her repeated "wow" and "that is soooo cool" I buckled. Mind you, under the cloak of darkness or by the glow of the laptop, I decided to discover your foray from scones and lemon curd into the world of culinary literature. And a foray it was.
My expectations were like those of going into Mcdonald's a famous name touted on the outside with lackluster service and little substance on the inside. Nothing personal, Mr. Burrell. It's just that I know that Princess Diana's name has graced the front cover of more books since her passing than when she was alive. And a good bit of those works were scribed with little more than money as incentive with little else, including substance. But, sir, I am happy to report that I was more than pleasantly surprised.
First, there was just enough capitalizing on Princess Diana's name to get people like my wife to pick up the book. And that's a good thing. Really. I half expected "Di liked this little morsel& and Di enjoyed sipping her tea while&". And there was none of that. To your credit, Mr. Burrell, Diana's panache for class resonates through your book while forgoing cutesy references to her day-to-day dalliances. And I applaud you for that.
Just shy of 150 pages covers all four seasons and a knowledgeable prelude that covers planning, selecting and behaving well at a high society event. You know, Paul, this takes me back Ranhoffer's Epicurean and the like. There are wonderful interludes that I rather enjoyed. The aside on choosing Champagne Glasses was only outdone by Table Dressing protocol. Thanks. It was moving towards the seasonal menu planning that I was pleased to take in your dialog and insight that differentiates In the Royal Manner from the crop of sophomorically written guides to throwing a party.
Most impressive, Paul, is your recipe collection. Classy and elegant, like the Princess you served. The collection of recipes is aptly garnished with lure, anecdotes, superstitions and protocol. Again, it makes for good reading. And the Potted Shrimps and Salmon is worth repeating. As are the Cornish Pasties and Banana Bread & Butter Pudding. Well done, sir. I can only hope to provide half the service to my guests as you did with yours. And to serve it up so tastily.