The Marchioness of Cambridge had to be inventive during WW2 when she discovered she had no olive oil to whip up her mayonnaise needed to serve with her fine fresh salmon for lunch. I doubt any of us would have thought of the alternative she chose – liquid paraffin – yet her guests didn’t seem to notice, and even asked for seconds!

I read this amusing anecdote in the latest issue of Majesty magazine and had to investigate further. I was delighted to be able to purchase a copy of the book, published in 1974, where the mayonnaise recipe (mins the liquid paraffin) is included, The Royal Blue & Gold Cookbook .

Lady Cambridge tells us:

Now my cook is semi-retired, I quite enjoy doing much of my own cooking. I am rather lazy and have one or two easy dishes I have invented. It is really important to be able to cook a good meal at a moment’s notice, but it is also essential to be adventurous.

I think perhaps my inventive mind went a little too far during the war. Having been presented with a fine piece of fresh salmon, I found I had no olive oil with which to make the mayonnaise. Four people enjoyed cold mayonnaise of salmon for lunch, and, as far as I know, suffered no ill effects. The sauce was made with liquid paraffin – and they all had second helpings!

I wonder if her guests were too polite to comment, or had one too many drinks to notice!

Lady Cambridge married George Cambridge, 2nd Marquess of Cambridge, and born Prince George of Teck. They lived outside Cambridge in Little Abington.  He was a great-great-grandson of King George III and nephew of Queen Mary, the consort of King George V.  His peerage became extinct on his death in 1981.

The book is a collection of recipes that Lady Cambridge obtained from her royal relatives and aristocratic friends, including Queen Mary, Princess Alice, the Duchess of Gloucester, Lady Louise Mountbatten, King George V1 and Queen Elizabeth, as well as Kensington Palace, Claridge’s, the Savoy Hotel and the Cavalry Club. It was a fundraiser for the Royal British Legion Women’s Section.

Tastes have changed since then; who eats curried cheese or kipper souffle these days? But if you fancy trying some contemporary royal tea recipes, check out these available on the Royal Collection website.

*Photo of Lady Cambridge courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery.