Mrs McKee, a Swede by birth, had trained as a young girl at Horningshom Castle in Sweden. She came to work in England in the period between the First and Second World Wars, and married the Scotsman, Jimmy McKee, who was himself a butler.
Here is a unique collection of recipes with a Scandinavian flavour that vividly evoke life upstairs and downstairs in the royal households, full of anecdote and sharp insights into a hidden world. This is an era when at Court the lingering majesty of Empire was still mingled with post-war austerity, though already the first glimpses of a new Britain and a new social order with very different values are to be seen. When working for ex-King Peter and Queen Alexandra of Yugoslavia, Mrs McKee had made her name with her resourceful and economical cooking, constrained by wartime rationing and the relative poverty of her employers. At Clarence House, with the resources of the royal estates at her disposal for the supply of cream, game , poultry and vegetables, she was to cook meals enjoyed by most of the crowned heads of Europe, politicians and a host of distinguished guests. Her recipes are spiced with her tales of the great and famous and of the not so famous - from Prince Charles' childhood passion for Swedish meatballs to large policemen sheltering in her kitchen from persecution by the royal corgis.
Mrs McKee reveals the secrets of a royal cook, from simple tips to menu planning. Her matter-of-fact approach and sensible presentation of cooking in a grand manner, offer us all the opportunity to share in the style enjoyed by the Queen and the Royal Family. With this book we can all create a dinner party to set before a Queen.
Maureen Owen, a London journalist covering royal affairs at the time of the Accession and Coronation, was also a fashion reporter on the News Chronicle. After chance meeting, she was to become a life-long friend of Mrs McKee, and a frequent visitor to the royal households. She worked with Mrs McKee on her recipe books, and has now brought all Mrs McKee's recipes and anecdotes together in one volume.