The Most Expensive Slice Of Royal Wedding Cake Auctioned Off

In one episode of "Seinfeld," the character of Elane accidentally eats a slice of cake from Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson's 1937 wedding that her boss bought at an auction for $29,000 (via Seinfeld Scripts). While the idea of a decades-old wedding cake fetching tens of thousands may seem like the stuff of fiction, there's actually a long history of royal wedding cakes selling for shockingly high prices.

According to Today, members of the royal household are sometimes given slices of wedding cake as souvenirs. From time to time, these cakes come up at auction, where buyers eager for a taste of history snatch them up. Pieces of cake from King Charles and Princess Diana's 1981 wedding have sold for thousands, and, as the Washington Post reported, the cake from Prince William and Kate Middleton's 2011 wedding sold for $7,500 in 2014. The buyer, the head of a Silicon Valley startup, planned to use it to promote his business.

Not all royal wedding cakes fetch such high prices: According to Today, a piece of cake from Charles and Diana's wedding recently sold for just £170 (or $190). Why was this one so cheap? Likely because, unlike many past cakes that have gone up for auction, it wasn't decorated with the royal coat of arms.

A slice of Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson's wedding cake has the highest selling price

As Los Angeles Times reported, a slice of cake from Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson's wedding sold for $29,900 in 1998. The price came as a surprise since the cake was initially valued between $500 and $1000. The buyer, entrepreneur Benjamin Yim, explained that he bought the cake for sentimental reasons. "It represents the epitome of a great romance — truly romantic and elegant," he said. "We intend to keep it. We're sure not going to eat it."

However, not all collectors share Yim's aversion to eating decades-old cake. Royal Central reports that, in 2021, Gerry Layton dropped £2,170 ($2,511) on a slice of Charles and Diana's wedding cake. After donating his piece to a charity auction, Layton spontaneously repurchased it — this time for £2,100 ($2,430). His reasoning? He hadn't found the courage to taste it and wanted to try it. While Layton's desire to taste the cake may be ill-advised, it might not do him much harm. According to Reader's Digest, royal wedding cakes have traditionally been made of fruitcake, which is extremely shelf stable.

As food safety researcher Ben Chapman told NC State, fruitcakes are resistant to bacteria because they're generally comprised of dried fruit and nuts. While the USDA advises against eating fruitcake that has lived more than a few months in the fridge, Chapman explains that it could potentially last much longer.