Practice your curtsy and brush up on your table manners — McPherson Opera House is throwing a party fit for royalty.
“It’s Good to be Queen” is the theme of this year’s Royal Tea, from 12:30 to 3 p.m. on April 21 at the McPherson Opera House Grand Ballroom, 219 S. Main St.
The fundraiser will open with a champagne reception, followed by tea, sandwiches, scones with lemon curd and other desserts served at elaborately decorated tables. Live entertainment will include piano music provided by Jeannie Whitenack.
“She will be playing a selection of ‘royal’ tunes,” Diane Fallis, McPherson Opera House business director, said.
Irene Nielsen and Bonnie Johnson of Historical Echoes will entertain the audience with their depictions of Queen Christina of Sweden and Catherine the Great, respectively. Nielsen and Johnson extensively research and recreate the personalities of women in history, and will present first-person portrayals in full costume.
“For the Royal Tea, they will be recreating the personalities of two historical queens — fitting with the “It’s Good to be Queen” theme,” Fallis said.
Catherine the Great began her life in 1729 as Princess Sophia of Prussia. She caught the eye of Empress Elizabeth of Russia, who arranged for her to marry her German nephew, Peter III.
Peter III became emperor when Elizabeth died, but did not take his responsibilities seriously.
After only six months as emperor, Peter III abdicated and it was expected that his son, Paul, would rule with Catherine as regent until he became older.
“She goes, ‘no, I’m the empress. When I’m gone, my son can rule then,’ ” Johnson said.
The empress is credited with being partially responsible for the success of the American Revolution.
During that war, ships from neutral countries were trying to make their way to the United States with supplies and were stopped by British ships.
Catherine’s establishment of the League of Armed Neutrality in 1780 was formed so countries who promised not to take weapons or military supplies to America could threaten retaliation if their cargoes were seized by Britain. Ships from the Russian navy were sent to enforce the treaty.
Queen Christina of Sweden was born a century before Catherine the Great. She came to the throne as queen-elect at age 6 and in her own right at age 18, refusing to marry anyone. She was educated by the finest tutors, just as a prince would have been, in order to assume the throne.
Some of Queen Christina’s accomplishments include producing the first Swedish newspaper in 1645, providing the first countrywide school ordinance for general education, and increasing trade, manufacturing and mining activities.
Queen Christina also disliked war and ordered the Westphalia Peace Treaty, ending the 30 Years’ War between Sweden and France.
Her abdication after only 10 years of ruling shocked royal houses across Europe.
“Christina was a force to be reckoned with as she continued to speak her free mind,” Nielsen said.