There are few public figures in Britain who command more love and respect than the Queen.
Having been on the throne since 1952, Queen Elizabeth II is the longest currently reigning monarch. In that time, she’s enjoyed plenty of sumptuous banquets and eaten all around the world.
However, despite her status or perhaps because of it, many of the Queen’s eating habits are still unknown.
Darren McGrady, a former-personal chef to the royals has lifted the veil on the foods that the royals eat ever so slightly with his 2007 book Eating Royally.
The cookbook collected various recipes he’d prepared for the royals alongside personal anecdotes about the family.
More recently, a new interview between McGrady and Recipes Plus has revealed a few more tidbits about what the Queen’s eating habits are like.
McGrady said there’s a specific so-called royal way of cooking.
Apparently there are Buckingham Palace recipes for many classic dishes. The Queen herself sends back any dishes that deviate from her personal standards.
All chefs, no matter how prestigious their backgrounds, have to start from the bottom and work upwards. This is to ensure they all learn the’royal style of cooking:
It would be the same if Gordon Ramsay or anybody else went in there. It’s not that they don’t trust you to cook, it’s that they want you to learn the royal way of cooking… The Queen was like many elderly ladies in the sense that they like things the way they are, all the time. They don’t like change.
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What foods does the Queen avoid?
McGrady also explains in the interview that the Queen takes a very hands on role with the menu.
She’s not afraid to veto dishes on the menu, especially if they’re out of season:
You can send strawberries every day to The Queen during summer at Balmoral and she’ll never say a word. Try including strawberries on the menu in January and she’ll scrub out the line and say don’t dare send me genetically modified strawberries. She absolutely does eat seasonal.
Another thing that the Queen avoids is garlic. McGrady explained:
We can never serve anything with garlic or too much onions. We also couldn’t serve meat that was rare, as she liked her meat more well done.
In a separate interview with the Daily Mail, McGrady reveals the reason why the Queen has an aversion to garlic:
We could never serve garlic to the queen but Prince Philip loved it. If we were at Balmoral and she was out, we’d slather his steak in garlic. But when she was at the table, there was no garlic at all. She was very Victorian and believed when she was brought up that you don’t eat garlic – because if you were holding an audience the next day, you didn’t want to be breathing garlic. It was seen as anti-social.
McGrady said the Queen also tends to avoid starchy foods, except at banquets. Potatoes, pasta, and bread are usually off the menu.
What are Her Majesty’s favourite foods?
A typical meal for the Queen might consist of grilled fish or chicken with two varieties of vegetables. She’s also a massive fan of fresh salads and fruits.
McGrady noted that there was “no eating like a monkey at Buckingham Palace”, so the Queen’s method of eating her fruit might seem a little odd to us.
She apparently cuts the top and bottom off her bananas, slices the skin off length-ways then chops them up and eats them with a fork.
In addition, she eats pears like boiled eggs: she cuts the top off and scoops out the inside with a spoon.
Perhaps the most interesting tidbit from the interview was about the Queen’s favourite cake: the chocolate biscuit cake.
Normally when cakes are served to the royal family, they’ll eat their fill and return them to the kitchens. There the staff might get to enjoy a slice. Normally, the Queen would only take a small slice of cake before returning it.
But not with chocolate biscuit cake.
The Chocolate Biscuit Cake is the only cake that goes back again and again and again everyday until it’s all gone. She’ll take a small slice every day until eventually there is only one tiny piece, but you have to send that up, she wants to finish the whole of that cake.
Apparently the Queen loves this particular cake so much that if she’s travelling to a different residence, the senior chef will follow on the train with the cake in tow.
Staff don’t dare touch the cake since the Queen apparently notices if a single slice is missing from it!
Oh, and apparently all those pieces about her majesty enjoying four cocktails a day are nonsense.
Instead, McGrady says she might occasionally enjoy a glass of her favourite sweet German wine with dinner.
But it’s certainly not every night at all! McGrady, the source of the rumour, set the record straight to CNN:
All I said was she likes a gin and Dubonnet. That’s her favorite drink. She doesn’t wake up in the morning and have a large gin and tonic. She certainly doesn’t drink four glasses a day.
He blamed his manner of speech, as well as a patchy phone line, as the reasons for the confusion.
Despite Her Majesty needing to grant royal approve on dishes, McGrady doesn’t consider the Queen a foodie.
He says that she only eats small portions of the food prepared for her every day, in contrast with her husband Prince Phillip:
She eats to live while Prince Philip is the one who lives to eat. Prince Phillip loves to cook on the grill, he’s a great chef.
In fact, apparently the kitchen staff still use pots and pans from Queen Victoria’s reign. Apparently the monarch would rather spend the money on horses and saddles!
Safe to say, the Queen’s diet is pretty damn interesting!