Ever wondered what Her Majesty the Queen and the rest of the gang get up to around dinner time? Ever thought where she gets all that walking and waving energy from? What do Princess Charlotte and Prince George eat to help them grow?
Darren McGrady, a former private chef to the Royal Family, recently set the record straight. He revealed some bizarre eating and dining habits he observed during his time cooking for the royal bloodline. Here are the Royal Family’s most bizarre and unheard of dining rules and habits.
1. The Queen Mother was always late for dinner, so they lied about the time
McGrady recalled a time when he was preparing dinner. “Dinner was at 8.30 in Balmoral when Her Majesty the Queen Mother was in attendance. They used to tell her that dinner was at 8.15, and she’d be the last one down. They told everyone else 8.30 because they knew she’d be late.”
2. Everyone gets their glad rags on for dinner, Downtown Abbey-style
Everyone had to get changed into formal wear for dinner, though McGrady noted that Prince Philip was known to sometimes dress so tattily that he once mistook the Queen’s husband for the gardener. He would always dress up for dinner, though.
McGrady said: “They’d come down in dressy ball gowns, and sit at the table — like a Downton Abbey dinner. All the fine china was brought out. At the end of the meal, a bagpipe player would walk around the table.”
3. Once the Queen’s done eating, so is everyone else
According to Stylist, once Her Majesty takes her last morsel of food, no one is allowed to eat any more food, which sounds sucky if you want seconds. Let’s hope she’s a slow eater.
4. Philip had zero time for Prince Charles’ organic produce…
McGrady says that one time, Philip asked: “Oh is this a Harrods hamper?” and the Royal Chef replied: “No, your highness, this is a hamper the Prince of Wales brought with him.” Philip looked puzzled, so he opened it up and realised the contents of the hamper were all organic. Philip then cried: “Oh, bloody organic!” and then just shook his head and walked out. Sassy.
5. He did enjoy a family BBQ at Balmoral though
“Philip would cook out on the grill,” McGrady said. “He’d come down to the kitchens and discuss what food we’d have: ‘Do we have any salmon that any of the family have caught? The Queen’s been picking strawberries with Princess Margaret, let’s have those for dinner.'”
6. The Queen uses Tupperware
This is the best news of the year. To find out the Queen takes plastic out the fridge, putting a cold lasagne in the microwave before waiting impatiently is music to my ears. McGrady says that “At Balmoral, she’d eat fruit from a plastic yellow Tupperware container”.
7. Prince William and Prince Harry used to love McDonald’s
McGrady remembers the late Princess Diana coming into the kitchen one day and saying “cancel lunch for the boys I’m taking them out, we’re going to McDonald’s.” Apparently, they were very keen on the free toy in the Happy Meal when they were younger.
McGrady added: “The boys loved McDonald’s, and going out to pizza, and having potato skins — sort of the American foods. They were royal princes but had children’s palates.”
8. Princess Diana, on the other hand, followed a strict diet of no fats or red meat
McGrady said to Stylist: “One day she said to me: ‘Darren I want you to take care of all the fats, and I’ll take care of the carbs at the gym.’ While at Buckingham Palace Diana was battling bulimia, and it wasn’t until she confronted it and everyone put two and two together that she started healthy eating.”
McGrady added: “she liked dishes like stuffed bell peppers and stuffed eggplant — she loved fish.” McGrady used to make her fat-free versions of dishes, and she would trick the fellow guests into thinking that she was eating the same thing.
9. Normally, Queen Elizabeth II picked her meals from a menu book
Just like on a first class flight, the Queen would choose her preferred dishes from a selection in advance. McGrady revealed: “At Buckingham Palace, we’d do a menu book that we’d send up to the Queen and she could choose the dishes she wanted. The book would come back to the kitchen and we’d prepare them.” The menus were compiled three days in advance, and she stuck to them religiously.
10. The Queen has no taste for garlic
One thing that was never on the Queen’s menus, though, was garlic. She hates the smell, and taste of it. I’m sure she’s got a much higher opinion of silver, sunlight and wooden stakes, however.
11. Prince Philip sometimes swapped meals with the royal staff
McGrady recounted Philip coming into the kitchen one night and asking what was on the menu for dinner. McGrady replied: “I have these little one-inch eyes of lamb meat for you, your Royal Highness.” He looked at the food, and noticed something else. He asked what the “something else” was, and McGrady answered: “they are chops, Your Highness.”
He wanted to know who they were for, and McGrady told him they were for the staff. Philip replied: “Oh we can’t have those?” McGrady ended up giving the big meatier pieces to Philip, and the staff ended up with the other pieces. Not sure who has it better here: the Prince or the staff.
This insight into the Royal Family was a real eye-opener. I’d always knew their habits would be interesting, but I never thought I would laugh out loud. Turns out, the Royal Family is as peculiar with their food as any other family would be, minus all the regality. Still yet to bump into the princes at McDonald’s, though.