You'd think that the Royal Family's eating habits are nothing like ours. And, for the most part, you'd be right, but in a new interview with Marie Claire, their former private chef spilled the tea on what it's really like eating with the Queen, and, surprisingly, we can relate to a lot of her creature comforts.
Darren McGrady, who cooked for the Queen, Prince Philip, Princess Diana, and princes William and Harry between 1982 and 1993, revealed some of their quirks and cravings when it comes to food.
Previously on HuffPost:
No, they may not call their local pizza joint for take-out, but there are still a few things they indulge in that we commoners do as well, such as William and Harry's love for McDonald's. (Those salty fries can lure anyone.)
But let's begin with the major differences when it comes to dining with the Royal Family.
For starters, as Stylist reported in 2014, you better be sure to eat your pheasant (they eat pheasant, right?) quickly because once the Queen is done eating, so is everyone else. This rule reportedly dates back centuries in the British monarchy.
And, if there is a particular dish you're craving, do your best to sneak it in to the menu book that is delivered to Her Majesty every day.
"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," McGrady said. "The book would come back to the kitchen and we'd prepare them. The Queen's menus are done three or more days ahead and she sticks with them religiously."
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If you were around while the Queen Mother was alive, you might be waiting for your supper, as she apparently was always late for dinner. As a result, staff lied to her about the time.
"Dinner was at 8.30 in Balmoral when Her Majesty the Queen Mother was in attendance," McGrady said. 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."
If you have the chance to dine at Buckingham Palace, be prepared to dress up "Downton Abbey" style. (We call dibs on playing Lady Mary!)
"They would come in for afternoon tea by the log fire in outdoor clothes, and then they'd all change for dinner. 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," McGrady told Marie Claire.
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.
But the rules are more relaxed when they're staying at Balmoral Castle, their home in Scotland.
"Balmoral is where the royal family really let their hair down. They relax and have fun.... Philip would cook out on the grill. 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.'"
And sure, the Queen may occasionally eat fruit off a diamond-encrusted plate (valued at £500,000 thirty years ago), but, according to McGrady, she loves eating out of Tupperware.
"People always say, 'Oh, the Queen must eat off gold plates with gold knives and forks.' Yes, sometimes... but at Balmoral she'd eat fruit from a plastic yellow tupperware container," he said.
People always say, 'Oh, the Queen must eat off gold plates with gold knives and forks.' Yes, sometimes... but at Balmoral she'd eat fruit from a plastic yellow tupperware container.
And, like us common folk, the Queen also enjoys her breakfast cereal.
"Breakfast was very simple for Her Majesty. Some Kellogg's cereal from a plastic container, which she'd serve herself. And some Darjeeling tea."
According to The Guardian, the Queen also enjoys toast and marmalade, as well as scrambled eggs (she prefers them brown) with smoked salmon and truffle.
But her grandsons, Will and Harry, didn't always feast on home-cooked food. In fact, it was the late Princess Diana who introduced the wonders of McDonald's to her young sons.
"I remember the princess came into the kitchen one day and said, 'Cancel lunch for the boys I'm taking them out, we're going to McDonald's,'" McGrady said.
"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."
If you were around during Queen Victoria's reign, the monarch was reportedly a fast eater, having known to plow through seven courses in half an hour.
For many people eating with her was purgatory.
"For many people eating with her was purgatory," according to an entry on Etiquipedia. "Everyone was served after the Queen and when she had finished all the plates were cleared for the next course. If you were the last person served often you wouldn't get a chance to eat anything before your plate was taken."
But this was a more enjoyable experience than those who dined with King Henry VIII, who reportedly was known to throw sugar plums at his guests when he got bored with dinner conversation.
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