How to Eat Like Queen Elizabeth

From her daily diet to the one thing banned from the royal kitchen.
IMAGE Pixabay & Wikimedia Commons

With fully equipped kitchens, a variety of ingredients, and London’s best chefs at its disposal, you would expect the royal household at Buckingham Palace to dine on only the finest of dishes. Astonishingly, Queen Elizabeth, 90, has a fairly modest diet that consists of fresh produce from the royal family's own farms at Balmoral, Sandringham, and Windsor Castle. Her secret to a balanced diet is that she is no gourmand. According to her former chef, Darren McGrady, “She eats to live, unlike Prince Philip who loves to eat and would stand and talk food all day.” While the palace’s head chef, Mark Flanagan, provides the Queen with a suggested menu, she has the final say on all the meals she consumes. If you have ever wanted to live like royalty, here's your chance to replicate Queen Elizabeth's menu:

Start the day with a cup of tea.

A freshly brewed pot of Earl Grey tea sans milk and sugar kickstarts the Queen’s day. This is accompanied by a few biscuits and BBC Radio 4’s Today just before moving on to breakfast.

Follow with a light breakfast of Special K cereal.

During breakfast in the private dining room, the Queen usually settles for a bowl of cereal, which she has served from a Tupperware container. Corn Flakes and Special K have received her mark of approval and she has either with a spoonful of apricots, prunes, or macadamia nuts. When it’s not cereal, she will have marmalade on toast or sometimes a hard-boiled brown egg.

Down some gin and Dubonnet just before lunch.

A wine-based aperitif eases Her Majesty just before lunch, which she usually eats alone. The snifter is served with a slice of lemon and a lot of ice and is one part gin and two parts Dubonnet.

Remain partial to a simple lunch of protein and greens for a low-carb meal.

For lunch, a grilled Dover sole with greens such as spinach or courgettes, or a no-fuss grilled chicken with a salad usually make up the menu. The disciplined queen follows a “no starch” rule when dining alone and avoids potatoes, rice, or pasta for both lunch and dinner.

Take afternoon tea and snacks in between.

Afternoon tea is accompanied by finger sandwiches stuffed with smoked salmon, cucumber, egg, and mayonnaise, or ham and mustard, with all crusts removed. She also adores jam pennies, which are tiny pieces of buttered bread cut into circles and in the size of the old English penny, and slathered with jam. She doesn’t necessarily finish all her snacks and allows fallen crumbs to be devoured by her beloved corgi.

“Waste not, want not.”

The Queen is very particular about wasted food. She once sent lemon used as garnish back to the kitchen, with the message that it could be used once more.

Never cook with garlic.

If there’s one food staple banned from the palace kitchen, it’s garlic. A former palace chef once told the National Post that, “The royal family are wonderful people but they’re missing out on garlic because at Buckingham Palace you don’t cook with garlic. I suppose, in case you get the royal burp.”

Dinner should consist of fillets of beef or venison, pheasant or salmon.

The palace chefs make use of viands from farms at Sandringham and Balmoral and turn the meat into Gaelic steak. The sauce is made with mushroom, cream, and whisky. An occasional martini might start the meal, although Her Majesty rarely drinks wine at dinner.

Indulging in sweets is acceptable.

The Queen’s sweet tooth is reserved for all sorts of chocolate, from royal warrant brands such as Charbonnel et Walker and Bendicks, to supermarket finds like Cadbury and Nestle. When she’s not sneaking in a chocolate biscuit cake or chocolate mousse, her other dessert favorites include fresh fruit, such as strawberries from Balmoral or white peaches from the greenhouses at Windsor Castle.

Cap off the night with a glass of bubbly.

The Queen reportedly takes a glass of Champagne in the evening. We can all toast to this one!

h/t Insider, Town & Country US

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About The Author
Hannah Lazatin
Features Editor
Hannah is originally from Pampanga and from a big, close-knit family who likes to find a reason to get together at the dinner table. Experiences inspire her. “Once, at a restaurant, I received an interpretation of my second name ‘Celina,’ and it meant 'someone who tries everything once' and that is me through and through,” she says. As for the job, she wants her “readers to be inspired by the stories of the people we feature and to move them to reach for greater things.”
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