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‘Great American Baking Show’ judge Prue Leith recalls royal blunder with Queen Elizabeth

She recounted the incident to Andy Cohen during an episode of "Watch What Happens Live."
/ Source: TODAY

Prue Leith is spilling the tea on a nerve-wracking moment she shared with Queen Elizabeth II.

The “Great American Baking Show” judge, 83, once had to make a cup of tea for the late British monarch and it did not go smoothly, she revealed in a "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen" clip shared on Thursday, May 4.

Leith, who launched her career by building her own catering company, explained that she was once hired to cater an event attended by the queen.

“So I had to give her a cup of tea,” she said. “And I didn’t know how she wanted it, and the palace wouldn’t tell me … they said, ‘You must give her a choice.’ So I said, ‘Black or white, ma’am?’ And she said, ‘Black, please.’”

Leith said she added some lemon to the cup because she “thought people who have black tea have it with lemon.”

However, after she poured in the tea, the queen apparently said, “No lemon.”

“The thing was already in there,” Leith said, “and I didn’t have a second cup, so I got a cocktail stick and I fished the lemon out ... I put it on the tray cloth, and spread this tea stain all over the tray.”

That would be mortifying enough, but things just kept getting worse. 

“I topped up her cup with hot water thinking that people who like black tea usually like it quite weak, and she said, ‘I like it strong,’” Leith recalled. “So this poor woman, she wanted strong black tea and she got weak, lemony tea.”

Leith may still cringe when she remembers the moment but as Cohen pointed out, Queen Elizabeth didn’t seem to hold a grudge about the incident.

In 2021, the late monarch conferred a great honor upon Leith, making her Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to food, broadcasting and charity.

“Yet she was still made a dame,” Cohen said. “How about that!” 

“It took her 50 years to do it,” Leith quipped.

The TV presenter and restaurateur has crossed paths with the royal family multiple times over the years, attending Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations last summer. 

In the lead-up to the coronation of King Charles III taking place May 6, Leith also met with the king’s youngest brother, Prince Edward, to sample the official “Coronation Quiche.”

She gave the quiche, which features fresh tarragon, cheddar cheese, cooked spinach and broad beans, her seal of approval, calling it “absolutely delicious.”

“There was no soggy bottom, the custard was not overcooked and dry, and the balance of tarragon was perfect — a really good quiche,” she said, according to Britain’s Telegraph newspaper.

“Quiche is universal,” she added. “Even cold, if the ingredients are right and the pastry is nice and buttery, it will taste great.”