I don't know about you, but when I picture Queen Elizabeth eating, I envision her surrounded by the most decadent of feasts: hulking roasts, tubs of mashed potatoes, massive cakes, towers of cupcakes and biscuits — basically something straight out of "A Little Princess."
But Darren McGrady, a former chef in the royal kitchens, told The Telegraph that the queen is actually "not a foodie." He explained, "She eats to live, unlike Prince Philip who loves to eat and would stand and talk food all day." (Fun fact: The Duke of Edinburgh is a barbecue enthusiast.)
"When she dines on her own," he added, "she’s very disciplined. No starch is the rule."
So what, exactly, does she eat, then?
Well, twice a week, the head chef to the royal household, Mark Flanagan, gives the queen menu options and she checks off what she likes and crosses off what she doesn't.
This is what a typical day of eating for Her Majesty looks like:
The queen starts her day with a cup of Earl Grey tea (no milk or sugar) in bone china with a few biscuits (aka cookies), according to British Telecommunications.
She then typically transitions to a breakfast of fruit and cereal — she's partial to Special K, according to The Telegraph.
Sometimes, though, she'll change it up with toast and marmalade or, on special occasions, scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and a grating of truffle. She prefers brown eggs because she thinks they taste better.
Before lunch, she'll partake in a little light drinking (does that mean we all can?) — specifically a gin and Dubonnet (a wine-based aperitif) with a slice of lemon and a lot of ice.
Her Majesty likes to keep it simple for her midday meal with something like fish with vegetables or grilled chicken with salad. McGrady said a favorite meal of hers is grilled Dover sole with wilted spinach or courgettes (that's zucchini to those of us on the other side of the pond). No potatoes, rice, pasta — anything starchy — when she's eating alone.
This is where that scene from "A Little Princess" might actually apply. The queen goes all out for her daily afternoon tea — there's a traditional spread, complete with finger sandwiches, scones and her favorite cakes — because, well, she's the queen.
McGrady said that she must have two types of sandwiches, such as cucumber, smoked salmon, egg with mayonnaise, ham and mustard — crusts cut off, naturally. She also enjoys the crust-less jam pennies, tiny raspberry jam sandwiches cut into circles the size of an old English penny.
While some sources say that Her Majesty prefers "a relaxed meal of lamb, roast beef, mutton, grouse or salmon" most evenings, others say she "enjoys a Sunday roast after church" or Gaelic steak, made from fillets of beef and venison from Sandringham and Balmoral (Her Majesty's Christmas retreat and summer residence, respectively), served in a sauce of mushroom, cream and whisky. Whichever type of meat it is, she doesn't do rare — only well done.
She may have a dry Martini with dinner, but never wine — that's for later.
She finishes her day on a light and fresh note — with strawberries grown at Balmoral and sweet white peaches grown in her greenhouses at Windsor Castle. Maybe some chocolate, too. The queen loves chocolate.
And she washes it all down with a glass of Champagne. Because being queen is something to pop open a bottle of bubbly for every day.
This post was originally published Mar. 3, 2017.