The Food Philosophy That Fueled Queen Elizabeth

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As Queen Elizabeth II herself once said, "Let us not take ourselves too seriously. None of us has a monopoly on wisdom." Indeed, this simplicity is the way Her Majesty carried herself during her seven decades on the British throne — food philosophy included. Even though the royal family had access to an armada of on-call gourmet personal chefs, Queen Elizabeth II preferred a modest, structured diet for her daily life. (Though she was known to enjoy a daily cocktail and occasional slice of chocolate cake.)

Per Delish, in his 2020 book "Long Live the Queen! 13 Rules for Living from Britain's Longest Reigning Monarch," royal author Bryan Kozlowski noted that "Straightforward simplicity has marked the Queen's dining habits since childhood." Royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith similarly wrote that the Queen considered food to be "just fuel." Of course, as she was in charge, this viewpoint impacted the palace during her service.

Simple, utilitarian meals on Buckingham Palace's dinner table

Queen Elizabeth II's simple philosophy toward eating changed the dining habits of other Buckingham Palace residents, too. In Kozlowski's book, per Delish, one former footman recounted that the palace staff usually ate fancier meals than the ones requested by the royal family. In 2007 Darren McGrady, who served as Her Majesty's personal chef for 15 years, wrote "Eating Royally: Recipes and Remembrances from a Palace Kitchen" about his experience at Buckingham Palace. McGrady explained that the Queen was drastically unlike her husband, Prince Philip, who "[loved] to eat and would stand and talk food all day," (via The Telegraph). In addition to a famous hatred for garlic, according to Food & Wine Her Majesty also avoided onions and wanted the crusts cut off of her sandwiches. The Queen, reports the chef, preferred to dine simply: toast with marmalade at breakfast time (or Corn Flakes, per Marie Claire), followed by strictly small lunches and dinners.

The Times of India says that, though the Queen never ate pizza, she also never counted calories. Though this may seem pretty laid back — and in line with her quote about not taking oneself too seriously — Her Majesty's personal dining room rule was that nobody could continue eating after she had finished her own meal, per Reader's Digest. (Yes, really.) So, dinner guests at her table should know to always come hungry ... or plan for a late-night pizza run.