The Queen’s diet is a fascinating one — both in its peculiar mundanity and in its characteristic quirks which show up from time to time to remind you that, yeah, she is totally a queen. From her daily routine to her strict rules to her occasional indulges, these are the habits and manners of the world’s most famous woman.
A simple breakfast
When it comes to food, her daily routine isn’t anything particularly out of the ordinary. She wakes up at around 7:30 a.m. and enjoys a pot of Earl Grey (with milk, without sugar) with a few biscuits as she listens to the radio and prepares for a morning bath. Breakfast itself is a little more elaborate — she and Philip usually have a spread of cereal, yogurt and toast with marmalade.
And yes, Kellogg’s (or, more specifically, Special K with fruit) is the cereal of choice for Liz, who serves it to herself out of Tupperware. And if that all seems just a tad too low-key, take solace in the knowledge that she often eats all this off a jewel-encrusted marble dish that, 30 years ago, was worth 500,000 pounds — so today is likely worth millions.
Her first drink of the day
The Queen’s daily choice of alcohol is utterly unwavering. Just before lunch, she’ll drink a gin and Dubonnet with a slice of lemon and ice. For the uninitiated, Dubonnet is a sweet, wine-based aperitif that blends fortified wine, herbs and spices, which was the favorite drink of HRH the Queen Mother. Two-parts Dubonnet and one-part gin is the Queen’s recipe.
As for the brand of gin she enjoys, it’s Tanqueray Gordon & Co. who are recipients of a royal warrant, meaning either Gordon’s or Tanqueray — both supermarket brands in the U.K. — will be the gin of choice for Her Majesty. The HuffPost has a step-by-step recipe, in case you’ve got a hankering to follow suit and start drinking cocktails before lunch.
An even simpler lunch
Lunches tend to be uncomplicated for the Queen. Served at around 1 p.m., it tends to involve some combination of fish and vegetables. According to her former chef Darren McGrady, a typical lunch might consist of grilled Dover sole on a bed of wilted spinach with courgettes, or something similar.
Naturally, this is just personal preference, and things are quite different if she’s entertaining or travelling. On a royal visit, she might consume a meal such as salmon tian with fennel and apple salad, followed by a rib of lamb with bean cassoulet and lemon jus, topped off with a burnt-orange tart with poached meringue and blackberry compote. It seems likely, however, that she’d much rather keep it simple — the endless banquets and full-course lunches must weigh one down after a while, after all.
A not-so-simple afternoon tea
Afternoon tea holds a special place in the U.K.’s history. It originated in the 1840s, was said to be popularized by Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford (a lifelong friend of the Elizabeth’s great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria) and quickly became a favorite meal of the higher social classes. Nowadays, it’s more of a special occasion thing, but the Queen still sits for it every day.
It consists of cakes, such as honey and cream sponge, ginger cake, fruit cake or chocolate biscuit cake; finger sandwiches (without crusts) which might contain cucumber, smoked salmon, egg mayonnaise or ham and mustard; and finally tiny raspberry jam sandwiches known as jam pennies. These, of course, are served with tea. Everything is kept quite small, too, which makes sense — she had a large breakfast, after all.
Dinner with Phil
As with lunch, dinner at events of while entertaining is usually an extraordinarily indulgent and elaborate affair — when it’s just Liz and Phil, however, that’s rarely the case. The pair will change into a more comfortable set of clothes before enjoying a "relaxed" meal of meat (lamb, roast beef, mutton, grouse or salmon, often taken from the Queen’s own estates at Sandringham or Balmoral) with vegetables and a Martini as an aperitif.
Dessert might include strawberries, also picked at Balmoral, or white peaches grown at Windsor Castle. It’s also worth noting that a range of condiments, including Lea & Perrins, HP Sauce and Heinz, all hold royal warrants, so she’s likely partial to a glob on the side. What she’s not partial to is wine, though, which she rarely drinks at her private dinners.
Her final drink of the day
After dinner, the Queen will settle down to watch Coronation Street or play a game (jigsaws, crosswords and Scrabble, puzzle fans), before doing a little more work later in the evening. This is also the time when she’ll have her final drink of the day: a glass of Champagne. No fewer than eight brands of Champagne carry the royal warrant, though the Queen is said to be particularly partial to Bollinger, Krug, Lanson and Pol Roger.
And that glass of bubbly is nothing to criticize, either — according to experts, drinking a glass before bed has few health problems associated with it and is likely beneficial to her health, well-being and stamina. So if you really want to live long and royally, best crack out the Bolly.
Her Royal Chocolateness
While she has her fair share of gastronomic likes and dislikes (who doesn’t?), one particular favorite of the Queen’s deserves special mention: chocolate. Among her most well-loved sweet desserts are chocolate biscuit cake, chocolate mousse and chocolate ganache sponge cake. Not only that, but, according to ex-royal chef Darren McGrady, basically any menu item given to her for approval would be green-lit if it contained chocolate.
Some bonus trivia for you: she likes it darker and as bitter as possible — a cocoa content of 60 percent or higher is something of a must-have, and she isn’t a huge fan of milk or white chocolate. Her absolute favorite chocolate for snacking are Bendicks Bittermints, which, if you’ve never had them, are simultaneously supremely dark and intensely minty. Right on the mark.
A post-church roast
Like pretty much every right-minded Brit, the Queen has quite a tendency towards Sunday roasts. Being one of Britain’s most beloved culinary traditions, this isn’t much of a surprise. They were originally meant to be a meal Englishmen would eat following church services in the 1400s, and soon became inexorably popular with aristocrats and workers alike.
The Queen, naturally, keeps the tradition alive — she sits down for her roast after attending Sunday mass. As per usual, the cut of meat will come from something hunted on her own estates, and she has a preference for well-done joints, not being a huge fan of the rarer cuts. If she’s anything like her subjects, this Sunday roast is accompanied and followed by a great deal of boozing, but we’re not quite able to confirm that one.
Her Majesty might err towards lighter meals day-to-day, but modesty goes down the drain at Christmas. Lunch is a suitably sumptuous affair: turkey, stuffings, roast potatoes, mashed potatoes, parsnips and Brussel sprouts, followed by a Christmas pudding doused in brandy and set alight. After lunch, the family goes for a walk around the estate (Sandringham, at Christmas) before afternoon tea. Then the order of the day is chocolate Yule log, scones, mince pies, sandwiches and more Christmas cake.
But that’s not all: the family also tucks into an evening buffet later on Christmas day, which is allegedly even more elaborate than the lunch. Think ham, chicken, salmon, foie gras, eggs, vegetables, cheeses, cotelettes and all sorts more, before drinks and a toast to the Queen’s head chef.
What she likes and where to get it
While these may be some of the staples of the Queen’s eating habits, the fact is that she, like any other human being, has a range of preferred foods and drinks that is almost impossible to list. There is, however, one way of finding out if something has her stamp of approval: the Royal Warrant of Appointment. This is a literal stamp of approval meaning a product is used by the royal family, and is a source of great prestige for companies and producers.
Some British goods which have received the Royal Warrant include Wilkin & Sons, Twinings & Co, Heinz, Weetabix and Cadbury’s. If it’s the queenly lifestyle you’re after, then a full list of recipients is available here. Because if it’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for you.