As a member of the British royal family, one might think you can do whatever you want. But, as far as the queen is concerned, that is simply not true — especially when it comes to food.
From the foods that are banned from Buckingham Palace to the ridiculous way the Queen Elizabeth ensures everyone is finished eating, we share the weird food rules the British royal family must follow, ahead.
Garlic is banned at Buckingham Palace
When it comes to banned grocery items, the queen has it out for garlic. So, you’ll never see (or, taste) the flavorful food in anything served at Buckingham Palace.
In an article on Recipes Plus, Darren McGrady, former chef to the queen, shares that the queen isn’t necessarily a picky eater, she just knows that she prefers certain foods over others. And garlic isn’t one of them.
You can’t invite the queen for tea
There is a laundry list of words members of the British royal family cannot say, including the word tea. That said, it is only unacceptable when referring to an evening meal. If a member of the royal family would like to invite the queen over for a cup of tea in the evening, they must always refer to it as supper or dinner.
Pasta for dinner is completely unacceptable
For most families, pasta is a go-to dinner staple. But, the British royal family isn’t most families. That said, pasta is another dish you won’t see on the menu at Buckingham Palace (or, any other British royal family residence). Instead, pasta is reserved for special occasions and dinner parties.
You’ll never see potatoes and rice on the dinner menu, either
Another food that is only eaten on special occasions? Starches — specifically, potatoes and rice. While they aren’t banned completely, the queen keeps them on reserve for special occasions and instead enjoys grilled fish or chicken with vegetables.
No one in the British royal family is allowed to eat shrimp
While they have slipped up from time-to-time, the British royal family is cautious when it comes to shrimp and other types of shellfish. Their reason for this? Food poisoning is common in shellfish, and the royal family prefers not to expose themselves to such horror.
They use utensil placement as a way to communicate with staff
Exiting the room during dinner is acceptable. However, the royal family must place their utensils in a specific manner to signal they aren’t finished eating yet. Crossing their utensils ensures their plates go untouched by staff, while placing their knife and fork at an angle with the handles on the bottom right of the plate give staff the go ahead to clear their plates.
If the queen has finished eating, so must everyone else
When it comes to dinner, the queen has a lot of social power. So much so that when she has finished eating, everyone else must stop, too.
If the queen places her purse on top of the table, dinner must end within 5 minutes
Another weird way the queen has a say at dinner? Placing her purse on the table signals to other members of the British royal family and their guests that dinner must come to an end within five minutes.
The queen’s dinner conversations are strategically planned
Sitting next to the queen at a dinner party must be nerve wracking. That said, don’t feel awkward if you’re sitting on her left side and she doesn’t speak to you for the first half of dinner. The queen’s dinner conversations are strategically planned and she always begins dinner by having a conversation with the person seated to her right. Once the second course of the meal is served, she switches to her left.
There is an entire staff dedicated to deciding where everyone sits at dinner parties
As far as events go, the queen employs an entire staff to plan the seating charts. And seating is always organized by order of precedence. Staff members also take language, age, and personal interests into account, too.
The queen has a strict morning breakfast ritual of English breakfast tea and cornflakes
If there’s one thing that cannot be tampered with, its the queen’s morning breakfast. Her Highness enjoys a cup of English breakfast tea (of course!) and — get this — cornflakes every single morning.
There is an art to the way they hold a teacup
Another rule members of the British royal family must adhere to? The proper way to hold a teacup. The royal family etiquette for holding a teacup consists of pinching the teacup handle with their thumb and index finger and using their middle finger to hold the bottom in place.
They have a very specific way of eating food off of forks
According the Business Insider, the royal family is very specific when it comes to using forks. Forks are always held in the left hand with the tines facing down. And instead of using the tines to stab their food, they balance the food on the fork’s backside and carefully bring it up to their mouths.
They must always wear formal attire
As far as dress code goes, members of the royal family reportedly always dress in formal attire — even if they’re just having dinner as a family.
The queen’s dogs must eat gourmet
It’s no secret that the queen loves her corgi companions. According to Brian Hoey in his book, Pets by Royal Appointment, the queen’s pups have their own menu (typed up and everything!) and are often fed a gourmet meal of chicken breast and filet of steak.
And while the queen doesn’t feed them — the food is hand delivered by a footman — she has been known to pour gravy over their meals upon arrival.