Curious what the Queen and other members of the royal family prefer to eat on a regular basis? To answer that question, we turned to Carolyn Robb, the former chef to Prince Charles, Princess Diana and their sons Prince William and Prince Harry. Robb was the royal family’s youngest and first female personal chef. Here, she shares her recollections of some royal food favourites.
Dishes Fit for a Prince (or Two)
During her tenure as personal chef to Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Carolyn Robb also cooked for Prince William and Harry. She says that when they were boys, their diet was similar to that of a typical British youngster. “When they were young, they enjoyed traditional British favourites such as shepherd’s pie, sausages and mash, and roast chicken,” Robb told us.
The Princes’ Changing Tastes
As you’d expect, the tastes of Harry and William evolved as they grew older, and Robb tells us that neither prince really had a specific dish singled out as a favourite. “During the 11 years that I cooked for William and Harry, their tastes changed and developed considerably as they were encouraged to try a wide range of foods,” Robb explains. “They did not have one particular favourite dish.”
Prince William's Signature Dish
While Prince William enjoys a wide range of foods, when asked to select his favourites, he zeroed in on roast chicken and steak, noting that he prefers his steaks medium rare. “I like it quite alive,” he quipped at a charity cook-off event.
According to Robb, Diana had a varied palate, but wasn’t a big fan of desserts. “She ate most things,” says Robb of Diana’s food tastes, “but she did not have a sweet tooth.”
Prince Charles’ Favourite Food
Prince Charles’ longtime passion for organic gardening has been well documented, so it’s not surprising to learn from Robb that the Prince of Wales’ favourite thing to eat is “fresh produce grown in his own garden.”
Windsor Family Favourites
When asked if there are any Windsor family recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation of which members of today’s royal are particularly fond, Robb reveals, “There are a few family favourites that Prince Charles enjoyed, including a lemon cordial and a classic fruitcake.”
Duchess Kate's Chutney
One of Duchess Kate’s favourite dishes is her grandmother’s recipe for chutney, which she once made for the Queen. Interviewed for a documentary, the Duchess of Cambridge recalls being stymied by what to get the Queen as a Christmas gift for the first time, but then opted for the homemade chutney. The Queen featured the chutney on the Christmas table the following day.
Read more: 10 of the World’s Most Extravagant Royal Weddings
The Queen’s Least Favourite Food
The one food that the Queen stays away from is garlic — which is actually banned from the table when she’s present. The reason, McGrady explained, had to do with her upbringing, with the belief that “if you were holding an audience the next day, you didn’t want to be breathing garlic. It was seen as anti-social.”
Prince Philip is a Grill Master
According to McGrady,
According to McGrady, Prince Philip is the real foodie in the family. “[The Queen] eats to live while Prince Philip is the one who lives to eat,” he told RecipesPlus. “Prince Philip loves to cook on the grill, he’s a great chef.”
While the royals’ food tastes run the gamut, there is one thing that no member of the royal family will ever eat, because it’s forbidden: shellfish. According to BBC News, shellfish has been banned from royal tables due to the risk of food poisoning, which could wreak havoc on their tightly planned schedules.
The Queen Decides When Dinner is Done
When mealtime comes, not only does the Queen have veto power over what’s on the menu, royal etiquette determines that when the Queen finishes her meal, everyone else at the table must stop eating. When the Queen is done, so is dinner!
On a related note, here are 12 Not-So-Royal Foods Prince William and Kate Middleton Let Their Kids Eat!