Queen Elizabeth Eats Cereal for Breakfast and Other Surprising Royal Family Eating Habits

Have you ever wondered what the queen of England eats for breakfast? Or if the princes were ever allowed to eat McDonald’s? Well, we looked at a couple different royal chef interviews to get the scoop on the royal family diet. Read on to find out what the royals love to eat.

1. Dinner is very formal

Maggie Smith

Maggie Smith would approve. | PBS

Former royal chef Darren McGrady recently told Marie Claire in an interview that dinner was very much a formal affair for the family. “They would come in for afternoon tea by the log fire in outdoor clothes, and then they’d all change for dinner,” said McGrady. “They’d come down in dressy ball gowns, and sit at the table — like a Downton Abbey dinner. All the fine china was brought out. At the end of the meal, a bagpipe player would walk around the table.”

2. The royal chef helped Princess Diana with her post-bulimia diet

The palace helped her recover. | Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

McGrady also helped Diana with her struggle with bulimia. He said her illness was a secret for a long time at Buckingham Palace, but when she started confronting it and “everyone put two and two together,” he completely changed the palace’s menu to help her with her diet.

3. The queen eats Kellogg’s for breakfast

rice cereal rice and sugar paste

She likes cereal just as much as you do. | DPimborough/iStock/Getty Images

It turns out, when it comes to breakfast foods, the queen has very low-maintenance taste. “Breakfast was very simple for Her Majesty. Some Kellogg’s cereal from a plastic container, which she’d serve herself. And some Darjeeling tea,” said McGrady.

4. She likes to travel with cake

The queen doesn’t travel without cake. | iStock/Getty Images

We all have a favorite go-to travel snack, but it’s usually something like pretzels or licorice. Not the queen; she may eat Kellogg’s for breakfast, but she likes to travel with cake. According to In Style, she refuses to travel, even short distances, without at least a piece of chocolate biscuit cake.

5. Garlic was not allowed

Garlic cloves and sliced garlic on vintage wooden background.

They take fresh breath seriously. | Dulezidar/iStock/Getty Images

According to another former royal family chef, Carolyn Robb, garlic was not to be included in any of the family’s meals. She said the reason for this was that the family does a lot of public engagements where they’re in close proximity to people, and they don’t want to smell of garlic. But in addition to that, the queen just simply isn’t a fan of garlic. “The queen would never have garlic on the menu. She hated the smell of it, she hated the taste of it,” said McGrady. 

6. The queen has a glass of Champagne every day

close-up of a row of glasses

It must be nice to be queen. | iStock/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II likes to end each day with a glass of Champagne. In Style surmises that it’s likely a flute filled with Bollinger, Lanson, or Krug. They also reported that Champagne isn’t the only bit of alcohol she likes to consume on a regular basis. She also appreciates a nice gin and Dubonnet with a slice of lemon on the rocks just before lunch.

7. The queen gets her own personal menu book

Buckingham palace guards

The queen gets her choice from a menu. | Leon Neal/Getty Images

It’s up to the queen to decide the menu. At Buckingham Palace she’d reportedly be sent a menu book that the kitchen would come up with, and she would choose the dishes she wanted. The book would come back down to the kitchen and the chef would start preparing. Apparently, Her Majesty’s menus are done three or more days prior to serving, and she likes to stick to the process religiously. 

8. The menu was often economical

Kensington Palace gardens

Much of the meal comes from the estate. | Pat_Hastings/iStock/Getty Images

According to former royal chef Robb, meals were often cheaper to make than one might think. This is because they’d often use ingredients found on the estate. “A lot of the produce came from the garden. Lamb would come from the estate, milk would come from the cows on the estates,” said Robb. “The pheasants and game were shot, so that was no cost, and the wild mushrooms, we’d pick and use them throughout the year.” 

9. The queen doesn’t mind a little Tupperware

Leftovers in tupperware

It’s hard to imagine the Queen digging into one of these. | Joebelanger/iStock/Getty Images

When Queen Elizabeth II was at Balmoral, she’d often eat fruit from a Tupperware container, according to Marie Claire. “People always say, ‘Oh, the Queen must eat off gold plates with gold knives and forks.’ Yes, sometimes … but at Balmoral she’d eat fruit from a plastic yellow tupperware container,” said McGrady.

10. The queen mother was always late for dinner

Queen mother elizabeth

The queen mother, pictured with Elisabeth II, was always late for dinner. | EPA/AFP/Getty Images

When the queen mother dined at Balmoral, she would be notoriously late for dinner. So much so that the staff had to tell her that dinner was at 8:15, when it was really at 8:30. Even with the white lie, she’d often be the last one down.

11. Princess Diana got the low-fat version of everything

Prince Charles and Princess Diana are walking side by side.

She got her own special menu. | Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Princess Diana would get a special fat-free version of every menu. McGrady said she would ask for “a mousse for President Reagan” but she couldn’t have it because there was mayonnaise and sour cream in the recipe. So he’d make her a fat-free version while the guests would eat the full-fat recipes. “No one would know the difference,” he said.

12. The prince is very mindful of leftovers

Leftover containers of food in a refrigerator

The royal family makes an effort not to be wasteful. | joebelanger/iStock/Getty Images

Apparently, the royal family didn’t like to waste any food, especially the prince. Robb said that if there were leftovers, they’d always be used in one way or another. The prince even made sure that the portion sizes being served were reasonable and not too large. “If we made roasted lamb and there [were] leftovers, we’d probably go and make Shepard’s pie the next night,” said Robb.

13. Harry and William were fans of fast food

McDonald's Big Mac

They were just like any other kids. | Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

“I remember the Princess came into the kitchen one day and said, ‘Cancel lunch for the boys. I’m taking them out; we’re going to McDonald’s. And I said, ‘Oh my God, your royal highness, I can do that. I can do burgers.’ And she said, ‘No, it’s the toy they want,’” said McGrady. He went on to tell Marie Claire that the boys were big fans of American food in general. They loved things like pizza and potato skins.

14. Princess Diana decided what the boys would eat

hearty shepherd's pie with carrots, peas, and mashed potatoes

She had control over their diets. | iStock/Getty Images

According to Racked, Princess Diana was the one who decided what the boys would eat. Their diet consisted mostly of roast chicken, shepherd’s pie, homemade fish fingers, and game. “At a young age, they tried to get the boys to eat things that everyone was eating so that later on in their lives they could go off and be in weird, wonderful places eating weird, wonderful things,” said Robb.

15. Kate cooks for her family

This is a closeup of Duchess Kate Middleton is holding Princess Charlotte.

Kate cooks the family meals for now. | Stephen Lock-Pool/Getty Images

As unusual as it is for members of the royal family to cook for themselves, Kate Middleton enjoys cooking for her family. Robb reminds us that she came from a “normal background and normal home,” so she’s used to cooking for herself. “They have a small household and can fend for themselves. They’ll probably want to do that for as long as they can,” says Robb. “[They want to] have a normal family life because that will really change when you have butlers and nannies and cooks around; the house is no longer your own.”

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