Queen Elizabeth Has Some Secret Traditions When It Comes to the Menu at Buckingham Palace

Queen Elizabeth has spent the last 68 years living in Buckingham Palace as the British monarch and has enjoyed thousands of luxurious dinners prepared by palace chefs. However, royal fans might be surprised to learn that Her Majesty does not eat anything she wants because there are secret traditions and strict rules in place for the palace menu.

Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth | Toby Melville -Pool/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth’s palace menu never features 2 specific ingredients

According to Hello magazine, when it comes to creating a daily menu for the monarch there are two specific ingredients that aren’t allowed: garlic and onions. However, the ban isn’t necessarily because Queen Elizabeth doesn’t like the flavor those foods add to a dish.

Camilla Parker Bowles said during an appearance on Australian MasterChef that “garlic is a no-no” at official palace engagements. She noted that “you always have to lay off the garlic” because of the potential bad breath.

Former royal chef Darren McGrady confirmed Camilla’s story, explaining that too much onion or garlic is strictly forbidden in palace meals. He also revealed that Queen Elizabeth is not a fan of starchy carbs, like potatoes and rice. She is also not a fan of pasta, and prefers dishes with veggies and protein, like fish or meat.

Shellfish is too much of a risk for the royal family

Another food that royal chefs never serve Queen Elizabeth is shellfish. Former royal butler Grant Harrold dished to Woman & Home magazine that shellfish presents too high a risk of food poisoning.

“It is a very sensible move to abandon having seafood when out and about on public duties. We don’t want a member of the Royal family having a serious reaction to food poisoning, especially if she is on an overseas tour,” explained Harrold.

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Even though Queen Elizabeth never eats shellfish, Prince Charles has been known to enjoy it on occasion. Prince William has publicly proclaimed his love for sushi. Meghan Markle included seafood in her “perfect meal” when sharing her favorite foods during a 2013 interview.

The Queen also avoids rare meat and raw meat. McGrady noted that dishes like steak tartare are prohibited at official royal engagements to avoid food poisoning.

Queen Elizabeth has a long-running secret tradition for the palace menu

McGrady told Hello that he prepared Buckingham Palace menus three days in advance. Giving him plenty of time for food delivery and preparation.

He presents Her Majesty with a red leather-bound book full of recipes and menus the chefs had picked out. Then she would “put a line through the ones she didn’t want.”

The big secret tradition, though, is that all of the recipes in the leather book – as well as the daily menu itself – are all written in French.

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“If the Queen hosts a dinner at Buckingham Palace, the menu is normally in French,” Harrold revealed. “When she and the Duke hosted dinner following the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales, it was done in their style, with the menus in French.”

Queen Elizabeth is fluent in French. But the menus are printed that way because French became the official language of the court after the Norman conquests in the 11th Century.