Queen Elizabeth II Has Strict Dinner Rules Other Royals Must Follow

The royal family is a family of tradition. There are strict royal protocols for every event, and family dinners are no exception. The queen runs the house, and what she says, goes. But there are some seriously strict rules royal guests must follow when dining with the queen.

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

The queen must approve of all meals to be served at a dinner party

There will never be a dinner party menu that hasn’t been given the queen’s seal of approval. Though she doesn’t do the meal planning, she does decide if she feels something isn’t the right fit for the occasion. There have been rumors that the queen doesn’t like strong scents, such as garlic, and she reportedly only enjoys limited seafood. Plus, according to Taste of Home, the queen prefers lighter meals for dinner as opposed to carb-heavy options, such as pasta.

All royals and guests must follow a specific dress code

Whether it’s Christmas dinner at Sandringham with the royal family or a larger gathering that involves royal friends, everyone must adhere to a strict dress code. Modesty is the best policy for royal dinners, and high necklines are recommended. Women should wear dresses and stockings, and men typically wear trousers and coats.  

Queen Elizabeth II enjoying dinner in 2018
Queen Elizabeth II enjoying dinner in 2018 | Toby Melville/WPA Pool/Getty Images

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Guests must fold their napkins in a particular way

This isn’t a royal rule so much as a form of etiquette meant to help royals avoid any embarrassing food stains. When a royal sits down to eat, the napkin should, of course, go in their lap. But royals are encouraged to fold their napkin in half, then only wipe their mouths with the inside part of the napkin. This way, the napkin appears clean on both sides, plus guests avoid transferring any food stains from the napkin onto their clothing.

Utensil etiquette is necessary   

To attend a royal dinner, family members must know how to properly use utensils. The fork must always be held in the left hand, with the knife in the right. And there can be no squeaking utensils along the plate, since that creates a sound nobody at the dinner table wants to hear. The royals must always stop eating once the queen finishes her meal.

Prince William Kate Middleton
When royals travel, etiquette rules are often relaxed — Kate Middleton wouldn’t typically get herself a beer while at a royal dinner. | Matt Mackey/Press Eye

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If a royal drinks tea, they must hold the cup a certain way

Even something as simple as taking a sip of tea must follow a specific royal method. Holding the teacup improperly signals poor etiquette. Delish reports that the tea cup must be held with the forefinger and thumb against the top of the handle. Royals are allowed to use their middle finger to support the cup’s base, if necessary.  

Royal dinner entrances are based on order of precedence

When royals have dinner together, they don’t simply arrive when they’re ready. Royals are always seated at the table in order of precedence, meaning in order of who will next take the throne. Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles enter after the queen, followed by Prince William and the Cambridge family, then Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (well, back when they used to attend royal dinners).