What Does Queen Elizabeth II Do in a Day?

The queen’s day is practically planned down to the second. Every moment is accounted for and Queen Elizabeth II knows what to expect when she wakes up in the morning. Follow along with what Her Majesty does in a day ahead.

The queen starts her day with tea and a bath

The queen’s maid goes about a specific routine when it comes to mornings. The maid brings the queen her ‘morning tray’ and turns on BBC Radio 4 because the queen enjoys listening to John Humphrys political show on the program, Today.

While the queen drinks her tea and listens to the radio, her maid gets started on running a bath. But not just any old bath.

The queen’s maid must check the water temperature with a wooden-cased thermometer, according to the Daily Mail, to be sure the water is to the queen’s liking. And the tub must not have too much water in it. No more than seven inches of water is acceptable.

Four people help her get dressed

The queen has designated dressers, people who lay out her clothes and help Her Majesty get dressed for the day ahead. Angela Kelly, the personal assistant to the queen, is responsible for the queen’s wardrobe and oversees the dressers.

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II | Stefan Wermuth – WPA Pool /Getty Images

Once the queen is dressed, her hairdresser gets to work on her tresses.

Cereal for breakfast

One hour after she’s gotten out of bed, the queen eats breakfast in her private dining room. Known to be particular about food, the queen typically dines on the same or very similar foods.

For breakfast, she’s been known to favor cereal or sometimes oatmeal. While Queen Elizabeth II fuels up for the day ahead, a bagpiper plays music.

She heads to work

The queen catches up on the news and gets started on paperwork after breakfast. Her office isn’t just for looks with its Chippendale desk.

“It may appear cluttered and untidy to the average eye, but the Queen knows where everything is and hates it if anything is moved without her permission,” a former staff member told the Daily Mail.

The queen prefers fountain pens to ballpoint pens and has a crystal inkwell on her desk.

Queen Elizabeth II office.
Princess Elizabeth II at her desk in 1946 | Lisa Sheridan/Studio Lisa/Getty Images

Once she’s caught up on current events she calls for her private secretary who then brings a wicker basket to the queen’s office containing papers Queen Elizabeth II will have to read and sign. It’s during this time the queen discusses the details of any expected guests’ stay.

The queen opens mail from personal friends, who know to denote letters with their initials in the bottom left-hand corner, signaling to staff to leave the letter unopened.

Audiences with the queen are at noon and last ten minutes in the appropriately-named Audience Room.

Menu in French

Then it’s time for lunch. Typically Queen Elizabeth II eats a light lunch alone or with one of her kids. Her chef sends up a menu for meals the following week in French.

Why in French when she’s the Queen of England? Because French has been the official language at Court since the reign of Queen Victoria when the head chef made French food and wrote the menus in French. The queen then takes a solo walk in the gardens where her staff know not to disturb her.

Don’t mess with tea time

Any engagements are scheduled to end by 4:30 p.m. at the latest so the queen can be back at 5 p.m. for afternoon tea.

A creature of habit, the queen’s afternoon tea menu rarely, if ever, changes. The menu includes crustless bite-size sandwiches i.e. finger sandwiches, warm scones with cream and strawberry jam, and Dundee fruit cake (the queen’s favorite).

After tea and a snack, the queen may return to her office for another hour before getting ready for dinner. But on Tuesday nights, she has a standing meeting with the Prince Minister at 6:30 p.m. in the Audience Room.

Tray dinner

Dinner often involves a tray dinner for Queen Elizabeth II. Not the kind from the frozen foods section of the grocery store but a tray nonetheless.

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II| Mary McCartney/Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II via Getty Images

She usually eats dinner in her personal quarters, watching TV or reading a book. Oftentimes she’ll have a working dinner where she continues going through the iconic red “boxes” containing official government documents.

Her Majesty always reads a rundown of Parliament proceedings during or immediately after dinner. The queen is in bed by 11 p.m. and enjoys reading before lights out.