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Duchess Kate | Source: Getty Images | Shutterstock
Duchess Kate | Source: Getty Images | Shutterstock

The Royal Family’s Christmas Menu Includes ‘Boring’ Festivities, No Coins in the Pudding & Afternoon Tea

Edduin Carvajal
Dec 25, 2021
08:00 A.M.

Every family has its own Christmas traditions, but what about the British royal family? Have you ever wondered what Queen Elizabeth eats on Christmas Day? Royal Chef Darren McGrady knows it, and he shared all about it.

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We all know that the royal family follows many rules throughout the year, and Christmas is no exception. Former Royal Chef Darren McGrady disclosed what they eat during the holidays, including their "boring" lunch.

McGrady began working for the royal family in 1982 and proved his worth by becoming senior chef for Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. The job required staying at Sandringham House for two weeks straight starting on December 22, so McGrady had to celebrate Christmas with his family early. He left the position in 1993.

Christmas is around the corner, so read on and learn what Chef McGrady has to say about what the British royal family eats on Christmas Day.

Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Princess Anne, and Prince Charles at Windsor Castle in Berkshire, circa 1969 | Photo: Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Princess Anne, and Prince Charles at Windsor Castle in Berkshire, circa 1969 | Photo: Getty Images

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BREAKFAST

The Royals kick off their Christmas Day in the most traditional English way: bacon, eggs, fried or grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, fried bread or buttered toast, and sausages—an English breakfast.

They don't spend too much time by the Christmas tree that day as they usually open their presents on Christmas Eve. After breakfast, they go to church and then return home for lunch.

LUNCH

McGrady pointed out that the royals were "boring" about food during festivities. Instead of celebrating with ham or pork, they eat turkey every year.

They have different stuffings like sage, onion, and chestnut, and traditional sides, like roast or mashed potatoes, parsnips, and Brussels sprouts. For dessert, they go for pudding.

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When Princess Diana was alive and spending Christmas with the royal family, things were a bit different.

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When the pudding is ready, they douse it in brandy and light it up. Then, the palace steward carries it into the dining room before the flames are extinguished.

It is essential to point out that they never put a coin in the pudding. McGrady explained that they were too afraid to do that after the Queen Elizabeth Mother choked on a fishbone years ago.

The chef and his cooks prepare three turkeys for Queen Elizabeth and other adult royals in the main dining room, one for the kids' nursery, and many more for the over 100 royal staff members. The amount of food varies depending on the guests.

Royal children commonly eat in the nursery until they can conduct themselves properly with the adults at the main dining table. While the adults enjoy their meals, the nannies take care of the kids.

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After lunch, everyone takes a walk around Sandringham Estate before returning in time to watch the Queen's speech. Then, it's tea time. About it, McGrady said:

"It was always the chocolate Yule log, which was a twist on the chocolate birthday cake, scones, mince pies, different types of sandwiches, and the Christmas cake."

Most people have cocktails on Christmas, and the Queen is no exception. According to McGrady, she drinks a classic gin and dubonnet cocktail before dinner and a cup of Gewürztraminer, a sweet and aromatic white wine, during dinner.

DINNER

The royals have a buffet "more elaborate" than lunch for dinner. It includes a big York ham, a foie gras en croute, and a whole Stilton cheese. Cooks cut off the top of the cheese, pierce holes in the middle, and pour port to create a "gorgeous" spread for cookies. The Head Chef is also invited to the dining room to carve the meat.

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After finishing their meals, the Head Chef gets a drink and the royals show him appreciation for his hard work cooking for them throughout the year.

When Princess Diana was alive and spending Christmas with the royal family, things were a bit different. McGrady admitted she loved a crepe soufflé dessert, so he always included that on the menu.

Diana loved it so much that, when lunch was over, she would go to the kitchen and ask if they had more crepe soufflé. It was her favorite, but she was too scared to ask for seconds in front of Queen Elizabeth. We really can't blame her!

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