How The Queen's Meals are Prepared. The Traditional Birthday Cake. Her Favorite Chocolate Brands

The Queen's former personal footman, Paul Burrell, in his book, The Royal Duty, and Darren McGrady, her former personal chef, once revealed how her daily meals are prepared and some of her regular indulges. Drool! 🤤

She has four meals in a day

Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner. She enjoys a modest diet and likes to keep herself healthy. She has little interest in fatty food (though she likes creamy stuff). However, she loves chocolates, especially at tea time. 

Royal Tea Time

Her Majesty normally starts her day with a freshly brewed Earl Grey Tea served in a china bone teacup, without milk, nor sugar. Just pure tea. And she sticks with the English brand, Twinnings, because it holds a royal warrant of appointment from her. 

Her breakfast consists of cereal from Kelloggs accompanied with fruits or yogurt and maple syrup. On some days, she prefers toast with marmalade.

In the 19th century, the Duchess of Bedford, one of the ladies-in-waiting of Queen Victoria, started the tradition of drinking tea in the royal family, which would become a quintessential among English custom.

So while the rest of us never take tea time seriously, others may even dismiss it as nonsense, in the British royal family it's an enduring royal tradition. The Queen even organized tea parties at the Buckingham Palace's garden twice a year.

The Queen takes her afternoon tea at 5:00 in the afternoon and this is where she indulges in sweets. Her favorite Chocolate Biscuit Cake or Chocolate Perfection Pie is usually served at this hour and is often accompanied by other tea food, either scones or sandwiches.

The meticulous preparation

Apart from chocolates, she likes other sweet treats, Jam pennies for example, which are pieces of bread topped with butter and jam and cut into small circles. Even her late mother and sister, loved Jam pennies.

However, it is in sandwiches that the Queen goes meticulous according to two former palace chefs, so they would throw themselves into an elaborate sandwichy preparation. 

Her Majesty, just like her sister, Princess Margaret, and mother, Queen Elizabeth, does not like crust in bread, so it is always removed.

The loaf is always cut lengthways, buttered on both sides before adding the filling, either tuna mayonnaise mixture and sliced cucumber with a crack of pepper, or ham, egg, mustard and smoked salmon. The sandwiches then folded in two lengths, removing the crusts, then cut into eight identical triangles.

Fancy dinner of Her Majesty

Dinner time is when the Queen gets fancier. Her dinner meal sometimes consists of grilled pheasant or venison (deer meat) hunted from Balmoral or Sandringham estate. Staples are usually Shepherd's pie, salmon, grouse, lamb, mutton, or beef.

Shepherd's Pie is Her Majesty's favorite

But whatever meat is available, she prefers her steak to be cooked “well done” according to McGrady. “One of the things that really amazed me was that the queen actually likes her meat well done. [But chef] we cook medium-rare all the time” - Darren McGrady

Her dinner is sometimes accompanied by martini aperitif or a glass of champagne, most likely Champagne Bollinger and Krug because these brands hold royal warrants of appointments from her. 

However, her favorite tipple is reportedly a cocktail of gin and dubonnet (a sweet, aromatized wine-based aperitif) with a piece of lemon. It's uncertain if she still indulges on cocktail drinks now considering her age.

Queen's favorite tipple

The Queen is very old school in her meals. When she does not have visitors or dignitaries coming to the palace, her typical meal just consists of meat, vegetables, shepherd pie, fresh fruits, fish and chips. 

But even if it sounds very ordinary, the kitchen staff made effort to prepare her food in style. For example, mushrooms are often added with a smidgen of marmite.

Normal Eating Habits

Darren McGrady revealed that Her Majesty eats the same dishes the palace chef regularly prepared all season, but when she wants a new meal, her personal chef will prepare a new menu book, a week ahead, then will be sent to her. She will approve the items she likes and cross out the ones she does not like.

Born into opulence and privileges, the British royal family members, however, surprisingly have normal eating habits just like the rest of us. 

Prince Philip was known to have penchant over barbeques and Russian pie, but he personally cooked food when his schedule allows him. 

Prince Philip, Princess Anne and the Queen one summer in Balmoral as shown in The Royal Family documentary in 1969

The Queen checking with Prince Philip if grilled salmon is already done

Before his retirement in 2017, he  took charge of the family barbeque parties at Balmoral castle during summer. And he often bounced in the palace kitchen, unannounced, to check what's for dinner, rattling some kitchen staff. At one point, McGrady mistaken him of a palace gardener.

The Queen, apart from her favorite Chocolate Biscuit Cake and sieved vegetables, loved a Gaelic Steak which McGrady prepared “well-done” in a creamy sauce with Irish whiskey and often serve with baby carrots and mashed potatoes. 

One of the Queen's favorite celebratory desserts is Framboises (pronounced frambwa) St. George which McGrady prepared during St. George's Day and Garter Day in Windsor Castle. 


Framboise is a French word for Raspberries. This creamy fruit dessert is made of fresh raspberries harvested from the Queen's estate in Balmoral, lathered with heavy cream. The raspberries are arranged like the English flag (the cross is a prominent symbol that can be seen in the flag of England and in the Garter robes).

A Queen's favorite celebratory dessert, Framboise St. George made of Raspeberries and thick cream

Do British royals eat Shellfish?

It has been reported in the news that the British royal family members, especially the Queen, never consume Shellfish and certain types of seafood. 

However, this was contradicted by McGrady in an interview with Food Network in 2018. He said that it's not true that the royal family never indulges on seafood. Actually, they eat shellfish and seafood.

In fact in 1986, when he handled the food preparation for Prince Andrew's wedding reception, one of the dishes McGrady prepared was Eggs Drumkilbo, a type of cocktail dish, and it is lobster. 

It was also served during the silver wedding anniversary of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in November 1972, and the Queen Mother loved it.

The only time the Queen declines to eat Shellfish, especially mussels, is when she is on a foreign trip because of the danger of food poisoning. "Her Majesty does not want to get sick in a foreign land, so she would avoid Shellfish, but when she is at home, she and her family members indulge on seafood especially lobsters", according to one of the former palace chefs.

So now we know the fact. It is not true that the British royal family members do not eat seafood.

Chocoholic Queen

One of the Queen's personal indulges is eating chocolates. She is known to her staff as a chocoholic and loves everything about chocolate goodness. 


Chocolate Biscuit Cake served at Prince William's wedding in 2011, a favorite of the Queen

And there's one particular chocolate cake that she can't live without! This sweet treat even goes with her when she is on official overseas tours. 

Darren McGrady traveled with the Queen on official visits to cook her meals and the ultra-favorite cake that she seems cannot live without - the extra decadent Chocolate Biscuit Cake.

According to McGrady, “This cake is probably the only one that is sent into the royal dining room again and again until it has all gone. If there is anything left when she has it at Buckingham Palace, it then goes to Windsor Castle so she can finish it there”.

McGrady revealed that this luscious chocolate cake has a crunchy texture due to the addition of English cookies called Rich tea biscuits. The cake has a finishing touch of decadent chocolate frosting.

Brands of Chocolates in her table

The Queen does not actually reveal her favorite food. According to a former royal correspondent, Gordon Rayner, who has covered more than 20 royal tours, a palace insider confided why Her Majesty does not divulge her favorite food.

One of Her Majesty's favorite chocolate brands, Charbonnel et Walker

"She's afraid she would never get served anything else if she would say she has a favorite meal",  said one of the palace sources.

However, despite keeping her favorite meals a secret, some of Her Majesty's favorite indulges have been revealed in public, including her favorite brands of chocolates.

Charbonnel et Walker is one of her known favorite chocolate brands. And she favored the floral and creamy tastes - the English Rose and Violet Creams varieties. Each box can cost up to £280.

The Queen's great-grandfather, Edward VII, also loved this brand, and would often order it directly from Paris, France. In 1875, the chocolate maker, Madame Charbonnel, moved to London from Paris at the request of the chocoholic prince, the future Edward VII. 

Due to its long years of dealing business with the royal family, it was granted by the Queen Royal Warrant of Appointments, allowing the company to display Her Majesty's Coat-of-Arms in all its packaging.

Recent Chocolatey Revelation

The Queen at her sitting room with her favorite brands of chocolates placed in the table

In February and March this year, the Queen's other favorite chocolate brands were captured in her sitting room in Windsor Castle placed on a small table. 


Bendicks Mint collection. Flavors include Bittermints (richly covered dark chocolates), Elizabethan mints (dark chocolates with peppermint fondant center), Mint Crips (crisp handmade in honeycomb pieces in rich dark chocolates infused in peppermint oil) and Dark English Mints (dark chocolate baton infused in peppermint oil.


Fortnum's boozy, silky Marc de Champagne Truffles. Made in England to an exclusive recipe, each truffle features an intense centre of Marc de Champagne, coated in creamy milk chocolate and finished with a dusting of icing sugar. These truffles are bestsellers at Fortnum's.

Queen's favorites: Fortnum's boozy, silky Marc de Champagne Truffles.


The Fortnum & Mason's Milk & Dark Chocolate Selection Box contains an enchanting mix of creams, caramels, marzipan and fruit & nut clusters in flavors from stem ginger to rose. Fortnum & Mason's Milk & Dark Chocolate Selection Box, which costs up to £220 (US$299.80).

Fortnum & Mason's Milk & Dark Chocolate Selection Box


The Royal Chocolate Birthday Cake

The royal family has a traditional birthday prepared by the palace chef according to McGrady. Each royal birthday celebrant receives this heavenly luscious chocolate cake. 

Former personal chef of the Queen, Darren McGrady made a demo on how to prepare the royal family's traditional chocolate birthday cake

McGrady served the Queen, Prince Philip, and Princess Diana for 15 years as a personal chef

The recipe was perfected by Queen Victoria's chef in the 19th century and was never modified by succeeding palace chefs until the present day. So it is an authentic taste of a classic Victorian chocolate dessert recipe.

Asking why the recipe was not modified by the modern palace chefs? According to McGrady, "Because there's no need to change it, and the royal family loved the taste. They also wanted to keep the legacy of the Victorian era through this cake so nothing was modified from the original ingredients".

Darren McGrady in his YouTube channel, demonstrated how the royal chocolate birthday cake is made

The traditional chocolate birthday cake given to members of the royal family 

According to Darren McGrady, palace chefs prepared this Chocolate birthday cake for royal family members simply without any elaborate details and decorations. Just a rich chocolate frosting and filling designed with "Happy Birthday".

Happy 96th birthday to Her Majesty! The Queen's official birthday celebration won't happen until the second Saturday of June during Trooping the Colours, also known as the Queen's birthday parade.

UPDATED:

The Royal Family shared this photo of Her Majesty with two of her fell ponies, Bybeck Katie and Bybeck Nightingale. Released by the Royal Windsor Horse Show to mark her 96th birthday.

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