Here at Académie de Bernadac we have often been mentioning her in our etiquette classes, in our publications. Therefore, we would like to pay her a last tribute on an iconic etiquette topic we had in common: table manners!
She sits first!
Yes, one cannot take a seat before the Queen does so.
She starts to eat
Even if you are very hungry, you shall not start before her. It would be a huge mistake.
You finish eating with her
If the Monarch place its cutlery on finished position, then the dish is over for all participants
Today at lunch you had your phone on the table? Well, you couldn’t have done it in front of her.
Drink on the same spot on the glass
Ladies wearing lipstick – and gentlemen: no visible marks on the glass allowed! Drink on one single spot for the whole meal. It is not allowed to turn the glass.
She has an order for talking to people
Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton was seated on her left at a lunch in 2009. He confessed later:
« I was excited and started to talk to her，but she said, pointing to my left, ‘No, you speak that way first and I’ll speak this way and then I’ll come back to you’. »
Being on her left, he was the 2nd most important male guest. She would have thus to speak to the most important one first, on her right.
Napkin, closed mouth, and formal clothes!
Elizabeth II was famous for enjoying rather formal dinners. Which would mean formal clothes for all guests! And of course, no noise when chewing, napkin mandatory.
Traditional British way allows you only to place your cutlery down when eating. Your fork is never up, you never scoop with it.
13 at the table?
There cannot be! The number of guests have to be more or less than that. Because the last supper of Jesus was composed of 13 people, and many people are superstitious…
You need to go to the bathroom?
Then you just mention “excuse me”, place your cutlery on the “unfinished” position, and leave. No further explanation.
Do you know her purse signal?
If she places it on the table, it is the signal the whole meal is over and she will soon leave the table. So will all the guests.
Quite a lot of rules, don’t you think? But there are even more about the food itself!
She chooses what’s on the menu
Former royal chef Darren McGrady – who worked at Buckingham Palace for 11 years – said the Queen is « not a foodie », often preferring to stick to the same dishes. He also revealed that each week, a red leather-bound book of menus, written in French, would be sent to the Queen for her to check over. « She would put a line through the ones she didn’t want »
With a preference for …
Darren added that the monarch also has a soft spot for chocolate. « Anything we put on the menu that had chocolate on, she would choose, especially chocolate perfection pie. »
She rather have her food coming from…
…from her own estate! Orange from her Sandringham castle, salmon from the Balmoral castle in Scotland (where she passed away), game meat her family would have hunted etc.
What about drinks?
The queen began every day with a pot of Earl Grey Tea, a traditional bergamot-scented black tea she drank with milk and no sugar. Her devotion to the flavor ensured its popularity throughout the world, making it the fifth most popular tea flavor globally, according to Fresh Tea.
For alcohol, The queen’s preference is for her own gins from Buckingham Palace and Sandringham House, made with ingredients from the gardens at each.
And of course, a lot of forbidden food!
Garlic: it’s bad for the breath
Pasta, rice, potatoes: never on the evening
Fast food. She would accept a burger, only if you remove the upper bun. Lady Diana used to sometimes discreetly order McDonalds for her 2 boys though
No spicy food – yes, she probably didn’t enjoy the Sichuan cuisine…
No seafood, considered too risky with food poisoning
No taper water when outside the UK
Non-season food: according to Darren Mc Grady, she could eat strawberries every day in summer, but not a single time in winter
Still quoting Darren McGrady, she would never touch any food with her fingers, excepting the afternoon tea – pure Victorian tradition.
We wish her to rest in peace, and warmly thank her for everything she brought us!