After learning of the Queen’s favourite film to watch at Christmas (hint: it’s not a conventional festive choice), we’re now wondering what HRH likes to eat on a typical Christmas Day. Of course, this 25 December will be anything but ‘typical’, even for the Queen, who has decided to spend a quiet Christmas at Windsor Castle instead of the royal family’s usual big family affair at Sandringham.
Nevertheless, food will still need to be served for the Queen, and a look back at her typical Christmas Day meal of previous years gives us some clues as to what Her Majesty might be tucking into on Christmas Day 2021.
The first of the Queen’s Christmas Day meals is, of course, breakfast and it has previously been reported that the Queen is brought a breakfast tray of fruit, coffee and toast to dine on in her room, while her guests (several members of the Royal Family) tuck into a full buffet breakfast with sausages and cereals. As there will be minimal additional guests this year (if anyone), it’s likely the huge buffet may be missed altogether.
After the non-negotiable family outing to St Mary Magdalene Church for the 11am service, guests enjoy a pre-lunch drink. This annual tradition of course will unfortunately not happen this year due to HRH being at Windsor instead of Sandringham in Norfolk, but we’re sure the Queen will ensure she still has a moment to enjoy her traditional pre-lunch gin and Dubonnet.
Reports have varied in recent years as to what the Royal Family have for lunch. Darren McGrady, a former royal chef who worked for the Queen for 15 years, says that he was always instructed to serve a traditional Christmas meal of turkey and all the trimmings. ‘The turkey is served with mashed and roast potatoes, chestnut or sage and onion stuffing, cranberry sauce and bread sauce. Vegetables include brussels sprouts, carrots and roast parsnips,’ Darren says, adding that the Queen would enjoy a glass of the aromatic German white wine gewürztraminer with her meal.
Mike Tindall, husband to the Queen’s granddaughter Zara, recently revealed 70 people attend the royal Christmas lunch.
Afterwards, a traditional homemade Christmas pudding (that’s been made a year previous) is served ‘decorated in holly, doused in brandy, and the palace steward would carry it, flaming, into the royal dining room,’ reports Darren McGrady.
However, Mike has also previously spoken of the royal family’s Christmas Day traditions on his podcast, saying: ‘Christmas Day is a little more quiet because it’s actually a cold buffet because they give everyone the day off, and their big day is Christmas Eve.’
Come evening, the royal family is just like the rest of us, returning to a groaning table to tuck into a buffet of cold meats, chutneys, cheeses and biscuits. This is also the moment when the head chef goes into the dining room to carve the turkey and ham and ‘once he’s done, Her Majesty presents the chef with a glass of whisky and they toast. That’s the only time the chef goes into the dining room and has a glass of whiskey with the Royal Family. It’s one of the chef’s favourite traditions,’ notes Darren.
While it may be a quieter affair than ever for Her Majesty this year, especially as it’s her first since the death of Prince Philip, we’re hopeful she’ll keep as many of the festive traditions alive as possible.