The Royal Family Has to Follow These 12 Food Rules

Ever wonder what it's like to dine with the royal family? Everything from a dress code to the way you hold your fork and cup are regulated.

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Queen Elizabeth London uk 9June 2018- Meghan Markle Prince Harry George William Charles Kate Middleton & Princess Charlotte Trooping the colour Royal Family Buckingham Palace
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Rules Start When They Enter the Room

The royal family always enters a room in the Order of Precedence, meaning the hierarchy of ascendancy to the throne. The Queen obviously goes first, and Harry and Megan will enter after William and Kate.  These recipes are inspired by the royal family’s favorite foods.

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Do a Napkin Trick

Fold in half on their lap and wipe with the inside of the napkin, to keep clothes clean. This tip is totally practical for normal people, too!

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Queen Elizabeth II and Duke of Edinburgh Trooping The Colour at Horse Guards Parade, during Trooping the Colour ceremony, on June 13, 2015 in London, England, UK
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No Garlic!

Heartbreaker! Garlic is banned from the royal table. The Queen reportedly loathes the stuff, plus it’s considered poor manners to have unpleasant breath. Our favorite garlic recipes are definitely a silver lining of being a commoner.

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LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 17 2012: Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II visits Liverpool Albert Dock during her Diamond Jubilee tour of Great Britain, Liverpool, England. May 17 2012; Shutterstock ID 114857485
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Dinners Must Be Queen Approved

The Queen previews and approves all meals for the week, as is her privilege! She reportedly prefers lighter fare in the evening, so heavy carbs like potatoes, rice and pasta are off the menu.

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Tea set of the Renaissance
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Hold That Teacup with Care

Think that picking up a teacup is a no-brainer? Not so for royals. There’s a strict way to hold a cup: put the thumb and pointer finger on top of the handle, and use the middle finger to stabilize the bottom of the handle. The actual cup shouldn’t be touched, and the second hand absolutely shouldn’t get involved! Here’s the Queen’s favorite tea.

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle make their first official visit to the counties of West and East Sussex
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Silverware Guidelines

Brandishing a fork and knife seems self-explanatory, but the royals do it a certain way. Hold the fork in the left hand, the knife in the right, and use them in tandem throughout the meal. The knife, when not slicing, should be used to scoop food onto the fork. The royals never let utensils squeak against the plate!

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Princess Kate Middleton, Prince William and Harry are seen on the steps of St Pauls on the June 10, 2016 in London, UK
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There’s a Dress Code

Naturally, the royals dress up more than the average family. Most dinners are formal affairs, meaning that women wear dresses and stockings, and men wear trousers and coats. Other guidelines, like wearing modest necklines, apply as well. Here are two more rules you need to follow if you eat with the Queen.

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His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales attends the launch of the annual State of the World's Plants report and view the Great Broad Walk Borders at the Royal Botanic Gardens.
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Eat What You Hunt

The royals enjoy hunting at their country houses, and for private dinners, they often eat game. Prince Charles is particularly a fan of eating what he shoots. The whole royal family loves this dish.

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Meghan Markle Prince Harry 1st outing since baby. Trooping the colour Royal Family Buckingham Palace
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Never Sit in the Wrong Seat

Among the royal staffers is an entire team dedicated to seating organization: the Office of the Marshal of the Court. They make sure everyone sits in the proper seat during large dinners and events; you can bet there’s not a free-for-all scramble to sit by Prince Harry.

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Thousands of people packed University Avenue and the grounds of Queen's Park to catch a glimpse of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in Toronto
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Conversation Is Metered

Don’t expect a raucous group conversation. The Queen speaks to the person on her right through the first course, and then switches to the person to her left. She’s known for asking questions rather than putting forth her own opinions.

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White plate, fork and knife on light background. Toned image.
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Signaling When They’re Done, or Not

Done = fork and knife handles laid across plate with the handles pointed to the bottom right. Not done = cross the fork and knife over the plate.

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Queen Elizabeth II and Duke of Edinburgh attend the Trooping Of The Colour at Horse Guards Parade, London, UK. June 16, 2012
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The Meal Ends When the Queen Is Done

There’s a simple way to tell when a dinner is over: when the Queen has finished, everyone is finished—and nobody leaves until the Queen is done. As expected, though, she’s perfectly gracious, reportedly pushing a bit of food around her plate if others are still eating. Follow these everyday etiquette tips for dining at home.

Kelsey Rae Dimberg
A former in-house editor at Taste of Home, Kelsey now writes, cooks and travels from her home base of Chicago. After going gluten-free over a decade ago, Kelsey turned to home cooking and baking as a way to recreate her favorite foods. Her specialties include gluten-free sourdough bread, pizza and pastry. When not wrangling her toddler, she enjoys reading, watching old movies and writing. Her debut novel, Girl in the Rearview Mirror, was published by William Morrow in 2019, and her second is forthcoming.