Queen Elizabeth's 'guilty pleasure' was a surprisingly relatable snack and we wish we were eating it right now

Queen Elizabeth used to treat herself to this classic French dish, according to a former royal chef

Queen Elizabeth II visits the British Airways headquarters to mark their centenary year
(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth’s "guilty pleasure" snack was so decadent and takes a simple sandwich to the next level.

The late Queen Elizabeth was known for having specific food preferences such as steering clear of garlic and enjoying afternoon tea every day. A royal afternoon tea wouldn’t be complete without a sandwich or two and there was reportedly a 52p ingredient Buckingham Palace used to elevate cucumber sandwiches served at the annual garden parties. Though not every sandwich Queen Elizabeth ate was quite so dainty, according to former royal chef Darren McGrady. 

He once suggested that a luxuriously cheese-filled toasted sandwich was one of Queen Elizabeth’s “guilty pleasures”. Although it might be difficult to imagine Her Majesty being partial to a humble toastie, hers were apparently a version of the classic Croque Monsieur.

Queen Elizabeth watches her horse 'Fabricate' run in the Wolferton Stakes on day 1 of Royal Ascot

(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

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According to the Daily Mail, Darren supposedly made this intriguing revelation during an interview with Sydney's KIIS 106.5 FM. Alongside several other anecdotes about his time cooking for Queen Elizabeth, he claimed that she enjoyed a Croque Monsieur which he called a “fancy version” of a toasted cheese sandwich.

Hers reportedly had melted Gruyère, ham and whipped eggs and the classic Croque Monsieur is topped with béchamel. This French dish is immensely popular and to take Queen Elizabeth’s “guilty pleasure” snack to the next level, a Croque Madame is the same but with a fried egg added.

Rich and indulgent, we can totally see why Queen Elizabeth was reportedly a fan of this particular version of a cheese toastie. If Gruyère isn’t for you, you could also switch this out for another of your favourite cheeses but this Swiss cheese gives a lovely gooeyness that is so comforting.

Croque Monsieur with ham, gruyere and Béchamel Sauce

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Whilst a Croque Monsieur might have been a royal treat for Her Majesty, in general Darren revealed that Queen Elizabeth favoured lighter dishes and liked things in moderation, as well as wanting to eat seasonal ingredients. Speaking previously to Today, as per Express.co.uk, Darren explained that when strawberries were in season, Queen Elizabeth couldn’t get enough of them but would make her feelings clear if anyone tried to serve them to her in the winter.

“You can send strawberries every day to the Queen during summer at Balmoral and she’ll never say a word,” he alleged. “Try including strawberries on the menu in January and she’ll scrub out the line and say don’t dare send me genetically modified strawberries.”

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in a field with some highland cattle at Balmoral, Scotland, 1972

(Image credit: Photo by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The late Queen’s determination to champion seasonal produce is something King Charles shares too and Balmoral strawberries might have been quite nostalgic for her. She and Princess Margaret are said to have picked wild strawberries themselves in Scotland, according to former royal butler, Paul Burrell, who got candid about this wholesome habit on behalf of Slingo last year.

“Her summer holidays we’d go to Scotland, walk through the heather with her dogs, with her sister Margaret and pick wild strawberries and bring them back to the castle, bowls of wild strawberries from the hillside and ask the chef to make jam for tea,” he stated. “When they sat at the tea table, they would eat their own jam, the strawberries that they picked and for the Queen, that was who she was.”

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!