Queen Elizabeth’s washing up habit has blown our minds and she didn’t want a former Prime Minister changing it!

Queen Elizabeth's washing up habit might surprise many fans and she apparently had a great response to a PM trying to switch things up

Queen Elizabeth's washing up habit explained. Seen here is Queen Elizabeth during an inspection of the Balaklava Company, 5 Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland
(Image credit: Photo by Jane Barlow - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth’s washing up habit has blown our minds and she reportedly didn’t want a former Prime Minister changing it! 

The late Queen Elizabeth was known for having certain traditions, including gathering her nearest and dearest at Sandringham for Christmas and heading to Balmoral Castle every summer. It was at her beloved Scottish home that Queen Elizabeth’s holiday habit made her “hard to find”. But it apparently wasn’t the only unusual approach she took during her summer breaks that might come as a surprise to many. Queen Elizabeth’s washing up habit has seriously surprised us - and we’re apparently not the only ones to be a little stunned by how washing up is done at Balmoral… 

Queen Elizabeth II on the lawn at Balmoral Castle, Scotland

(Image credit: Photo by DAVID CHESKIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Former royal butler Paul Burrell previously got candid with Vicky Pattison on her The Secret podcast about Queen Elizabeth’s preferences when it comes to washing up during her summer break. As per The Mirror, he revealed that despite Her Majesty being known for her vibrant formal outfits, in Aberdeenshire she’s also not afraid to put on a pair of marigolds and get stuck into the washing up herself!

"She likes to wash up,” he claimed. “She puts on the marigolds and when she goes out to the log cabin at Balmoral she is stood there with her marigolds on and she washes up and the lady in waiting dries."

Whilst it might be hard to imagine Britain’s longest-reigning monarch wearing marigolds and washing all the crockery and cutlery by hand, apparently this used to be Queen Elizabeth’s washing up habit on holiday.

Queen Elizabeth II at the writing desk in her study in Balmoral Castle

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

It reportedly left quite a few Prime Ministers bemused over the years, including Margaret Thatcher. Speaking on behalf of the Slingo, Paul has now suggested that Margaret might have felt that this “shouldn’t” be something the monarch should do. However, Queen Elizabeth supposedly took the then-PM’s uncertainty in her stride.

“As the Queen washed the dishes when they were out on a picnic, I think Margaret Thatcher felt that the Queen really shouldn't be doing that because she was our Queen and our monarch,” Paul alleged, before adding, “[T]he Queen would just turn to her Prime Minister and say, ‘Well, I’ll wash, will you dry?’ So that was our Queen.”

Another former UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, also previously revealed in a tribute to Her Majesty after her passing in 2022 how he’d “broken” Queen Elizabeth’s washing up habit protocol.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip at Balmoral, Scotland, 1972

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

“I’m not making this up, you sat down and Prince Philip and Her Majesty the Queen served your dinner and cleared it away and washed it up while you sat talking with the other guests,” he declared, as per The Telegraph. “I remember, I think it was sort of year five, I thought ‘Well, I now surely can help’ and got up and got on the Marigolds and started doing the washing-up. And I remember Her Majesty saying: ‘What on earth is the prime minister doing?’”

David added, “I’d broken with the protocol and rapidly sat back down and did what I was told.”

So Queen Elizabeth’s washing-up habit seemingly surprised a few Prime Ministers too as she enjoyed a more relaxed way of living during her summer breaks at Balmoral.

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!