Queen’s palace staff use this ingenious trick to prevent her being poisoned

The Queen is always protected in case a poisoning attempt is made

 Queen Elizabeth II arrives for the state banquet in her honour at Schloss Bellevue palace on the second of the royal couple's four-day visit to Germany on June 24, 2015 in Berlin, Germany
(Image credit: Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

The Queen is known for hosting many majestic banquets and palace staff have a particularly ingenious trick to prevent her food from being poisoned at one of these important occasions. 

The Queen and other senior royals such as Prince Charles and Prince William often attend state banquets at various royal residences, including the monarch’s official London home, Buckingham Palace. And whilst these are undoubtedly glamorous occasions, the security implications are intense. With the Queen surrounded by other equally prominent figures, it’s never more important to ensure the safety of everyone there. 

This includes carefully monitoring all the meals served - especially those consumed by Her Majesty. And it seems palace staff have a simple, but very effective, way of preventing the Queen’s food from being poisoned. As revealed on Channel 5 documentary, Secrets of the Royal Kitchen, the Queen isn’t ever served a specific plate.

Royal commentator Emily Andrews explained: "After everything is plated up, a page chooses at random one of the plates to be served to Her Majesty. So if anyone did want to poison the monarch they’d have to poison the whole lot."

The Queen With President Reagan At A State Banquet At Windsor Castle

(Image credit: Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

But whilst it’s a royal page that gets to choose which exact plate of food the Queen enjoys, the monarch does get her pick of the meals on offer. Royal chef Darren McGrady, who cooked for the Queen, Princess Diana, Prince William and Prince Harry throughout this career, went on to reveal that the monarch is given specific menus. 

“The chef does three days’ menus and that gives us enough time to get all the produce in and prepare it,” he explained. 

“When the menu book goes up to the Queen she puts a line through all the dishes she doesn’t want.”

Guests in the ballroom as Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and King Felipe VI of Spain attend the State Banquet at Buckingham Palace on July 12, 2017 in London, England

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And when it comes to the Queen’s personal taste, it seems there are some surprising popular ingredients that she’s not so keen on. Darren revealed that there is a ban on garlic and a limit to how much onion is used, though Her Majesty regularly enjoys game.

The Queen knows exactly what she does and doesn’t want on her plate and she apparently has her own special code to let the royal chefs know who they’ll be serving and when.

“If she’s out for dinner she’ll put a line through the page, and if she has a guest coming she’ll put two or three, so we know she is entertaining,” Darren disclosed.

Queen Elizabeth II and Mexico's President Felipe Calderon (L) toast their glasses during a state banquet hosted by the Queen in honour of the visiting president and first lady, inside the Ballroom at Buckingham Palace

(Image credit: Photo by Johnny Green/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The Queen has sadly not been able to entertain at any of her royal residences for many months due to the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Having spent the recent lockdown at her Berkshire home, Windsor Castle, it’s understood that she has remained there since.

Since Prince Philip died on April 9, the Queen has reportedly been visited there by each of her children as they support her through this difficult time.

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!