The Queen's bizarre dinner rule all royals have to follow sounds so complicated

The Queen’s dinner rule reportedly helps the royals avoid making a mess in public—but it isn’t easy!

Queen's dinner rule could surprise you, seen here attending the Out-Sourcing Inc. Royal Windsor Cup polo match
(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

The Queen’s dinner rule for herself and the Royal Family might be a practical choice but it sounds seriously complicated. 


From the common foods the royals can’t eat to the Queen’s sandwich rule to avoid being “overthrown” in line with a very unusual tradition, Her Majesty is known to have some seriously surprising rules when it comes to royal mealtimes. And it seems like no matter what the Queen eats at dinner time, there’s one rule she has that the extended Royal Family also abide by at the table. But whilst the reason for the Queen’s dinner rule might be simple, putting it into practice sounds incredibly complicated!

According to Delish (opens in new tab), the Queen and the rest of the royals use napkins like so many of us around the world, but in their own unique way. Instead of just placing the napkins on their laps to help protect against messy food stains, the publication claimed that they fold their napkins in half. 

A table setting is shown during a press preview of the State dinner for Queen Elizabeth II of England and her husband Prince Philip 07 May 2006

(Image credit: TIM SLOAN/AFP via Getty Images)

The royals then reportedly use the inside part of the folded napkin to wipe away any food stains from their faces, whenever necessary. It’s thought that this napkin folding technique is one of the Queen’s dinner rules as it helps her and her family avoid ruining their luxurious clothes with stains. 

The fold is also a handy way to prevent people from seeing if they’ve made a mess at all. Though remembering to only use the part inside the fold without making a mistake doesn’t sound easy!

Her Majesty and her fellow royals are said to pick their napkins up by the corners when they need to wipe away any food and drink. And though when they’re out and about at engagements this particular dinner rule might be hard to implement, they supposedly put this into practice whenever they can at the dining table.

Queen Adjusting Her Tiara Whilst Reading The Menu Before Dinner Is Served

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

The Queen’s children and adult grandchildren are also believed to follow this rule. And whilst the monarch might be careful when it comes to possible food stains on her clothes, it seems she’s also not a huge fan of finger-food.

Reports have suggested the Queen eats hamburgers in an equally mess-free way. Former royal chef Darren McGrady previously shared that the Queen prefers to eat her meat patties bun-less and that she enjoys the meal with a knife and fork. 

He also alleged to Insider (opens in new tab), "Her Majesty's Victorian upbringing dictates that the only thing you would pick up and eat with your fingers is afternoon tea." 

It seems if there's one thing that's important to the Queen at meal-times, it's keeping things as mess-free as possible!

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas including literature, the British Royal Family and knowing all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and every streaming service out there. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, you can find Emma cooking and watching yet more crime dramas.