The Queen's 'flawless' skill that helps her thrive as a host at royal banquets

The Queen has hosted countless royal banquets over the years and it seems her skills are put to good use to ensure a wonderful experience…

Queen Elizabeth II attends the Elizabeth line's official opening at Paddington Station
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The Queen’s “flawless” skill and “incredible memory” reportedly help her thrive as a hostess at royal banquets as she ensures everything is perfect for her guests. 

Given all the protocols that are said to surround the extended Royal Family, it’s all too easy to be fascinated by what the Queen eats. From the Queen’s breakfast with a special fruity twist to the Queen’s bizarre sandwich rule, the monarch’s menu is seemingly steeped in tradition. This is thought to be the case when it comes to royal banquets too and according to food writer and critic (and the Duchess of Cornwall’s son) Tom Parker Bowles, the Queen is “intricately involved” in royal menus. 

Discussing the Queen’s role as a consummate hostess with Harper’s Bazaar, he explained that just like Prince Charles, the Queen is all about seasonality and home-grown and home-reared produce. 

Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by Sir Hugh Roberts, the Director of the Royal Collection, views the Summer Opening exhibition at Buckingham Palace where the Ballroom has been set out so that visitors can experience a State Banquet

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“Everything I’ve learnt about the Queen’s preferences is from Mark Flanagan, the personal chef to the Queen,” he said. “She likes seasonal ingredients - asparagus, lamb - and food from the estate, such as grouse or venison from Balmoral

“She’ll have pheasants from Sandringham (in season from October to February), and she even has her own cheese made using milk from the cows at the royal dairy in Windsor.”  

And when it comes to banquets he claimed that this is where the Queen’s “incredible memory” and “flawless” skill with languages comes to the forefront. Ever the hostess with the mostest, Her Majesty reportedly has all the menus written in French.

Menu and place settings at the long dinner table for the 80th birthday dinner for Queen Elizabeth II at Kew Palace

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Though as anyone well acquainted with plenty of Queen facts will already know, this suits the monarch’s abilities perfectly. And it seems she’s very much in tune with what her esteemed guests will and will not want to eat.

“When it comes to banquiets, all the menus are traditionally written in French, even if they’re describing English dishes; that’s just the way it’s done,” Tom disclosed. “Happily, the Queen speaks flawless French, and she has the most incredible memory, so she remembers what every single guest likes and doesn’t like.”

The thought of Her Majesty expertly recalling all of her many guests’ food preferences ahead of such huge events is truly remarkable. According to Tom, the Queen puts this knowledge to good use and helps craft the menu accordingly to make sure each choice suits them.

Queen Elizabeth II delivers a speech during a State Banquet for His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah of Kuwait in Windsor Castle

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“She’s intricately involved in what’s on each menu, which is important if you’re hosting the president of France or Japan,” he added.  

It’s said that the Queen’s corgis are also treated to this level of personal involvement from the monarch and are given “home-made concoctions” to enjoy at home. And with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee 2022 celebrations almost here, she’ll soon be getting to enjoy the recently-decided upon Platinum Jubilee pudding

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in digital 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!