The reason why the Queen ‘never really liked’ Buckingham Palace and was always ‘whizzing off’ to Windsor

Her Majesty has spent much of her time at her historic Berkshire home in recent years compared to her official London residence…

Queen "never really liked Buckingham Palace", seen here on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during Trooping the Colour
(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

The reason why the Queen reportedly “never really liked” Buckingham Palace and was always “whizzing off” to Windsor Castle has been revealed by a former royal chef. 

Over the past few years the Queen has spent more time than ever at her Berkshire home rather than her official London residence. It was at Windsor Castle that she and the late Prince Philip spent much of the Covid-19 pandemic and where he was later laid to rest. Earlier this year sources claimed that the Queen was leaving Buckingham Palace for good and making Windsor her permanent home. And although Her Majesty hasn’t confirmed this herself, she has enjoyed plenty of time there in recent months. 

She has continued to receive official visitors there for audiences and the Queen beamed as she attended the Royal Windsor Horse Show in May. Now former royal chef Darren McGrady has discussed her supposed permanent move from Buckingham Palace, and expressed his belief to Coffee Friend that it came as “no surprise” to him for a simple reason. 

Queen Elizabeth II records the Commonwealth Day Message in the Regency Room at Buckingham Palace

(Image credit: Photo by Lewis Whyld-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Darren, who once worked as a chef to both Her Majesty as well as to the late Princess Diana and the Queen’s grandchildren, Prince William and Prince Harry at Kensington Palace, suggested that the Queen “never really liked” her London home. 

Asked what he makes of the reports that the Queen has moved permanently, he responded, “It’s no surprise the Queen has moved to Windsor, she’s never really liked the palace.”

Elaborating further, the former royal chef claimed that the reason for this lies in the way Buckingham Palace is the administrative headquarters for the British monarch. 

“[I]t’s always been the office to the Queen”, he said, before alleging that. “The Queen would always be whizzing off back to Windsor Castle, she can’t wait to get back there. She loves it there, so it’s no surprise she’s moved there permanently.”

Queen Elizabeth II attends an audience with the President of Switzerland at Windsor Castle

(Image credit: Photo by Dominic Lipinski - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Comparing his experience of working at both royal palaces, Darren suggested that Windsor Castle is far more “relaxed” and that this is carried through to Her Majesty’s daily life there.

“There’s two kitchens there, the main kitchen and the small kitchen and the small kitchen is just small enough to take care of the Queen and one of two guests,” he said. “There’d always be a senior chef, a junior chef and about 30 staff that would go to Windsor for the weekend. We worked in the small kitchen, it’s much different, much more relaxed.”

The Queen’s former royal chef reflected on her passion for animals as he continued, “The Queen can go out, walk the dogs, go out and see the horses in the back garden. For the Queen, it’s always been dogs and horses first.”

Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by her Stud Groom Terry Pendry, seen horse riding in the grounds of Windsor Castle

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

“That’s her passion, that’s her hobbies. And why shouldn’t she at 96 enjoy that,” he said. “Let Charles and William take on some of the other engagements, she should just be spending time with the horses and the dogs every day now. Her family are all close by too in Windsor.”

Within only a short distance of her historic Berkshire home, which is the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world, are several of the Queen’s children. 

Prince Andrew and his former wife Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, live at the Royal Lodge on the Windsor Estate. Whilst Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex live at Bagshot Park in Surrey relatively nearby. 

Queen Elizabeth II watches her horse 'Balmoral Leia' win the 'Horse & Hound Mountain & Moorland Supreme In Hand Championship'

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

And in recent months rumors have circulated that Prince William and Kate Middleton could move to Windsor from London. This follows earlier speculation that they could have been eyeing up Adelaide Cottage in Windsor as a potential housing option. 

Meanwhile, the reports have recently claimed that the Queen was “riding her horse again” at Windsor. If correct, this suggests that she’s continuing to enjoy her “passion” and “spending time with the horses”. Currently at her official Scottish residence, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Her Majesty is expected by many to return to Berkshire as Holyrood Week 2022 draws to an end. 

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!