The British Royal Family has hundreds and hundreds of age-old traditions that date back centuries and when it comes to food, it's no different. When it comes to silverware, food served, etiquette, or even what the dogs eat, there is always a predetermined set of rules that must be followed.
The Queen receives a menu book for a week's worth of meals so she can either approve or disapprove a meal according to her liking. This approval will likely follow some time honored guidelines.
While the Queen is not necessarily a picky eater, garlic is one of the items that she is definitely picky about. The main reason behind it is that it simply causes bad breath. The Queen does not want any part of that. This sometimes goes for onions as well. Garlic bread and garlic mashed potatoes are not a commonly served item in Buckingham Palace.
There will be no linguini or fettuccine for dinner because the Queen likes to keep it healthy in the evenings. But some exceptions are made when it comes to special occasions or fancy dinner parties. She also won't allow rice or potatoes as well.
They consider shellfish to be too much of a risk for food poisoning. Some members of the family have found ways to get around this, but when they are eating internationally, this is strictly frowned upon. They also stay away from tap water for the same reason of not wanting to risk the threat of getting sick.
As surprising as it is, the Queen's breakfast is fairly simple. Just a cup of English Breakfast Tea with Cornflakes of all things. This is not unlike many other common folk which seems bizarre to people.
Most of the ingredients used for meals actually come from the Royal Estates. This includes fruit and vegetables, but they also eat meat from some of the animals that they keep on site as well. In addition to meat from lambs and cows, they would also eat some of the game hunted by the royal family members on family owned lands. This is an assortment of beef, venison, pheasant, and salmon.
For all the elaborate banquets and fancy dinners that the Royal Family hosts, Prince Charles is still very cognizant about keeping things from going to waste. He will put away food in Tupperware containers for the next meal, or alter leftovers that he has into a completely different dish. For example, if he has leftover lamb from the night before, that might be made into a shepherd's pie.
The Queen's dogs even have their own planned menu and are often fed gourmet. They frequently dine on chicken breasts or steak filets and have their food delivered to them, the deliverer is often known to pour gravy on their meals as well.
It is very important that the serving staff for the Royal Family pays attention to the many nonverbal cues that are given to them regarding their plates. When members of the family have to excuse themselves, they must cross their knife and fork to indicate that they are not finished. Conversely, when they are finished eating, they simply uncross their utensils and point the handles to the bottom right of the plate. That is the unspoken cue to the wait staff that it is now appropriate to remove their plates.
There is a special rule that guests can no longer eat when the Queen has finished eating. She has been known to be respectful to her guests by leaving a couple bites of food left on her plate so others can finish in a timely manner. However, the Queen also has a trick that if she places her purse on the table, everyone is done eating no matter how early it is.
It must be intimidating to sit next the the literal Queen of England so there are some protocols in play. When dinner begins, the Queen will begin a conversation with the person to the right of her only. So if you are sitting to the left of the Queen, do not feel like you are getting boxed out or ignored, the Queen will start a conversation with the person to her left as soon as the second course is served.
The Royal Family employs an entire staff dedicated to organizing the seating arrangements. There are teams of people who decides who sits by where just in case there are awkward situations between statesmen and nobles or things of the like.
Formal dress is a must for any royal occasion. It could be a thousand person banquet or just a small family dinner, they are still expected to be dressed properly. Women showing cleavage is also strictly off limits.
As expected, the Royal Family receives lots of gifts and offerings and a large percentage of these are food related. As tempting as these sound, they can only accept food in a royal capacity. If it's a gift from a royally arranged and sanctioned event, then it's good to go. But if it's just a random fan or person handing them anything, then that's a big no-no.
There are so many rules about eating that the Royal Family must follow in order to maintain their honorability. A big one is holding a cup of tea the proper way. This consists of pinching the top of the handle with their thumb and index finger and using the middle finger for base stability. They also must not leave lipstick stains in more than one location on their cup. If they drink from something with lipstick, they must continue to drink from the exact same spot.
They also have very specific parameters for eating with a fork. Forks are always held in the left hand with the points facing down and the balance their food on the back side of the fork before bringing it up to their mouths.
Basic manners are expected as well. Since it's hard to keep up with all the rules at the table the rest of the family follows a simple rule of thumb: just do whatever the Queen does. This seems like a rule everyone could live by.