With the royals counting down the days until they're back at the Sandringham Estate to celebrate Christmas, finishing touches will surely be being put on every detail of how the days will go.
Members of the Royal Family are renowned for their unique festive traditions. From choosing to open presents on Christmas Eve in line with the family's German roots to buying one another joke gifts, there's a whole host of quirks. But when it comes to what is served for the Christmas meal, the family couldn’t be more traditional.
So much so that a former palace chef claimed the family's meal choices are "boring" as he peeled back the curtain and revealed just what the festive schedule looks like.
You may have assumed that the King and his family would be chowing down on a banquet of everything from caviar to oysters on the big day – but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Darren McGrady, a former royal chef who originally worked at the Savoy Hotel in London, cooked for the Royal Family for 15 years and served food to everyone from the late Queen to Diana, Princess of Wales.
While McGrady has several hilarious anecdotes from his time working in the palace kitchens, he fondly remembers Christmas Day – largely because of how normal it was.
"It was the same meal every year," McGrady said. "They're actually boring when it comes to festivities. They didn't do hams or anything, just traditional turkeys.
“We did three turkeys for the Queen and her family in the royal dining room, one for the children's nursery and then more for the 100 or so staff, so everyone had a Christmas lunch."
McGrady went on to add: “The turkey is served with mashed and roast potatoes, chestnut or sage and onion stuffing, cranberry sauce and bread sauce. Vegetables include brussels sprouts, carrots and roast parsnips.”
As for pudding, a traditional homemade Christmas pudding is served after the main meal and is “decorated in holly, doused in brandy, and the palace steward would carry it, flaming, into the royal dining room,” says McGrady.
A festive tipple is a must on the big day, so what was the late Queen’s drink of choice? According to McGrady the Queen always chose to enjoy a classic gin and dubonnet cocktail before she sat down to begin her meal.
The former chef adds that the monarch would also enjoy a glass of the sweet and aromatic German white wine gewürztraminer with her food.
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