The Queen Has a Page Whose Job Is to Press a Secret Button as Soon as She's Done Eating

When the Queen finishes a course at dinner, a page presses a secret button to alert the kitchen that it's time for the next course.

  • If you ever happen to have the chance to attend a royal state dinner, watch the Queen and try to match her pace when you're eating because when the monarch is finished eating, everyone is finished eating—whether they particularly like it or not. 
  • In his new book Long Live the Queen! 13 Rules for Living from Britain's Longest Reigning Monarch, royal author Bryan Kozlowski explains how the royal staff makes sure that courses are cleared as soon as the Queen is finished. 
  • According to Kozlowski, a page stands behind the Queen during the meal and, as soon as she puts down her cutlery, that page presses a secret button to alert the kitchen that it's time to send out the next course.

Being the Queen comes with lots of rules, but also with certain perks. For instance, when you're the Queen, you never have to sit through a boring, drawn out group dinner that won't end because dinner is over as soon as you finish eating.

It's a well-known fact among royal fans that, when dining with the Queen, it's understood that the meal is over when the monarch is done eating. This also goes course-by-course; royal staff swoop in to clear plates—whether guests are finished with them or not—as soon as the Queen is ready for the next course.

According to royal author Bryan Kozlowski in his new book Long Live the Queen! 13 Rules for Living from Britain's Longest Reigning Monarch, this very old-fashioned, deeply traditional waitstaff dance is achieved through a bit of modern technology at State Dinners. 

"Once the Queen puts down her cutlery, an ever-watchful page behind her presses a button on a handheld zapper, which sends a literal green-light signal to the kitchen, ushering in the next course," Kozlowski writes in the book, citing former royal chef Darren McGrady as the source of his intel.

The moral of the story: If you ever snag an invite to a royal state dinner, make like that page and watch the Queen while she eats and make sure you match her pace—or prepare to potentially go hungry.

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Kayleigh Roberts
Kayleigh Roberts

Kayleigh Roberts is the weekend editor at Marie Claire, covering celebrity and entertainment news, from actual royals like Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle to Hollywood royalty, like Katie Holmes and Chrissy Teigen. She’s a Ravenclaw who would do great things in Slytherin. To learn more about her, google “Leslie Knope eating salad GIF.