To call Her Majesty a creature of habit would be an accurate description. According to The List, the Queen is regimented with her food choices, preferring to eat many of the same foods every day—including one food item that her former personal chef Darren McGrady says HM has eaten every single day of her life since she was five years old. (Yes, that’s 91 years of eating the same food. Dedication is an understatement.)
And, according to McGrady, while the Queen eats the same breakfast pretty much every day (Earl Grey tea and a bowl of Special K cereal) and opts for simple dishes like grilled chicken or grilled fish (alongside a gin cocktail or the occasional chocolate) for the rest of the day, it’s the “jam penny” sandwich that she’s had, faithfully, her whole life.
It involves just three ingredients, according to McGrady, who worked for Her Majesty for 15 years and who said she would ask for this sandwich every day at teatime, no matter who she was dining with. All you need is bread, jam, and butter—and if you really want to be like royalty, use strawberry jam, he says.
“We’d make the jam at Balmoral Castle with gorgeous Scottish strawberries from the gardens,” he says on his YouTube channel. (Her Majesty is currently summering at Balmoral as we speak.)
As to why the sandwich is called a “penny,” it’s because it has to do with “the size of the old English penny,” McGrady says.
She may be a monarch, but her tastes run simple—as McGrady himself says, “the Queen never was a foodie.”
Somehow this simplicity makes us love her even more.
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Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.
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