BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Tuesday, 10 October, 2000, 13:40 GMT 14:40 UK
Right royal requirements
What one cannot tolerate...
Buckingham Palace has reportedly banned garlic and spaghetti for the Queen's forthcoming trip to Italy. This is not the first time a royal visit has provided a rare insight into life behind Palace doors.

Traditional staples of Italian cuisine will be off the menu when Queen Elizabeth II visits Rome and Milan next week.

In favour
Yellow flowers
Cotton sheets
Earl Grey tea
Dundee cake
Orange marmalade
Malvern mineral water
Chefs at the palace of the Italian president, where the Queen and Prince Philip will be staying, have reportedly been told to steer clear of garlic, long pastas and "messy" tomato sauces.

As with previous royal visits, Buckingham Palace has warned the hosts of the royal likes and dislikes.

The requirements - which typically ban mauve flowers, duvets and foreign mineral waters - provide a rare insight into Her Majesty's tastes.

No tummy bugs

This is a woman who lives in a world where nothing is left to chance.

Off the menu: It is difficult to eat long pastas silently
The royal entourage likes progress to run smoothly, free from the disruptions of gastronomic indisposition. Hence the ban on shellfish, rare meat, foreign water and any food that is too spicy or exotic.

Yet the Queen is not averse to trying out new taste sensations. On a visit to China in 1986, she ate slimy sea cucumber - although suitably bland for the royal palate, it is a delicacy that requires a dab hand with chopsticks.

Anxious to avoid coughs, sniffles and headaches, Her Majesty also carries a box of homeopathic remedies based on bee stings, snake venom and deadly nightshade.

Creature comforts

Prior to a royal visit to South Africa last November, local media carried a list of banned items which had reportedly been supplied by Buckingham Palace.

Queen in South Africa
No carnations please, we're British
The six-page document of instructions shows Her Majesty and Prince Philip to be sticklers for detail.

Not only does the royal couple object to sleeping under duvets, they have little tolerance for television sets in the bedroom.

A hot-water bottle is packed into the three tons of luggage carried on such visits - not to warm the royal bed, but to air it.

Mauve flowers and carnations of any hue are banned.

Yet the oft-repeated report of a white kid-leather toilet seat is apparently a myth.

"She never takes her own loo seat," a royal official has said. "Only Prince Charles does that."


Although no fan of watching TV in bed, the Queen is more than happy to have a set in the sitting room, especially if supplied with a list of English channels.

Queen mum and dad
The Queen packs a photo of her father
British newspapers should be sent from London each day and a selection of local papers should be available for the Queen to peruse while she breakfasts on wholemeal toast, oatcakes and English orange marmalade.

The Duke of Edinburgh, spurning the healthy diet of organic food favoured by his eldest son, is more than happy to tuck into a full English breakfast.

Time for tea

Fond of familiar pleasures, the Queen stops every day at 5pm for a traditional English cuppa. Among the essential items packed for each trip are a kettle, a selection of teas and a stash of Dundee cake.

Taking tea in Glasgow
The Queen takes time for tea every day
"She likes to plug in the kettle herself," a former royal aide told the Daily Mail.

The Queen rarely eats in public, but appears mindful of her fellow diners at state banquets.

As protocol insists that everyone stops eating when the Queen takes her last mouthful, she has been known to reserve a little morsel on her plate to push around in order to let others finish their meals.

Daddy's girl

The one item the Queen packs herself is a framed photograph of her late father, George VI.

Yet her favourite is not a snapshot of a beloved parent, but a formal portrait of the king decked out with medals.

Perhaps when abroad in a strange land, nothing is as comforting as a reminder of how life used to be.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

10 Nov 99 | UK
Fit for a Queen
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories