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It would arrive on Christmas Eve containing wheels of Stilton, a whole foie gras en croute and other exotic treats.One year, Prince Charles had a rival hamper sent, full of organic produce from his Highgrove estate. The first time the Royals congregate on Christmas Eve is for afternoon tea at 4pm, often in the ornate Sandringham saloon under its exquisitely painted ceiling.This is one of the few times that the children will be permitted to join the adults. On Christmas Day, the ladies generally opt for a light breakfast of sliced fruit, half a grapefruit, toast and coffee delivered to their rooms – the Queen’s tray is delivered at exactly 9am.The male Royals, meanwhile, come downstairs to the dining room for a hearty breakfast at 8.30am with eggs, bacon and mushrooms, kippers and grilled kidneys, to set them up for the 11am church service at St Mary Magdalene.When they return, it’s straight into pre-lunch drinks.This is where Meghan may find she can request a glass of her favourite wine, Tignanello, a full-bodied Tuscan red.No doubt it will be an eye-opening experience for Meghan, and perhaps for the Windsors, too...
The table features elaborately folded starched white napkins, a silver candelabra with lit candles, wine decanters and red and gold crackers at each setting For 15 years I was personal chef to Her Majesty and, later, Princess Diana until her death in 1997, catering to the Royals over many Christmases and New Years.
This, as you might have guessed, is no ordinary family, for the matriarch with a crown upon her head – made of paper, rather than gold and jewels – is the Queen.
Unsurprisingly she is immensely respectful of Christmas tradition – as I know from experience.
Even the corgis – there were 12 when I was chef – have individual menus, usually involving a rotation of fresh rabbit, beef or chicken with rice and cabbage.
We’d jokingly refer to the footmen responsible for the dogs, both named Paul, as ‘Doggy One and Doggy Two’. If Prince Andrew was coming, she would make sure we served his favourite Mango Melba – mango ice cream with sliced mango and raspberry sauce – while William’s favourite chocolate biscuit cake would feature for afternoon tea.