Each morning at Buckingham Palace in London a maid will wake Queen Elizabeth with a tray of Earl Grey tea and a few biscuits. After dressing the Queen joins Prince Phillip in a dining room overlooking the garden. They breakfast on whole-wheat toast and marmalade with more tea and coffee, where Prince Phillip often feeds the birds with tidbits.
A light breakfast is often in contrast with meals served later in the day in the life of a Queen. 50,000 people attend banquets, lunches, dinners, receptions and garden parties each year at Buckingham Palace. Over 250 staff are employed to ensure these gatherings run trouble free. The Royal Chef has another 20 chefs to call upon and they can cater for up to 600 people for a sit down meal.
A State Banquet takes 6 months of planning with the Queen taking an active role in devising the menu and overseeing the seating plan. The 170 diners are seated at a horseshoe shaped table which takes over two days to lay with Dutch bonnet styled napkins, over 1,000 glasses and 2,000 pieces of cutlery. Each place setting is measured to precisely 18” across and every glass and piece of cutlery has to adhere to strict measurements accordingly. It takes 100 servers for the food to even reach the table. The Footmen wearing red and gold deliver the food to the blue livery clad Pages who then serve the food to the guests.
Garden parties at Buckingham Palace are another logistical nightmare for the staff. The Queen held three in July of this year, each catering for around 8,000 people from all walks of life. Guests are nominated by many different organizations for invitation including the armed services, charities and government departments.
The Royal staff themselves are also well catered for with their own two dining rooms and an all day café, serving snacks, open from 8am-5pm. A three course staff lunch is served every day between 11.30 and 1.30 and what’s more it’s free.