Rumors abound about King Charles III’s habits when he was Prince of Wales, from word that he travels with his own toilet seat to stories about how he likes the perfect egg. One thing is for sure, the now King of England is very particular about certain things, especially his food.
Former chef to Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away on September 8, and the royal family, Darren McGrady has said that King Charles is definitely a foodie who needed to know where the food was coming from. “He was into organic farming 30 years ago… before it was even invented,” said McGrady.
King Charles, like his mother, is very particular about his eating habits. While we touched on Queen Elizabeth’s daily routine in a previous article, Prince Phillip was also very regimented when it came to taking care of himself—he lived to 99 after all. It’s safe to say that King Charles has some pretty good genes and learned how to take care of himself and what he eats. He does, however, have some interesting quirks and habits that his parents did not when it comes to food and a few more modern habits.
Before talking about what King Charles might eat on a daily basis, it’s important to note his overall view on food is that it should be in season and organic. As McGrady notes and former royal chef Carolyn Webb said in Marie Claire, “everything was based on what was in season in the garden. In asparagus season, I might serve it three or four times a week. You wouldn’t dare serve asparagus or strawberries in December.”
The family grew produce and raised their own animals on their many properties. The Queen and Charles kept bees (who had to be specially informed about her death). The Queen famously began growing produce at Buckingham Palace, and she loved her wild Scottish strawberries at Balmoral, which she was known to pick herself. Charles liked to forage for wild mushrooms there as well, as many fungi were found on the 50,000-acre Balmoral Estate. According to McGrady, they would be gathered, sauteed with some herbs, and then frozen to use throughout the year.
Additionally, Charles is reported to eschew meat for two days a week and dairy for one day a week. “If more did that, you would reduce a lot of the pressure,” he reportedly said about his efforts to reduce his carbon footprint.
How serious is Charles about sustainability? Apparently, he has an old Aston Martin that “runs” on wine and cheese. In actuality, the Aston Martin was converted to run on E85 bioethanol made from by-products of the wine and cheese industries in 2008, according to his own website.
While, of course, a lot might change now that Charles is King, when he was Prince his day started with a very healthy breakfast. Anecdotes of what it included change but it was usually fresh fruit, muesli or some kind or other whole grain mixed with seeds steeped in fruit juice, and tea. McGrady notes in a video that he loved plums from the garden that have been lightly poached in juice with some muesli.
Muesli was invented in Switzerland by a doctor and was kind of like our modern-day overnight oats with oats, fruit, and seeds or nuts soaked in dairy or fruit juice. The difference between muesli and granola is that, like overnight oats, it is served without needing to cook it.
As a prince, Charles was rumored to carry a breakfast box with him. Former Royal Chef Graham Newbould, once a chef on the Royal Yacht Britannia, said that the box would generally contain about six types of honey, muesli, and “anything that’s a bit special that he is a bit fussy about.” As Charles and his mother were beekeepers, we’re guessing it was his own special honey as well!
Eggs were usually not included in breakfast, except on weekends, and he ate them only later in the day.
Every source, even Charles’ own former website before he became King, can vouch for one truth about the now King: He does not eat lunch. Numerous outlets have reported that King Charles skips lunch altogether unless it is part of the duty of the day. When Charles turned 70, his website put out a list of 70 facts about the then Prince, and #20 was simply, “The Prince does not eat lunch.” Perhaps he subsists all day on his favorite tea, which is Darjeeling with honey and milk.
Chef Grady supports this, noting that, at least during his tenure, it happened rarely. “There may be a lunch, there may not be a lunch,” said Grady. “Maybe a sandwich.” Sometimes if he was out painting in the countryside he’d bring a sandwich. One thing the seasoned staff knew, reports Mashable, is that they needed to eat a big breakfast because if Charles had a busy day, there would be no stopping.
What about those boiled eggs? Those were reported to come later in the day, around 5:30 pm when Charles sat down for tea. Perhaps he would even have them with crumpets, which he is reportedly fond of.
One thing that keeps coming up over and over again is how seriously King Charles views his boiled eggs. The rumors that he had the kitchen prepare seven eggs that he would choose from for the perfect 3- or 4-minute egg, according to differing reports, were untrue, according to his former press secretary, Julian Payne. But, according to Charles’s formal personal chef, they needed to boil for exactly four minutes, though others report three. Suffice it to say he was serious about his eggs, and they may have come from his own chickens perhaps from Highgrove.
What King Charles doesn’t eat during the day he makes up for with dinner. Those wild mushrooms foraged from Balmoral figure prominently in his favorite dinner, which McGrady says is seared lamb served with wild mushroom risotto. Watch McGrady prepare the actual dish! He was also known to make up his own dishes with the wild game he hunted. His version of moussaka with grouse even had its own special name: groussaka.
If dessert is ever on the menu, Charles is unlikely to partake in anything chocolate; unlike his late mother who loved it, he reportedly doesn’t care for it at all.