If You Eat Dinner With the Queen, You Must Follow These Two Rules

Even her own family has to follow them!

If I could have dinner with any human being, I would certainly pick Queen Elizabeth II.  She’s the longest-reigning monarch on the planet, and I can only imagine the type of stories that she would bring to the table. (Including, perhaps, her take on these scandalous royal memoirs.) But if I were to feast with the Queen, there are two important rules that I—along with everyone else present at table—would need to follow.

Rule #1: Don’t sit before the Queen does

If anyone is dining with the Queen (even during a huge reception), you must follow the lead of the Queen when it comes to approaching the table. No one is allowed to sit until the Queen is settled into her seat.

Rule #2: You can only eat while the Queen is eating

The second rule follows suit. Since everyone has to follow the queue of the Queen, that also applies to starting or finishing a meal. When the Queen starts eating, the rest of the dinner party is allowed to eat. But you better eat quick, because as soon as the Queen finishes, everyone else must finish as well.

The reality of royal dining

Of course, if you forget to follow the rules, she won’t get too offended. (In fact, here are 13 rules the Queen herself has broken during her reign.) Former royal butler Paul Burrell shared an amusing anecdote with The Guardian in which the Queen encountered such a slip-up:

“I was once on the Royal Yacht Britannia in the South Pacific and the Queen was hosting a dinner for a local prince,” wrote Burrell. “Dessert was served. The prince forgot to watch what the Queen did—instead, he popped the grapes into his finger bowl, then some cherries, then when the cream and sugar came out, he poured them in too, making a kind of fruit soup. I was standing behind the Queen looking horrified. He was about to raise the bowl to his lips to drink it when he looked at the Queen and realized he had made a terrible mistake. Not wanting to make him feel awkward, she picked up her finger bowl and took a sip. Now that’s class.” (Check out more real stories from former staff on what it’s like working for the royal family.)

Now that you know the etiquette for eating dinner with the Queen, find out six royal family “rules” that are complete myths.

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