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6 surprising food facts about King Charles III, according to a former royal chef

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, at Sandringham on July 27, 2022.
King Charles turned 74 on November 14.
  • Former royal chef Darren McGrady shared anecdotes about Charles' eating habits in his 2007 cookbook.
  • In "Eating Royally," McGrady wrote that Charles favored organic options and even had his
  • McGrady worked for Queen Elizabeth II for 11 years before joining Princess Diana's staff.
On Monday, King Charles celebrated his first birthday as the British monarch.
king charles
King Charles turned 74 on Monday, November 14, 2022.

Charles turned 74 years old on Monday, marking the first time he's celebrated his birthday on the British throne. The official Buckingham Palace Instagram account marked the occasion by sharing a new photo of Charles and a video of the Household Cavalry playing "Happy Birthday" for him. 

While his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, adored chocolate cakes, Charles prefers healthier, organic options, according to former royal chef Darren McGrady. McGrady shared anecdotes about Charles' eating habits in his 2007 cookbook, "Eating Royally: Recipes and Remembrances from a Palace Kitchen."

McGrady worked as a chef for the Queen at Buckingham Palace for 11 years, before working for Princess Diana at Kensington Palace for four years. He joined the Queen's staff in 1982, then transferred to Diana's staff in 1993. McGrady remained at Kensington Palace until Diana died in August 1997.

Former royal chef Darren McGrady has said that when he worked for the late Queen Elizabeth II, Charles favored organic options and even brought his personal chefs to collect wild mushrooms at Balmoral Castle.
King Charles at Balmoral Castle in November 1978.
Charles at Balmoral Castle on his birthday in November 1978.

According to McGrady's book, Charles greatly enjoyed the wild mushrooms that grow at Scotland's Balmoral Castle.

"I quickly understood what Prince Charles had known for a long time: Balmoral is an absolute treasure trove of wild mushrooms," McGrady wrote, adding that a rivalry sparked between the Queen's chefs and Charles' chefs because of them. (At the time McGrady's book was published, Charles was still a prince.)

"Unfortunately, for Prince Charles, the Queen's head chef, Peter Page, also knew that cèpes grew abundantly on the property, and he was adamant that the prince's chefs were not going to take them," McGrady continued. "He organized a mushroom raid across the estate before Prince Charles' entourage arrived at Balmoral."

McGrady added: "The prince's chefs were more than a little irritated. 'Oh well, chalk one up for the Queen's men,' I thought."

According to McGrady's 2007 cookbook, "Eating Royally," Charles caught salmon at Balmoral Castle — often with the Queen Mother — and had the royal chefs cook his haul for meals.
Charles Fishing Near Balmoral, Scotland, in April 1995.
Charles, pictured fishing near Balmoral, Scotland, in April 1995.

McGrady noted in his cookbook that Charles loved fishing so much that he taught Prince William and Prince Harry how to fish when they were children.

"Prince Charles is an avid fisherman and would spend hours in the Dee, often alongside the Queen Mother with water to the tops of their waders," McGrady wrote, referring to the River Dee. "He would heft enormous salmon into the royal kitchen to be weighed, tagged, and catalogued."

McGrady added that kitchen staff members weren't allowed to touch the salmon until instructions were given.

"The salmon was so fresh its eyes seemed to follow you around the room," he wrote. "None of the chefs were allowed to touch it until instructions were sent from upstairs. Usually it would be grilled, poached, or broiled with a garnish and served on silver in the dining room."

Charles once invited famed Italian chef Antonio Carluccio to scavenge for wild mushrooms at Balmoral Castle, McGrady wrote in his cookbook.
King Charles looking at a mushroom stall at a market in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in November 1998.
Charles, pictured at a mushroom stall at a market in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in November 1998.

McGrady recalled that Charles' love for Balmoral Castle's wild mushrooms was so potent that he enlisted help from the famous chef Antonio Carluccio

"Prince Charles is a very health-conscious eater and enjoys whole grains, organic vegetables, and simply prepared fish and meats," McGrady wrote in his cookbook. "In fact, he once brought Antonio Carluccio, a well-known Italian cook in London, to Balmoral to search for and bottle wild mushrooms."

Charles loves Italian food so much that he, Princess Diana, and their kids often ate Italian food for dinner, according to McGrady.
King Charles in April 2017 tasting pasta in Italy.
Charles, pictured tasting pasta in Italy in April 2017.

McGrady shared additional anecdotes about Charles during a March 2020 interview with Delish. McGrady referred to Charles as a "foodie" who loves Italian food.

"One of the things I noticed about the Prince of Wales is his love of Italian food," McGrady told the outlet. "Whether it was wild mushroom risotto or polenta dishes – sort of healthy eating. That's what Italian food is: simple, elegant food."

Charles' love for Italian food often translated to family meals, McGrady said. 

"When Prince Charles, Princess Diana, William, and Harry were all eating together, often, Italian food was on the menu," he told Delish. "Princess Diana loved it too because it was simple, clean," and included "lots of nice salads." 

McGrady added that Wiliam and Harry were big fans of Italian pizza. 

McGrady has said that Charles usually starts the day with fruits and juice for breakfast.
King Charles speaks with a fruit and veg stallholder in February 2020.
Charles speaks with a fruit and veg stallholder in February 2020.

McGrady told Delish that "when it comes to eating, no two days are the same for the Prince of Wales."

"He normally starts the day with some fruit for breakfast, often some plums from the garden that have been lightly poached. A little juice and some muesli to go with it," McGrady said.

McGrady said at the time that Charles also eats hard-boiled eggs and toast during his afternoon tea.

One of Charles' favorite recipes is cheesy baked eggs; he shared the recipe online.
King Charles visits a cheese stall during The Food Lovers' Fair in November 2001.
Charles visits a cheese stall during The Food Lovers' Fair in November 2001.

Although McGrady didn't share this tidbit, it deserves a place on the list.

The official Clarence House Instagram account shared the recipe for Charles' beloved cheesy baked eggs in May 2020 to mark the British Cheese Weekender.

"His Royal Highness has been Patron of the Speciality Cheesemakers Association since 1993," the caption read. The cheesy baked egg recipe includes spinach, cherry or sundried tomatoes, basil leaves, soft cheese, and an egg.

Read the original article on Insider

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