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

Reader's Digest logo Reader's Digest 5/24/2018 Kiersten Hickman
a man wearing a red hat © Shaun Jeffers/Shutterstock

Queen Elizabeth II has ruled in England for 66 years, and we can only imagine the type of stories that she would bring to the dinner table. (Perhaps we would dine on these classic British foods!) If you were to feast with the Queen, these are the two most important rules you would need to abide by.

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

If anyone is dining with the Queen (even during a huge reception, like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding), 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 she is eating

The second rule follows suit with the first. 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. Don’t miss these 14 other etiquette rules that every royal must follow.

The reality of royal dining

Of course, if you forget to follow the rules, she won’t get too offended. According to a story submitted to The Guardian by a former royal butler, one prince did just that. 'I was once on the Royal Yacht Britannia in the South Pacific and the Queen was hosting a dinner for a local prince,' wrote Paul Burrell, the former royal butler. '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.'

Related slideshow: The royal couple: Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II in pictures [via Photo services]

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