If there's one word that sums up the royal family, it's rules. They have rules for EVERYTHING. Rules for what you can and cannot wear. There are rules for how to conduct yourselves in public, and rules for what you can say. Rules for being pregnant! Rules coming out of their royal ears. We sort of get it - they have a reputation to uphold, one that's survived for generations. And anytime a royal doesn't follow the rules, well, it's a scandal. We can all remember the hullabaloo surrounding Diana, right? So the rules are in place, and they're more or less meant to be followed. And no one can escape the rules, not even the royal baby.
Did you know, for example, that there are royal rules dictating what the royal baby can and cannot eat? A baby! Food rules for a baby! That seems a bit absurd to us, but then again, we're not royals. The royal baby food rules aren't super weird or strict. Just more of a guideline for the types of foods that are allowed. Maybe not allowed - encouraged. They're encouragement rules! But still kind of bizarre. Baby Sussex is coming into a world ruled by rules. Looks like this baby has to learn early.
Until recently (like 20th century recently), the royal family was actually pretty anti-breastfeeding. They considered it to be improper and dangerous (LOL!), and used the services of wet nurses when royal babies were young. But when Queen Elizabeth ascended to the throne, things began to change. People wanted royals to be more accessible. It's rumored that the Queen nursed Prince Charles, and Princess Diana nursed both her sons. It's believed that Kate Middleton also used a combination of breast and bottle with all three of her kids. But are we wrong to assume Meghan is 100% Team Boob? Either, way, fed is best, even for a royal baby.
Back when royals used wet nurses, the women were prohibited from eating garlic during the time they breastfed the royal babies. It was believed that garlic would change the flavor of their milk! Also, Queen Elizabeth is opposed to garlic in general and doesn't allow it to be used in the royal kitchens. So the royal baby won't be getting any garlicky breast milk, LOL. Royal mamas are also supposed to stick to a bland diet for the entire time they're nursing, so spices are a no-no. They also can't have any alcohol while they're breastfeeding, which is pretty common even for non-royal moms. But no pump-and-dump for the royals!
You didn't really expect to see the royal baby chowing down on a pouch of baby food, now did you? It's pretty safe to say that most of the royal family does not eat packaged food. Although we hope they sneak the occasional bag of crisps, because otherwise life would be boring. The Queen has 20 personal chefs in her employ, so everything that comes out of the royal kitchen is made by hand. Chef Darren McGrady worked for the royal family for 15 years and fed both Prince Harry and Prince William. He said he's never seen any royal baby eat any sort of packaged or pre-made baby food.
Pureed fruit or veggies is what most parents start with when their babies begin eating solids. So look, we have something in common with the royals! We know the royal baby won't have pre-made or packaged purees, so what will they be eating? Well, homemade baby of course! Out of the Queen's 20 personal chefs, at least two will be on baby duty. They'll be charged with meticulously steaming and pureeing fruits and veggies for baby's first bites. That probably used to make them special, but a lot of parents make their own baby food now. We don't, but you know. Other parents do.
You think steaming and pureeing once is good enough for the royal baby?! Absolutely not. Any food served to that baby is going to be of the highest quality and made with the utmost care. Can you imagine being the chef who prepared a puree with chunks in it? Out of a job, we imagine. The fruits and veggies will be steamed, then pureed, mashed, and strained TWICE to make sure it's the right consistency for Baby Sussex. They want to make sure there are no hidden lumps in the puree, which can be dangerous for a young baby just starting on solids.
Apples from the grocery store aren't exactly royal-approved, even if they are those fancy organic apples that cost $2.69 a piece. Now, when we buy apples for our kids, we buy the biggest and cheapest bag. Because we know that our kids will want approximately 12 apples a day, and they will take exactly two bites out of each apple! But when it comes to the apples and pears used to make the purees for the royal baby, they will come from a very specific place. The fruit comes from the apple and pear groves on Queen Elizabeth's Sandringham country retreat. All the royal chefs know to use that specific fruit when cooking for royal kiddos.
Prince Charles is REALLY into organic gardening. He's advocated for growing and eating organic foods for years, long before it became mainstream. He actually started one of the first locally sourced organic food companies in the world, and has co-authored books on organic gardening. So you could say it's kind of his hobby. So everything that makes its way into the royal kitchen is organic and locally grown, when possible. In fact, the royal family prefers to use only produce and items from royal estates whenever possible. We're talking milk, veggies, chicken, and yep, those special Queen's apples and pears.
The royal baby will start off on vegetable and fruit purees, but they'll be chowing down on the good stuff in no time! As the baby gets older, meat and other veggies will be added to the purees, and then they'll move onto more solid foods. But again - only locally grown and sourced organic goods for the royal baby! There will be two royal menus: a regular one for the adults, and a special royal kids menu. Prince William's kids have a catered menu at home and at school. In fact, at Prince George's school, meals are designed by a dietitian and sound pretty fancy for kid fare. George is chowing down on stuff like baked smoked mackerel and lamb ragout!
In royal life, the nanny often has more say over the day-to-day schedules and care of the kids than the parents. We have a hard time believing that Meghan is going to be that hands-off as a mom. But if she does decide to let the nanny take the lead in some areas, Baby Sussex will be in good hands. Kate and Will's nannies manage the menus for their three kiddos. And when William and Harry were growing up, their nanny made sure the boys started off on healthy purees, and introduced them to more grown-up dishes as they got older.
Meghan Markle has been very vocal about her love of fresh, wholesome foods. So it wouldn't surprise us if the royal baby grows up on a diet of some of the freshest foods you can get your hands on. Living at Frogmore Cottage, Meghan and Harry will have plenty of room to have their very own garden. So she can grow all the fruits, veggies, and herbs that she wants, and have it all just a few steps away from the kitchen. Maybe Grandpa Charles will swing by and give her some tips on getting her garden up and running! Either way, it definitely sounds like the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be embracing the fresh, organic lifestyle with Baby Sussex.
Listen, we get it. We only get a home-cooked meal on the table about 50% of the time, and we aren't even close to being royalty. It's hard, especially when you've got a young baby or toddler! So Meghan and Harry will likely make good use of having a team of chefs on standby. But that doesn't mean that Meghan won't or can't get in the kitchen and whip up some delicious meals. Kate reportedly cooks for the kids when she gets a chance, making favorites like curry and homemade pizza. And we know that Meghan loves food and loves to cook, so once she gets into a good routine, we imagine she'll spend plenty of time cooking for the royal baby.
When you have a team of personal chefs, you can kind of have whatever you want to eat, whenever you want it. Except maybe McDonald's, we have a feeling the royal family doesn't visit the Golden Arches much. The royal baby will be exposed to all kinds of worldly cuisine, which is good! This kid is going to be quite the world traveler, and we have a feeling turning your nose up at food you're offered on an official royal visit is against the royal rules. But they're British, so you know there's going to be some amazing British food to chow down on. Shepherds pie, Yorkshire pudding, and roast beef will undoubtedly be on the menu every once in a while.
We know these are royal kids. But they're still kids! And kids need to be able to eat like kids every once in a while. Like we said, we figure fast food and a bag of Hot Cheetos is probably out of the question. But the royal baby will definitely be able to indulge on occasion when they're old enough. Some of Prince George's favorite foods include pizza, popcorn, and ice cream. Now that sounds like a kids menu we are familiar with! It's all about balance and moderation, and even though these kids have the best in the world at their fingertips, sometimes you just want to lick melting ice cream off your arms, you know?
If Meghan needs some inspiration when coming up with a menu for the royal baby, maybe she can draw on what her husband ate when he was growing up! Banana flan, peanut butter and jelly muffins, and chocolate biscuit cake were just a few of Harry and William's favorites. Of course, the nanny also made sure they ate plenty of fresh vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts. According to former royal chef Darren McGrady, "They loved comfort foods. Cottage pie, shepherds pie, chicken in a cream sauce with rice, spaghetti Bolognese, mac and cheese and pizza. And lots of chocolate desserts and ice cream, too!"
McGrady says that when the boys were young, they would routinely run into the kitchen and request specific dishes for their meals. That sounds like every kid we've ever known (we wonder if they actually ate the food they specifically requested!). He says, "Harry would always ask for roasted chicken. That’s why I wasn’t surprised when he cooked this with Meghan the night he proposed to her!" That is a such a sweet story! Sounds like roasted chicken could totally become their meal, and how cute will it be when they explain to Baby Sussex why they love it so much. Plus it's very delicious, so everyone should eat it, tbh.
When most people think of fancy food, they think of lobster, right? Which is odd, because tearing into an ocean bug and ripping it apart piece by piece is literally the most un-fancy way to eat anything. But it's expensive, so we guess it counts. However, you won't find any of the fancy-pants royals mangling a lobster anytime soon. The royal rules prohibit them from eating shellfish, at least while traveling. This is to prevent the potential of contracting food poisoning and other diseases from bacteria commonly found in the creatures.
Who doesn't like PASTA?! It's so good. So many options, so many sauces, and all that cheese. Plus it's easy. You're not a parent if you haven't grabbed a bag of pasta and a jar of sauce and called it a homemade meal. But apparently, the royal family disagrees. For some reason, pasta is prohibited from being included on the regular dinner menu at Buckingham Palace. That being said, they do serve pasta, but reserve it for special occasions and dinner parties. So maybe they really love it?
No pasta for weeknight dinner, AND no rice or potatoes?! What the hell kind of operation is the Queen running over there! Apparently, she doesn't follow the old food pyramid we grew up on. While dining at the palace, don't expect to see starchy foods on the regular menus. Rice and potatoes aren't banned outright, though. Like pasta, they're reserved for special occasions and dinner parties. The Queen prefers fresh vegetables for her sides, and we suppose if you have a massive organic garden at your fingertips, that makes a lot of sense.
Now, here's the thing: if we had a fleet of private chefs and the best ingredients available at our fingertips, we would ABSOLUTELY take advantage of that. It's like when you stay in a hotel and know you don't have to cook or clean up, you go a little crazy with the room service. But the Queen has been queen for a hot minute, and she has a pretty rigid schedule and list of likes and dislikes (remember that garlic thing?). When it comes to breakfast, the Queen doesn't go for opulence or extravagance. Quite the opposite actually! Every morning, she enjoys a cup of breakfast tea and a bowl of Cornflakes. We stan a simple gal.
Whatever you do, don't go manhandling your cup of tea when you're having tea with a member of the royal family (it could happen!). There is a proper, royal way to hold a cuppa tea, and then there are all the wring ways. The royal baby is a ways away from having to know this, but we imagine it's included in their lessons starting from a very young age. To hold your tea like a royal, you pinch the handle with your thumb and index finger and use your middle finger to hold the bottom of the cup. Don't worry about holding your pinkie finger out - that's a little too pretentious, even for the royal family.
For a family that probably drinks an insane amount of tea, it seems weird that you can't actually invite someone over for ... tea. But thems the rules! This rule only applies to tea in the evening time, however, so it should be easy for the royal baby to remember when they get older. If one wishes to invite the Queen over for tea in the evening, it is unacceptable to invite her over JUST for tea. You want to invite her over for supper or dinner, before or after which you;ll enjoy the aforementioned tea. These rules are weird.
At our house, it's every man, woman, and child for themselves at meal times. You need a fork? Getchu a fork! You want to use a spoon for your entire meal? Be our guest. But the royal family does things a bit differently, and of course, a bit more formal. The royal family is allowed to leave the dining room during a meal (say, to use the loo). But if they step away, they need to mind how they place their utensils. Crossing them across the plate tells staff that they're not done with their meal. Angling the fork and knife across the plate with the handles on the right side means the staff can clear their plate.
While most parents worry about their kid stabbing themselves in the eye with their fork, the royal baby has a few other things to learn when it comes to using a knife and fork. Repeat after us: a fork is not a weapon! So the royal family does NOT stab their food. Fork goes in the right hand, knife in the left hand. Tines are always facing down, so it can't be used to shovel food. Then, they use their knife to gently push food onto the back of the fork, and they bring it to their mouth. That sounds complicated and hard, like a delicate balancing act. We would 100% fail.
In case you haven't figured it out by now, the royal rules are all about the Queen. Which, yeah. She's the freaking Queen of England. Her palace, her rules! Although we're sure she relaxes them a bit when it comes to the royal baby and her other grandchildren. But for the most part, the royal family has to acclimate to her schedule. Take meal times, for example. These aren't long, relaxed affairs. When the Queen is done with her meal, EVERYONE is done with their meal. So if she's not terribly hungry and wolfs her food down in record time, you better hope the other people at the table pick up on her cues early enough to finish their own meals.
That adorable little handbag the Queen carries around serves as more than just a vehicle to hide her Werther's Original (come on, you know she's got some hard candies in there). The Queen is never without her handbag, and she uses it to send signals to people around her, like some kind of royal code. At dinnertime, when the Queen is nearing the end of her meal, she'll place her handbag on the table. This signals to the rest of the table that they have about five minutes to gently and regally shovel the rest of their food in their mouths, because HRH is about to get up and end the meal.
You know the feeling of curling up on the couch in your pj's with a big bowl of pasta for dinner and Netflix on the TV? Or calling your family to the table after a leisurely, lazy day at home, and everyone coming in their house clothes? Those are good feelings. Those are feelings the royal family does not know. Because there is no such thing as a casual dinner when you're dining with the Queen. Even if it's just a family dinner, the royal rules require everyone to come in formal attire. Seems like a waste if the kids are joining, since you know most of their food ends up on their shirt, but whatever. We don't make the royal rules!
Obviously we're talking about nice cloth napkins here. You didn't really expect the royal family to use off-brand Bounty, did you? Dinner is a formal affair, and at formal affairs, you get the good napkins. But these are members of the royal family, so they don't just go wiping their face willy-nilly. First, napkins are folded in half. When they need to wipe their mouth or fingers, they open the napkin and use only the inside of the fol. That way, when they are done and place the napkin back on their lap, they don't run the risk of dirtying their clothes. It also hides the mess they've just wiped from their face.
This one seems pretty obvious, given how particular she is about just about everything. But again, she's the Queen, and it's her house-palace, and she makes the rules! The kitchen staff will put together a menu book of proposed meals for the week, and give it to the Queen for her perusal. She'll yay or nay meals the chef has planned, and only the approved meals will be prepared. So if the royal baby wants something special for lunch one day while visiting with Gran, they better put their request in ahead of time.
Listen, it's no secret that the Queen loves her dogs. Like, loooooooooves her dogs. We'd venture a guess that she loves her dogs more than she likes or tolerates most people. So it should come as no surprise that the Queen's corgis are probably some of the best-fed doggos in the entire world. Her pups have their own menu, and feast on things like chicken breast and filet mignon. The food is delivered to her chamber by a footman, and the Queen will sometimes pour gravy over the meals before her dogs dig in. Given how much Meghan loves animals, we bet the royal baby will be thick as thieves with the Queen's corgis.
It's pretty clear that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are doing things the way that they want to do them. And kudos to them for that! So when it comes to feeding the royal baby, they're going to what works best for their little family. Sure, they might skip the packaged and pre-made foods. And they may even use those special apples and pears from the Queen's country estate. Meghan may decide to embrace breastfeeding and make it hot in the royal family again. Instead of relying on a team of chefs, maybe Meghan will want to lovingly make her own baby food. Rather than have a nanny create menus for the baby, maybe mom and dad will want a bit more input. The great thing about parenting is that there's no right or wrong way to do it, royal or not.