Former royal chef Darren McGrady revealed that the Queen is much happier after her permanent move to Windsor Castle, as she ‘never really liked’ Buckingham Palace.
Darren worked as a personal chef to Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Diana and Prince William and Harry for fifteen years, and believes the Monarch is happier at Windsor. In an exclusive interview with Coffee Friend, the chef revealed Her Majesty has always considered Windsor as more of a home compared to Buckingham Palace.
He revealed: “It’s no surprise the Queen has moved to Windsor, she’s never really liked the palace, it’s always been the office to the Queen.”
He continued: “The Queen would always be whizzing off back to Windsor Castle, she can’t wait to get back there. She loves it there, so it’s no surprise she’s moved there permanently.”
The 60-year-old chef trained at the prestigious Savoy Hotel, London before his time working for royalty, and has also cooked for Foreign Heads of State including Presidents’ Bush, Clinton, Reagan and Ford.
His duties included traveling with the royal family to Windsor Castle, Sandringham House and Balmoral Castle as well as on the Royal Yacht Britannia on royal tours around the world.
Speaking of Windsor, Darren continued: “There’s two kitchens there, the main kitchen and the small kitchen and the small kitchen is just small enough to take care of the Queen and one of two guests. There’d always be a senior chef, a junior chef and about 30 staff that would go to Windsor for the weekend. We worked in the small kitchen, it’s much different, much more relaxed.
“The Queen can go out, walk the dogs, go out and see the horses in the back garden. For the Queen, it’s always been dogs and horses first. That’s her passion of her, that’s her hobbies of her. And why shouldn’t she at 96 enjoy that. Let Charles and William take on some of the other engagements, she should just be spending time with the horses and the dogs every day now. Her family of her are all close by too in Windsor. ”
“We did five garden parties a year for around 6000 people – I think it’s really important for the Queen to host the garden parties, the people invited are more often than not charities and she wants to meet them and thank them.
“I always thought it was funny, every garden party was like a challenge for the Queen. The gates would open, people would go out into the garden and start eating and eating and drinking, and then when the Queen came out onto the steps, they played the national anthem and they’d all form a maze of lines all the way through the garden right across to the Royal tea tent in the corner and the Queen had to get from those steps at Buckingham Palace and weave her way around to the Royal tea tent where she could finally have a nice cup of tea.”
After working alongside the family for so long, Darren touched on how Diana would feel about seeing her sons Prince William and Prince Harry grown up.
He added: “William has always known that he’s going to be King one day over Harry, William was the heir, Harry was the spare. Princess Diana would have been thrilled to pieces now that both boys are happy, they’ve found a partner and they’re happy within their relationships because obviously he wasn’t and went through a divorce and separation. And, of course, the children, the families that both have produced.
“If Diana was alive today, she would be hugging those girls [Kate and Meghan]. I just see her hugging Charlotte. I think she’d be so proud of William the way he has taken on these Royal duties. Seeing the Queen at 96 having to step back – if she could get out there, she would, she wants to, but she can’t physically do everything now – and the Prince of Wales and William and Kate step up and do more and more , it shows that the monarch is here for a long time to come.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.