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Jam or cream first on a scone? This is what the Queen does...

Former royal chef Darren McGrady reveals how it's done at Buckingham Palace

Ainhoa Barcelona
Content Managing Editor
Updated: 18 May 2020
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Do you slather your scone with cream and then add a dollop of jam, or spread the jam first and then top it off with cream? The tradition of cream tea – and how it's taken – forever divides people, with many claiming that their way, whatever that is, is the 'proper' way. Former royal chef Darren McGrady, who worked for the Queen and Princess Diana, previously revealed how the royal family take theirs - and as far as we're concerned, this is gospel. Darren wrote on his Twitter page: "Jam first or clotted cream first? Jam first at Buckingham Palace garden parties!" So there you have it.

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Traditionally, the Cornish method is to split the scone in two, spread the jam and then add a spoonful of clotted cream. This method is commonly used in London, which would explain why it's followed in Buckingham Palace. In contrast, the Devonshire method is to split the scone in two, but cover each half with clotted cream then jam. The Devonshire method is commonly used in neighbouring counties.

queen eating scones© Photo: Getty Images

The royals follow the Cornish method, of jam first then cream

Darren, author of The Royal Chef at Home: Easy Seasonal Entertaining, worked for the Queen at Buckingham Palace for 11 years, so he knows a thing or two about royal eating habits. He also transferred to Kensington Palace where he cooked for Princess Diana and her young sons Prince William and Prince Harry for four years until her death.

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Speaking previously to HELLO! about the late Princess, Darren said: "She wasn't strict at all. She let them be boys, young boys! There was always a battle between her and Nanny. Nanny would say, 'No, they're eating their dinner, they're having cabbage. And the Princess would say, 'No, if they're with me and they want loaded potato skins and fried chicken then they can have that. And if they don't eat it and they still want pudding, they can have that too!' She was much more relaxed than Nanny."

cream tea© Photo: Rex

The Devonshire method is cream first then jam

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Darren said of the young William and Harry: "They liked comfort food dishes. They loved banana flan, anything with banana really, banana ice cream. They loved things like mixed grills, burgers, pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken and cream chicken sauce... They were royal children but they still had children's palates."

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