princess-diana

Exclusive: Princess Diana's chef gives rare insight into how she spent her birthdays

Darren McGrady worked for the Queen and the late Princess of Wales

Sophie Hamilton

The 1 July 2020 would have been Princess Diana's 59th birthday. The mother of Prince William and Prince Harry sadly passed away on 31 August 1997, but despite the years gone by, the world still thinks of her with much fondness.

As we remember her on this special day, we asked her former chef Darren McGrady – who cooked for Diana for four years from 1993 to 1997 – how she used to spend her birthdays.

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WATCH: Remembering Diana on her birthday

Darren told HELLO!: "Princess Diana didn’t really want to celebrate her birthdays, it meant another year older. So no birthday cakes or special dishes. She would usually go out to lunch with her girlie friends and then a quiet night in for her birthday. Something like grilled fish or stuffed bell pepper."

He added: "Princess Diana’s birthday at Kensington Palace was one of the busiest days of the year for me. Not from a culinary aspect but all of her charities and friends sending flowers, thus the back doorbell ringing every few minutes and me having to run downstairs to answer."

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Princess Diana was known for her elegant style

Darren's role as Private Chef at Kensington Palace involved him planning and preparing the daily menus for Diana, William and Harry, as well as catering for private and official lunch and dinner parties. Prior to working for the princess, Darren cooked for the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh for 11 years from 1982.

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Diana with her sons William and Harry

In a 2017 interview with HELLO!, Darren spoke about Diana's diet, revealing: "The Princess never ate much red meat. She never ate beef, never ate pork, occasionally she'd have lamb when she was entertaining guests but for the most part, it was chicken, fish or vegetarian options.

"One of her favourite dishes was an Egg Suzette which was a baked potato scooped out with wilted spinach in the bottom and a poached egg on top and then a little hollandaise sauce, a tiny amount, with some potatoes piped around the edges."

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Princess Diana's chef Darren McGrady

"When I was cooking for her I had to change my style of cooking. I had to move from cooking food for the Queen – heavy sauces, rich sauces and creams – to start cooking lighter food again, cutting out the fats, cutting out the carbs. She would say, 'You take care of all the fats and I'll take care of all the carbs at the gym.'"