Royals' afternoon tea menus – the decadent foods loved by the Queen, Kate Middleton and more

It's not just scones and tea in the royal households...

Nichola Murphy

Afternoon tea is a staple in the royal households, but like everyone, the likes of the Queen, Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton all have their own individual preferences. As it happens, the assumption that the royals sip on Earl Grey and nibble on scones is only partially true!

READ: Royal ladies' favourite lunches: Kate Middleton, Sophie Wessex and more

From what kind of tea they serve to their favourite cakes and even different sandwich fillings, we've rounded up everything we know about what members of the royal family dine on during cream tea. We're not sure about you, but the monarch's famous chocolate biscuit cake is at the top of our list...

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WATCH: The Queen's favourite foods revealed

The Queen

The most logical place to start is Her Majesty, who supposedly serves afternoon tea on a daily basis, with her favourite teas including Assam and Earl Grey, royal butler Grant Harrold revealed.

Former royal chef Darren McGrady has previously said that the Queen's favourite finger sandwiches are cucumber, egg and smoked salmon – all with the crusts cut off, of course. 


The Queen supposedly eats all the leftovers of her chocolate biscuit cake

Not forgetting the sweet treats, the 94-year-old loves ginger cake and chocolate biscuit cake, the latter of which even travels with the Queen. Darren told HELLO!: "The royal chefs send a whole cake up to Her Majesty every day for tea. She will sometimes take a slice and then it is never seen at the royal table again. [The cake is sent to the staff for their afternoon tea.]

"The chocolate biscuit cake is the only cake that goes up to the royal table every day until it has all gone – sometimes this means it following her to Windsor Castle for the weekend," Darren said. 

MORE: The Queen's daily diet: what the monarch eats for breakfast, lunch and dinner

The Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke of Cambridge also have a soft spot for the decadent recipe – so much so that Prince William requested it at his royal wedding to Kate Middleton in 2011.

Meghan Markle


Meghan served homemade banana bread during the royal tour of Australia in 2018

It is not known how often the Duke and Duchess of Sussex dine on afternoon tea, but when they do, they likely opt for a very modern version. Meghan is said to prefer herbal infusions over English breakfast tea; not only did she opt for mint tea instead of coffee during a visit to Birkenhead in January 2019, but also revealed she and British Vogue Editor-in-chief Edward Enninful bonded over a steaming cup in the September 2019 issue.


The Duchess' banana bread recipe includes two secret ingredients

The royal couple's food of choice will also likely include Meghan's famous homemade banana bread, which includes chocolate chips and ginger. Back in 2018, the mum-of-one took the cake to a picnic with a farming family in Dubbo, near Sydney, Australia, whilst on royal tour with Prince Harry.

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Benita Woodley, from the Mountain View Farm, told the Daily Mail: "She [the Duchess of Sussex] said if you go to someone's house you always bring something, so she did. She said she was worried about the bananas, that she'd put too many bananas in it. But the Duke said there's never too many bananas."

Duchess of Cornwall


Charles and Camilla served afternoon tea at their wedding

When she's not indulging in the rich chocolate cake loved by the Queen, Camilla Parker-Bowles likely enjoys classic British favourites such as smoked salmon, potted shrimp or roast venison sandwiches, all of which were served at her royal wedding to Prince Charles in 2005. The couple also feasted on miniature scones with clotted cream and jam, glazed fudge and strawberry tartlets. 

We like to think Charles and Camilla occasionally swap their scones for Welsh cakes, after the official Clarence House Instagram page recently released a recipe from The Village Bakery in Wrexham. The recipe stated the sweet treats are traditionally served warm with butter or clotted cream and jam. 


The royals tried their hand at flipping Welsh cakes in 2015

Prince Philip

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh's favourite tea choices may change throughout the year, as Her Majesty is known to enjoy seasonal foods. However, one biscuit that is bound to be on the menu during their summer stay at Balmoral Castle is Scottish shortbread.

MORE: Meghan Markle's favourite tea revealed and where to buy it

On one of his cooking tutorials on YouTube, Darren explained: "I used to make shortbread at least once a week at Balmoral and it was always on the afternoon tea menu." As well as the three regular ingredients of butter, flour and sugar, he said: "The royal recipe includes cornstarch, too. Cornstarch softens the shortbread – it makes it less glutinous. Instead of snapping, it crumbles and just melts in your mouth." Yum!

Kate Middleton


The Duchess likes her tea with a little bit of milk

We already know the Duchess of Cambridge's tea preference is very traditional after a Kilcooley Women's Centre said on Twitter following her visit to the Ark Open Farm: "Just like us little bit of milk.... so down to earth we were enchanted." 

But what would Kate and Prince William choose to eat? All was revealed back in 2019, when the royal couple stopped for a bite to eat at the picturesque Inn on the Lake in Ullswater in the Lake District. A full afternoon tea at the hotel includes freshly prepared finger sandwiches: honey and orange roasted gammon & Hawkshead piccalilli, Appleby Creamery cheddar cheese & sweet pickle, egg & chive mayonnaise, cucumber & crème fraîche with black pepper.

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It also offers a homemade savoury treat, homemade plain and fruit scone with butter, jam & clotted cream, homemade patisseries, macaroon and traditional mini trifle. If their private afternoon tea menu is half as decadent then they're in for a treat!

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