The Real Reason Prince Philip Didn't Like To Eat With The Queen

There's no question that the late Prince Philip really and truly loved his wife ... even if she was also his sovereign ruler. Tatler called their 73-year marriage a love story akin to any Disney princess' happily ever after. Even the most devoted pair, however, needs a little time apart — and in Prince Philip's case, his preferred "me time" took place at mealtimes.

So why wouldn't he enjoy eating with his wife? Surely her royal highness couldn't possibly have bad table manners? Surely 69 years on the throne must have ingrained in her the most impeccable etiquette. Could that have been the problem, then? Did Prince Philip have a secret yen to put his elbows on the table without the threat of being banished to the royal stable? No, that wasn't it, either. According to former royal chef Darren McGrady (via YouTube), Prince Philip had very different tastes in foods than his more staid spouse.

Prince Philip was a far more more adventurous eater than the Queen

As Chef McGrady dished to Delish in a video clip, "Prince Philip has a much broader palate than Her Majesty." McGrady characterized the prince as someone who "lives to eat," as opposed to HRH, who "eats to live." As the couple had their meals prepared by the royal chefs, obviously each meal they shared was prepared exactly the way the queen liked it, since she's not just the head of the household but the head of the entire nation. So yeah, that crown means that if she says no garlic, then no garlic it is (and only the teensiest bit of onion).

When the queen's away, the mice will play, though, and break a few of those royal food rules. As McGrady recounted, "When the queen was away on engagements, Prince Philip could taste all of his own favorite ingredients." He also revealed that, "I think sometimes, Prince Philip actually enjoyed eating on his own." And what did he like to eat? According to McGrady, the prince loved "real spicy food" and was fond of collecting recipes from all the different places on his extensive travels.

Prince Philip did enjoy a leisurely breakfast with his wife

One of Prince Philip's little-known talents was that he had a flair for artistic expression. Although he primarily painted landscapes (his preferred medium was oil paints), perhaps his best-known work is an intimate portrait of his wife from 1965 that he called The Queen at Breakfast, Windsor Castle (via Metro). In this painting, HRH is seen quietly enjoying a solo meal of toast and marmalade as she listens to the radio and peruses the paper.

On most days, however, the queen did not breakfast alone but with her husband. According to the Daily Mail, the first meal of the royal couple's day took place at 8:30 a.m. He would have coffee, she would have Earl Grey tea, and they would dine upon fruit, yogurt, and cereal (the last-named item kept in rather mundane plastic tubs). They also had two types of marmalade upon the table for the queen's toast, as well as a bottle of maple syrup for ... we're not sure what. It might have served as a reminder of those overseas subjects in the Great White North, but we like to think they might have shared a secret fondness for their great-grandson's favorite breakfast of waffles.

Prince Philip was fond of cooking

The book Dinner at Buckingham Palace by former royal footman Charles Oliver (quoted in Hello!) revealed another hobby of Prince Philip's: He loved to cook. Oliver said the prince specialized in breakfast dishes including bacon, eggs, sausages, and kidneys. With evening meals, he really went all-out, producing what Oliver called "quick, light supper snacks, which he and the Queen often enjoy after they have dismissed the servants for the night." The snacks ranged from scrambled eggs with smoked haddock to butter-sautéed mushrooms and bacon to a dish called Scotch woodcock that consists of scrambled eggs and anchovies on toast. 

During visits to Balmoral Castle, the family's Scottish "summer cottage," Prince Philip enjoyed a pastime common to many a suburban dad — this relatable royal would, according to Oliver, "grill maybe three, four, five times a week," although instead of hot dogs and hamburgers, he'd more likely be barbecuing fresh-caught salmon or wild game.

On one occasion, Prince Philip even cooked a lamb dinner for the Sandringham House kitchen staff. As Darren McGrady described the incident, "He actually cooked on the grill that night — he cooked for me!" The palace kitchens just won't be the same without everyone's favorite guest chef (and snack seeker) in residence. Philip, you are sorely missed, but we'll be sure to think of you from now on every time we have lamb chops for dinner.