The Surprising American Food Queen Elizabeth Can't Get Enough Of

If there's one thing Queen Elizabeth II can never be, that's "just plain folks." After all, she was born into royalty, and for the past 68 years, she has been the ruler of a nation. With great power comes not only great responsibility but also a great deal of attention paid to even the niggliest of details. For one thing, she can't just eat whatever strikes her fancy but has to take into account any possible side effects that might prove less-than-regal (so no garlic, no onions, and no messy sauces).

That doesn't mean the queen dines upon nothing but caviar and quails' eggs, however, nor are her food rules so restrictive as to preclude all things fun and tasty. She's said to be very fond of chocolate cake, she likes a cocktail now and then, and her regular Friday-night treat is fish and chips. Yes, even the queen likes fast food, though unlike certain other world leaders, she's never been known to send her palace guards out on a Mickey D's run (much less expect them to pick up the tab). Instead, she has her fast-food favorites prepared by the royal chefs. According to British Heritage, the one she likes best is a good old all-American hamburger.

The queen's burgers aren't always made with beef

Just like the queen herself, the hamburger may have German roots, or at least a German-derived name. (The queen's last name, if she could be said to have one, is Windsor, but her grandfather changed it from Saxe-Coburg Gotha when German names fell out of favor during World War I). Nevertheless, this food will forever be associated with Britain's rogue colony, and American import Mickey D's has around 1,300 restaurants throughout the U.K. (via McDonald's).

As former palace chef Darren McGrady revealed in an interview (via British Heritage), however, the queen isn't much of a fan of Big Macs, nor does she hanker after a Quarter Pounder, either. Instead, she prefers her burgers cooked to her own specifications. Oftentimes, her burgers will be made with free-range meat — so free-range that it was actually running through the grounds at Balmoral shortly before appearing on her plate. No, the royals aren't in the cattle-raising business, but they do have plenty of deer in the royal forests. And they enjoy a bit of deer hunting followed by a tasty meal of venison burgers. As McGrady said of these burgers, "There'd be gorgeous cranberry and everything stuffed into them." Sounds unusual, but delicious!

The palace chefs may not have been the only ones cooking those burgers

Some of those venison burgers the queen may have enjoyed throughout the years whenever the family visited their Scottish "summer cottage," aka Balmoral Castle, may not have been cooked by McGrady or even by any palace chef at all. Instead, the man behind the grill may well have been Prince Philip, who had a not-so-secret passion for cooking.

While the Duke of Edinburgh did have some different tastes in food than his royal sovereign/spouse, he did defer to her preferences when they dined together. When she was away, however, he would get a little more adventurous with his eating and was even known to visit the palace kitchens himself — sometimes for a late-night snack, but on at least one occasion (via YouTube), he went in there to take over the cooking! And when it came to outdoor grilling at Balmoral, Prince Philip was undoubtedly, as Prince Harry referred to his grandfather in the touching tribute he posted on his Archewell website, "master of the barbecue."

This is how the queen eats her burgers

While the queen's burgers may come with all the trimmings (and perhaps a side of symmetrically square-cut chips), there's one thing they don't have. According to McGrady, "we never set buns out." So why does the queen shun buns? It's not because she's doing the keto diet — she does love her chips and her cake, after all. No, it's because, as McGrady told Insider, "Her Majesty's Victorian upbringing dictates that the only thing you would pick up and eat with your fingers is afternoon tea." That means Her Majesty and the rest of the royals (at least when dining in her company) eat their burgers with a knife and fork, and a bun would just complicate that.

As to whether the queen enjoys ketchup on her burgers, McGrady didn't say, though it probably wouldn't go too well with cranberry sauce. In fact, BBC News reports that royals tend to avoid "'messy' tomato sauces" altogether, so ketchup's probably a no-go. If she does have a bottle in the pantry, though, we bet we can guess what brand it is: Heinz, as this brand holds the Royal Warrant. With or without ketchup, fork or fingers, it's nice to know the queen sometimes eats the same stuff the rest of us do — and as she's about to turn 95 and is still going strong, it can't be doing her much harm. If she ever releases her own celebrity cookbook, we'd definitely buy a copy!