Former royal chef reveals what the Queen's corgis eat

By Heather Cichowski

Former royal chef Darren McGrady has shared fascinating insights about the Royal Family's eating habits, including what the Queen likes to have on toast and a trick that was used to get Prince Harry and Prince William to eat their vegetables.

In his latest video, Darren opened up about the diet of some other very important members of the Royal Family: the royal corgis!

Darren, who was a personal chef to the Queen, William, Harry and the late Princess Diana for 15 years, revealed the special diet Her Majesty's beloved dogs enjoyed and his initial surprise at preparing meals for the monarch's four-legged family members.

"I didn't expect to be cooking for the dogs, the Queen's dogs, the royal corgis, when I started working at Buckingham Palace," revealed Darren at the start of the video, as he held a stuffed toy corgi.

He said that he anticipated cooking for kings, queens and presidents. Darren eventually did do that, but one of his first jobs was cooking for the royal corgis. And the Queen's cherished dogs even had their own menu!

Darren made fresh food for the dogs every day. When he worked at the palace, the monarch had a whopping 12 corgis.

The dogs were given a selection of finely chopped meats including beef, chicken, rabbit and liver. Additionally, there was rice and cabbage that could be mixed in with the meats in case the dogs had any digestion or similar troubles.

Darren McGrady attended BritWeek's 10th Anniversary VIP Reception & Gala at the Fairmont Hotel on May 1, 2016 in Los Angeles. Photo: © Angela Weiss/Getty Images

"The most important part about preparing the meats was that everything had to be cut into a fine dice, something we call a brunoise," Darren explained as he prepared the dog food.

"A very, very tiny cut," the chef stated. "The reason for that is to be sure that there were no bones at all in the meat."

"Imagine if one of the dogs were to choke on the bones. The chefs would be in real trouble," Darren added.

According to the former royal chef, the dogs slept in wicker baskets and were looked after by two footmen, who the palace staff had nicknamed Doggy 1 and Doggy 2! The footmen were the ones who collected food from the kitchen so Darren never knew what the dogs' favourite meat was. It was then the Queen who fed the beloved pooches.

The Queen beams during a picture-taking session in the salon at Sandringham House as one of her dogs looks up adoringly at her. The photo was taken in February 1970 in connection with the Royal Family's planned royal tour of Australia and New Zealand. Photo: © Bettmann/Getty Images

Another interesting fact Darren shared is that the dogs would come into the kitchens at the smaller royal residences, such as Sandringham!

"I remember being at Sandringham and I was putting a beef wellington into the oven and I didn't see one of the little corgis coming into the kitchen and sniffing around for food," the Eating Royally owner recalled.

"I stepped back and almost tripped over as I was putting the beef wellington into the oven!"

In the video, Darren also shared some fascinating insight on the Royal Family's links with the corgis as well as some memories of them. He even shared a few photos.

He explained that the royals have had corgis since around 1933 when the Queen's father, King George VI, bought a corgi home called Dookie. Later, then-Princess Elizabeth was given a corgi for her 18th birthday and she named it Susan. Since then, the monarch has had over 30 corgis including ones named Monty, Willow, Pickles, Smoky, Crackers, Holly and Linnet.

Her Majesty and her cherished dogs in the 1960's at Sandringham. Photo: © Anwar Hussein/WireImage

Queen Elizabeth II's adoration of corgis is well known, but it sometimes doesn't extend to all members of the Royal Family.

"Harry said, 'I've spent 33 years having those dogs bark at me,'" Darren explained about the Duke of Sussex.

He added that William felt similarly. The prince once said, "The corgis bark all the time."

MORE: Former royal chef reveals the special treat the Queen likes to put on her toast

Darren also shared his personal memories of meeting the Queen and the royal corgis for the first time as well as what it was like flying up to Balmoral with the dogs.

Presently, Her Majesty does not have any corgis. But, she does have two dorgis (corgi-dachshund mixes), named Vulcan and Candy. The 94-year-old was photographed with one of the dogs as she departed Buckingham Palace for Windsor Castle in March during the coronavirus pandemic.

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