The One Task Queen Elizabeth Could Never Outsource To Palace Staff
Her Majesty’s daily routine is pretty jam packed.
We’ve all seen Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II out and about at events or special occasions, often photographed for the newspapers or captured on film for a visual archive, but what does the Queen do with her day when the cameras are off? How does the Queen spend her hours and what is her job exactly? Well, we’ve got the lowdown for you, and it turns out the Queen’s daily schedule is actually quite a busy one.
The shift for the Royal Sergeant guarding the Queen’s door will end at 7:30 a.m. when Her Majesty's maid will enter her bedroom with her morning tea. The overnight shift used to end at 6:30 a.m., but when intruder Michael Fagan was able to get as far as the Queen’s bedroom when he broke into Buckingham Palace at around 7 a.m. in 1982 - when no one was on guard - the extra hour was added to the night shift.
Her Majesty wakes up at 7:30 a.m to her Twinings Earl Grey tea, served with two biscuits and milk (poured first, of course). As she listens to the Today Programme on Radio 4 on her Roberts DAB radio with her tea, per Mail Online, a maid will draw a bath of just seven inches of water, which she soaks in from 8 a.m.
One of three assistants lay out Her Majesty’s clothes for the day, under the supervision of Angela Kelly, the Queen’s personal assistant and curator of her wardrobe, and the Queen will dress in her dressing room with its floor-to-ceiling mirrors and walk-in wardrobes following her bath.
“Once the Queen has dressed, her hairdresser brushes and arranges her hair in the style that hasn’t changed in decades,” reveals the Mail Online.
At 8:30 a.m., it’s breakfast. Usually cereal and fruit, which the monarch keeps in tupperware to keep fresh, and sometimes toast and marmalade instead, but on special occasions the Queen enjoys scrambled eggs with smoked salmon (brown eggs, however, as she thinks they taste nicer) and a finish of grated truffle. Breakfast is taken with a side of live music, as the royal piper plays the bagpipes outside her window, per Insider, which the Queen reportedly adores.
By 9:30 a.m, the Queen is at the desk in her sitting room, preparing to do her paperwork which usually lasts two hours. Her Majesty starts with her red briefcase of official government papers, which usually involves reading and responding to official state papers which the Queen must read, approve and sign every day, wherever she is, with the single exception of Christmas Day, per The Crown Chronicles. She will then select a few items of fan mail to personally reply to (she leaves the rest for her aides).
After her official correspondence is out of the way for the day, it’s time for Her Majesty’s meetings. From 11 a.m., the Queen dedicates 20-minute one-on-one sessions with guests in the Audience Room, such as overseas ambassadors, High Commissioners, newly appointed British ambassadors, and senior members of the British and Commonwealth Armed Forces, to ensure relevant and important topics are discussed, per The Crown Chronicles.
When the Queen isn’t at home, this time is dedicated to undertaking engagements, or attending award ceremonies, such as formal investiture ceremonies to give OBEs, CBEs, MBEs, knighthoods, and more to those who have made a difference in their community or field of work.
Lunch, served at 1 p.m, is “usually a meal of fish and vegetables, such as a grilled Dover sole, on a bed of wilted spinach or with courgettes”, or simple grilled chicken with salad, according to Darren McGrady, a former royal chef. Her Majesty also reportedly enjoys a gin and Dubonnet (a sweet wine-based aperitif) with a slice of lemon and a lot of ice with her lunch.
After lunch, it's time for the Queen’s outings and engagements. As the 95-year-old monarch is slowing down somewhat, she hand picks events to attend, such as visits to schools, military units, newly opened hospitals, and charity headquarters, to use her (limited) time effectively.
At 4 p.m., it’s time to break for afternoon tea. Finger sandwiches with fillings such as tuna and cucumber, smoked salmon, egg and mayonnaise, or ham and mustard are served with the crusts removed, as well as jam pennies – raspberry jam sandwiches cut into circles the size of an English Penny - per The Telegraph.
Despite such a busy schedule, the Queen still takes time out of her day to look after her beloved dogs herself. While her two dorgis – a dachshund/corgi mix – Candy and Vulcan tend to follow Her Majesty as she goes about her day, she also likes to walk them on the estates, wherever she is staying at the time.
The Queen will take a drink in the evening before her dinner is served. At 7:30 p.m, Her Majesty will read through the report of the day’s parliamentary proceedings, written and delivered by the Vice-Chamberlain of the Household. The exception being once a week on a Wednesday at 6:30 p.m, when the Queen will meet with the Prime Minister for a strictly private discussion.
When not entertaining or at official events, dinner is taken in her private quarters, and usually consists of fillets of beef or venison, pheasant, or salmon from farms in Sandringham and Balmoral. “When she dines on her own, she’s very disciplined,” added McGrady, “No starch is the rule.”
The Queen will retire at 9 p.m, choosing to watch television in the sitting room next to her office, sometimes reading in bed before turning her lights out to get some well-earned rest before doing it all again the next day.