King Charles' Diet: What Does He Eat?

Everything the British royal family does is a little different from that of the general public, but they are still human beings who have to attend to their bodily needs just like anybody else. The Windsors have to sleep, brush their teeth, bathe, and use the bathroom. 

The royal family also has to eat. While there are some rules about what the Windsors can and can't eat and some protocols they have to follow, the royal family otherwise has free rein when it comes to food thanks to their wealth; they can afford private chefs and access to food from around the world. Despite this freedom, some of the Windsors, namely King Charles III, impose further limitations on their diets, making their food choices that much more interesting. Charles' diet is made even more unique by his noted love for food as well as his passion for sustainable food practices and organic farming. If you weren't obsessed with every detail of the royal family already, learning all about King Charles' diet just might send you over the edge. Here's a taste of what the monarch likes to eat.

King Charles eats many plant-based foods

King Charles III is a huge advocate for eating plant-based meals. The monarch follows a vegan diet one day a week, and he follows a vegetarian diet an additional two days per week. Charles is so dedicated to his diet plan that in March of 2023, shortly after he became king, he looked for a vegan chef to join his household staff at Buckingham Palace. Per the New York Post, the job description marketed the position as a unique opportunity, and King Charles was searching for someone knowledgeable about culinary history.

King Charles has a specific reason for following a plant-based diet three out of the seven days a week: the environment. The king has long been an environmentalist, and one way he practices his beliefs is by abstaining from meat when he can. When Charles does eat meat, he's certain to eat only specific options. "So if it's grass-based and from the right breeds, you know if it is better quality but eaten less often — that approach to farming is less damaging than the industrialised approach with intensive everything, and causing huge pressures and damage," King Charles said in an interview with the BBC, per Express.

He is abuzz about honey

King Charles III is a big fan of honey. The monarch likes the natural sweetener in his tea, and he reportedly travels with six different types of honey. It's a well-known fact around the UK that the king has an affinity for honey, and it's prompted others to offer up their own honey to the royal. On National Bee Day in 2023, famed soccer player David Beckham brought Charles a jar of honey from his beehives in Oxfordshire. The king told the athlete, "Well, I'll have to swap it with the one that I do," upon being presented with the gift.

King Charles isn't the only member of his family who likes honey — or bees. His wife, Queen Camilla, is the President of Bees for Development, and she's a beekeeper herself. Camilla keeps bees at her home in Wiltshire, she sells the honey they produce, and gives the money to various nonprofits. The British royal family has long housed beehives on its grounds, and the honey the bees produce is served to guests at Buckingham Palace. While Queen Elizabeth II was still alive, she gave a jar of that honey to Pope Francis in 2014. According to The Guardian, after she presented the pope a care package that also included eggs and whisky, Elizabeth quipped, "I hope that will be unusual for you."

King Charles digs Italian food

Many of King Charles III's food habits have been learned by reports from those around him, like the former chef to the royal family, Darren McGrady. McGrady cooked for the Windsors for many years, and he learned the tastes of many of the family members, particularly Charles. "One of the things I've noticed about the Prince of Wales is his love for Italian food," McGrady told Delish in 2020. "Whether it was the wild mushroom risotto or whether it was polenta dishes, sort of healthy eating, that's what Italian food is — simple, elegant food," he added.

McGrady was the royal chef for so long he even cooked food for Princess Diana. And as he noted, the family was fond of Italian food back then, too. "When Prince Charles, Princess Diana, William, and Harry were all eating together, often Italian food was on the menu. Princess Diana loved it, too because it was simple and clean," McGrady shared. He added that Charles and Diana enjoyed salads and risotto while William and Harry were all about a good slice. "I mean, what boys don't love pizza? I know William and Harry do," McGrady said.

He's fond of soft-boiled eggs

Many people who have been in King Charles III's orbit over the years have commented on his fondness for boiled eggs. While the reports of exactly how boiled he likes his eggs have differed, they all note that the king prefers a soft-boiled egg to a hard-boiled egg. "Because his staff were never quite sure whether the egg would be precisely to the satisfactory hardness, a series of eggs was cooked, and laid out in an ascending row of numbers," Jeremy Paxam wrote in "On Royalty." "If the prince felt that number five was too runny, he could knock the top off number six or seven," Paxam added. The king has reportedly denied being fussy about his eggs.

Many of King Charles' former staff members have noted that he likes eggs for breakfast, but that's not the only time of day he eats them. "Afternoon tea, he's been known to have boiled eggs. He's very fond of boiled eggs," former royal chef Darren McGrady dished to Delish, adding that he likes to eat his boiled eggs with toast. Another former staff member shared that King Charles has been known to have eggs and whiskey with his hunters after a day spent hunting.

King Charles eats pheasant crumble pie

Although King Charles III limits his meat intake, there are still some meat options he favors and will indulge in on occasion. One such delicacy is pheasant crumble pie, a savory pie with pheasant and vegetables, not unlike chicken pot pie. "I got this recipe from someone I know. It is delicious," Charles said of his favorite pheasant dish, as reported by the Daily Mail, noting that he likes to try it with different meats, too. "I invented a grouse one recently, coq au vin with grouse, as well as moussaka with grouse (it doesn't always have to be lamb), in other words groussaka!" the king added.

There aren't many meats that the king eats, though, and he has even banned some from being served at Buckingham Palace. "I can affirm that neither the Royal Household nor the Royal Residences purchase foie gras, nor are there any plans to amend this policy," Charles said in late 2022, as reported by VegNews. The king also went against an 800-year tradition for his coronation. Typically, the monarch eats lamprey pie after being crowned, but Charles had the recipe amended to exclude the fish for his ceremony.

He likes salmon

There are many outdoor activities that King Charles III enjoys, including hunting and fishing. Charles has fished for many years, even taking his boys with him on occasion. Ever one to share the fruits of his labors with his family and guests, Charles is known for offering up the salmon he's caught for his chefs to use. "He would heft enormous salmon into the royal kitchen to be weighed, tagged, and catalogued," former royal chef Darren McGrady wrote in his cookbook "Eating Royally." "None of the chefs were allowed to touch it until instructions were sent from upstairs. Usually it would be grilled, poached, or broiled with a garnish and served on silver in the dining room," McGrady noted of its preparation.

Perhaps King Charles got his love of salmon from his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. The queen had a couple of favorite salmon dishes that her former chef, Darren McGrady, prepared. As he shared with Vanity Fair, Queen Elizabeth was fond of eating the fish that Charles caught while they were spending time in Scotland, and McGrady typically used it for a custard dish or made it into salmon Glamis.

King Charles hunts mushrooms

It seems that King Charles III might be perfectly capable of living off the land. In addition to hunting and fishing, Charles is fond of foraging for mushrooms (it's even been said that Charles was hunting mushrooms just before his mother died). As former royal chef Darren McGrady in the aforementioned Delish feature, "The Prince of Wales loves wild mushrooms, and I remember one time we were at Balmoral Castle, and we heard that he was coming up to Balmoral and bringing his chefs and bringing a man to show them all around the estate where the best mushrooms were, the organic, beautiful wild mushrooms on the Balmoral, a 50,000 acre Balmoral Estate." McGrady added that one of Charles' favorite meals is lamb with mushroom risotto.

Queen Elizabeth II also liked mushrooms, and the food reportedly reminds King Charles of his mother. In September of 2023, Charles and others gathered at the Palace of Versailles for a state dinner, and according to the Daily Mail, the king ordered that mushrooms be served in honor of his mother. The dinner reportedly consisted of blue lobster and crab for an appetizer; Bresse chicken, corn, porcini mushroom gratin, and an assortment of cheeses as an entree. Macaroons were served for dessert, and wine and champagne were available to drink.

He's a fan of cheese

King Charles III is a longtime fan of cheese. The monarch appreciates many different types, with a particular affinity for options like Sparkenhoe Red Leicester, Lancashire Bomb, and Colston Bassett Stilton, all of which vary in texture and taste. The king is especially fond of local cheeses, and he's been credited with playing a major part in saving the British farmhouse cheese industry. In the early 1990s, the industry was suffering, and then-Prince Charles joined a group actively working to revitalize sales. "He wasn't seeking attention for his support, he just brought everyone together and found a path through it all," Randolph Hodgsen, the group's founder, said of King Charles, as reported by BBC News.

The king is still dedicated to this cause. In 2020, the Clarence House Instagram account shared Charles' thoughts on the importance of buying local cheese. "British cheesemakers need our support during this time of great uncertainty, and we can all help in the simplest way. By sourcing British cheese from local shops and cheesemongers, and directly from producers online, you can make a vital contribution to keeping these small businesses afloat during the prevailing crisis," then-Prince Charles said. In 2023, King Charles further supported the industry by serving English cheeses at a banquet held at the Palace of Versailles.

King Charles is all about a good piece of fruit

King Charles III publicly advocates for eating locally sourced foods, and he practices what he peaches, er, preaches. The monarch loves a good piece of fresh fruit, and if he can get it from his garden, that is where he gets it. Though Charles rotates through options for his daily fare, he does not mix things up too much. As former royal chef Darren McGrady explained to Delish, "[He] normally starts the day with some fruit for breakfast. Often some plums from the garden that have been lightly poached, a little juice, and some muesli to go with it."

The king is even more particular about his vittles when he travels. As Graham Newbould, another former royal chef, said in the 2015 documentary "Serving the Royals: Inside the Firm" (via MyLondon), "Wherever the Prince goes in the world, the breakfast box goes with him. He has six different types of honey, some special mueslis, his dried fruit and anything that's a bit special that he is a bit fussy about." While staying closer to home, however, Newbould shared, "Prince Charles has a healthier option. He'd have homemade bread, a bowl of fresh fruit, fresh fruit juices."

He eats seasonal vegetables

King Charles III has always had specific instructions for the royal chefs when it comes to food. Former royal chef Carolyn Robb shared some of his instructions with Express, noting that the royal required the family to eat seasonal vegetables. (The same rule could be applied to fruit, as Robb pointed out the family wasn't allowed to eat strawberries in December as the fruit is not in season that month.) Robb added that Charles also sought out locally sourced food, and that no food was wasted — the royal family and their staff members found uses for everything. The former royal chef also shared that whenever the Windsors are going to be interacting with the public, the cooks avoid using raw onion and garlic in their dishes.

Many of the vegetables that King Charles eats come from his own garden. "One of the things that fascinates me about the Prince of Wales, from a culinary aspect, is his passion for organic farming. They have all of this incredible produce down at the Duchy Estate where he lives at Highgrove," former royal chef Darren McGrady shared with Delish. He added, "He has an incredible vegetable garden ... It's incredible for the chefs because the prince is really keen about using the produce from the gardens."

King Charles likes martinis

Though King Charles III eschews a number of consumables, he does partake in alcoholic beverages. While visiting Count Tibor Kalnoky in Transylvania, his friend learned that the monarch cares for one drink in particular: "He likes a Martini before dinner, that's for sure," Kalnoky said, as reported by the Mirror. Another person in Charles' orbit added that he's specific about what exactly he's drinking, even when he's traveling. "He'll take booze on royal tours with him so that he has always got something he likes to drink," they said. It's also been reported that the king likes a gin and tonic.

There's another spirit that King Charles likes: whisky. As reported by Express, a royal expert confirmed that Charles is especially fond of Scotch whisky, and that "many aren't aware the King's estate actually brews and sells its own brand of whisky and other spirits." Others have cashed in on the king's love for whisky, too. In honor of King Charles' coronation, the brand Royal Salute bottled a commemorative batch of aged Scotch whisky, as did the brand Laphroaig.

He does not eat lunch

If you ever find yourself working for King Charles III, don't expect him to break for lunch. Many a staff member who's worked for the monarch has noted that Charles skips the midday meal. "Lunch is seen as a luxury that gets in the way of his work, so he eats a late breakfast and works through," one former staffer shared via The Telegraph. "It can be a problem sometimes. When we do day visits or foreign tours, he can go the whole day without stopping for a break, which means we all have to miss our lunch as well," another former royal employee told the Daily Mail of Charles' eating habits.

King Charles' choice to skip lunch is not in vain. The royal has been following this practice for many years now, first choosing to cut back on his food intake for health reasons. "The Prince of Wales has long been an advocate of healthy eating, and he does encourage people to have a healthy diet," a representative for the royal said. Charles does have breakfast and dinner, however, and he is by no means opposed to having an afternoon snack.