Etiquette Expert Reveals How Royal Family Members Show They're Finished Eating

When you're a royal, there are countless etiquette rules to follow. From how you dress to how you sit, being a royal family member is the opposite of carefree living (via the Independent). In fact, royal protocol even forbids the eating of certain foods (no shellfish!).

As former p​​alace chef Darren McGrady told The Telegraph, the rules become even more strict on occasions that a royal family member enjoys a meal with the Queen. "'When she dines on her own she's very disciplined. No starch is the rule...Just usually something like grilled sole with vegetables and salad," he said. In other words, you won't find the monarch pigging out on pasta or potatoes.

We guess she's not as relatable as we thought! Although, to be fair, as Insider reports, Queen Elizabeth has been known to shop at the market for her own groceries — and has gotten annoyed in the self-checkout lane.

But overall, being a royal means you know the rules around eating and etiquette, from start to finish.

There's a way to show the staff you're still eating

Eating a meal as a royal is not nearly as casual as when we tuck into our favorite snacks and treats — at least not when you're with the Queen. From a young age, family members are taught how to properly hold their utensils. The knife goes in the right hand, with the fork in the left hand, tines facing down at all times (via Reader's Digest). Then, as each bite is taken, a royal must carefully balance the chicken or fish (again, no pasta!) on the back of the fork to savor it.

Meanwhile, say you want to use the bathroom — while not eating rice or potatoes. You would avoid making a big deal out of leaving the table, and to signal you aren't done with your dish, you'd cross your fork and knife. This is the sign to the staff that you'll be returning to meticulously munch on fare like fish and pheasant with vegetables (via British Heritage).

As far as signaling that you're done eating, an insider is sharing how a royal would show the staff it's time to clear their plate.

Royals know how to show the meal is done

UK-based etiquette coach William Hanson knows a thing or two about the dining habits of the royal family and speaking on behalf of coffee retailer Coffee Friend, he shared that there is a way to show staff you're done with a meal so no one has to ask.

"When a member of the royal family is finished eating, they place their cutlery together," Hanson explained in a press release. "If you imagine the plate as a clock face and the cutlery as the hands of the clock, when finished eating in Britain, the cutlery is positioned at 6:30 with the tines of the fork facing upwards."

So, if a member of the staff comes across your plate and the cutlery is crossed in the shape of an "X," this would indicate a royal diner is not finished. But when the cutlery is arranged in the "finished position," that means it's okay to clear the place.

Given this custom, Hanson says he is shocked when in nice establishments, and cutlery is placed in the "internationally recognized finished position," a server will still ask a diner if they are done. Such things would never happen at Buckingham Palace!