We’ll drink to that! And that… and that! The leading royals love to raise a toast – but what are the tipples they actually request?
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It’s part of their job to raise a toast from time to time, but some leading royals are more partial to a drink than others!
And others have quite specific tastes when it comes to alcohol and exactly how to serve it…
Queen Camilla – Red Wine
Although it has been suggested that Camilla’s go-to drink is a large gin and tonic, she’s rather more partial to good red wine.
Perhaps it is fitting that she is president of the United Kingdom Vineyards Association.
‘People always ask me how I became involved in it all, well, first of all, I love wine, but secondly, my father was in the wine business, so I was brought up as a child drinking wine and water rather like the French,’ she said at a reception celebrating the association’s 50th anniversary.
Camilla was clear about her preferences when she was interviewed by her son, Tom Parker-Bowles, for You magazine last year.
Queen Camilla enjoys a glass of red wine – or two. She is seen here with Michelle Obama in 2009
Queen Camilla, who loves a glass of red wine, pictured chatting with guests at the Museum of Modern Art in 2005 in New York City
Her last supper would involve her own asparagus, Angela Hartnett’s risotto or dover sole meunière.
When it comes to something sweet, Camilla said she’s fond of fresh berries with cream plus rich ice cream and a glass of red wine – or two – to finish things off.
‘Some bitter chocolate ice cream. Plus strawberries and raspberries and lots of clotted cream. Along with a really good glass of red claret. And, seeing it’s my last supper, probably two.’
King Charles – Gin Martini
King Charles famously starts his day with nuts and seeds. But there is another, essential, part of his diet that comes a little later in the day: a strong cocktail.
Royal commentator Gordon Rayner claims that the King is partial to a martini comprised of half gin and half dry vermouth, garnished with an olive or lemon twist.
And that this is taken before dinner every night.
It has been suggested that the King even takes the ingredients along with him along when travelling abroad – along with his own glass.
The King enjoys many drinks, including whisky and beer. But a gin martini before his evening meal has become something of a routine
Charles with a tot of whisky at the Mey Highland Games earlier this month
The Prince of Wales enjoys a refreshing glass of beer at a polo match at Smiths Lawn in 1975
The King’s martini has to be served in a certain way, according to Mr Rayner.
He told The Telegraph: ‘When he travels abroad he takes his own spirits with him to be mixed by his staff to his precise taste, while the Queen takes her own supply of red wine, usually from the Pomerol appellation of Bordeaux.
‘The King may sip a glass of wine during dinner but his martini is effectively his only drink of the day.’
According to previous reports, His Majesty enjoys the drink stirred, not shaken.
King Charles is also said to enjoy a gin and tonic from time to time – and certainly appears to enjoy himself whenever he visits a Scottish whisky distillery
The late Queen Mother – Gin and Dubonnet, Martini cocktail and pink Champagne
The late Queen mother was fond of what she terms ‘drinkypoo’ – and one in particular: a lethal combination of gin and Dubonnet (a French aperitif in the style of a vermouth.)
Major Colin Burgess a former equerry to the Queen Mother told the authors of A Domestic History of The Royal Household that his employer was a ‘devoted drinker’.
‘Following my appointment, I discovered the Queen Mother’s pattern of drinking rarely varied.
The Queen Mother was famously partial to a concoction of gin and French aperatif Dubonnet
A ‘drinkypoo’ as she liked to call it was mixed with two parts Dubonnet to one part gin
‘At noon, she had her first drink of the day — a potent mix of two parts of the fortified wine Dubonnet to one part of gin.
This was followed by red wine with lunch and, very occasionally, a glass of port to end it. Later came the ritual observed at 6pm, deemed the earliest acceptable time for an evening drink.
‘Colin, are we at the magic hour?’ the Queen Mother would invariably ask, and I’d mix her a Martini. After a couple of these, she would sit down to dinner and drink one or two glasses of pink champagne.
In 2008, a handwritten note requesting that her page pack ‘Dubonnet and gin’ for an alfresco lunch sold for £16,000.
The note was the star attraction at a sale of Royal memorabilia belonging to William ‘Backstairs Billy’ Tallon, which raised nearly £450,000.
The letter, from the Queen Mother to Mr Tallon, said: ‘I think that I will take two small bottles of Dubonnet and gin with me this morning, in case it is needed.
‘It is a beautiful day, could we have lunch under the tree – one could have 14 at the table and four at a small table.’
Meghan Markle – Tignanello ‘Super Tuscan’ Red
When Meghan launched a lifestyle blog in 2014, the actress named it The Tig after her favourite Tignanello wine.
Tignanello was one of the first so-called ‘Super Tuscans’ created by Italian wine makers in the 1970s.
It is based mainly on San Giovese but incorporates non-traditional varieties, also. The 2019 vintage currently sells for around £160 a bottle.
The Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex raising a toast at a Summer Party at the British Ambassador’s residence at Glencairn House during their visit to Ireland in July 2018
Recalling her first sip of the wine, she wrote: ‘It was an ah-ha moment at its finest. For me it became a ‘Tig’ moment – a moment of getting it.’
Meghan closed down her lifestyle blog in April 2017 before announcing her engagement to Prince Harry later that year.
Andrew, Duke of York – Nothing!
Despite his reputation – perhaps misplaced – as a bon viveur, Prince Andrew does not appear to drink alcohol in any circumstances.
‘He never touches alcohol,’ a former equerry told The Sun.
Another said: ‘In my 30 odd years I’ve never seen him take a single drink.
‘He doesn’t even drink a loyal toast from what I can remember.
‘Any lapses of judgment are certainly not alcohol-fuelled.’
Prince Andrew drinking a glass of water at the Serpentine Gallery Summer Party in 2009
And a third told The Sun: ‘I find it quite funny when he is reported as having downed cocktails.
‘He doesn’t even drink Coca-Cola or anything like that. It’s just plain, straightforward spring water.’
Princess Diana – White Wine
Darren McGrady, a former royal chef for the family told America’s Bustle magazine that, while the late Princess was not a big drinker, she enjoyed a glass of Chardonnay from time to time.
‘Puligny Montrachet [a Chardonnay from Burgundy] was the wine we served the most at Kensington Palace,’ he said.
‘I remember in the kitchen one day she came in, and there was an event going on. She was talking about the drinks and said, ‘I can’t take champagne, it just gives me the giggles so I have to stay away from it’,’ McGrady recalled.’
‘She also couldn’t drink red wine as it gave her the most awful headache, and Diana would stay away from cocktails—they would zap her out completely.’
The late Princess was not a big drinker, she enjoyed a glass of Chardonnay from time to time. Pictured: Charles and Diana raising a toast during the Government House Ball in 1983 in Wellington, New Zealand
Princess Margaret – Whisky
The late Queen’s sister smoked up to 60 strong Chesterfield cigarettes a day, chain smoking between courses during meals, and drank Famous Grouse whisky heavily at home.
Margaret is said to have remained steadfastly loyal to her favourite brand.
Although her tastes sometimes ran to gin and tonic or a glass of wine, her favourite drink was whisky – most specifically, Famous Grouse with a dash of water.
Margaret was said to have been quick to notice if any other brand of whisky had been poured in her glass, and would refuse to drink it.
She also insisted that only Malvern Water was acceptable as a mixer.
In his controversial biography, Margaret – The Untold Story, Noel Botham said that a decanter of Grouse was ever-present on the drinks tray at Margaret’s apartment in Clarence House during the 1950s, and she would take a drink before setting off for an evening out.
Margaret is said to have remained steadfastly loyal to her favourite brand, Famous Grouse with a dash of water. Pictured: Drinking at a party in London in 1980
The Margaret Set were often invited back after a night on the town but, while the Champagne flowed, she preferred her favourite whisky and water – ‘it was the only drink she really enjoyed in the evening’, wrote Botham.
Hosts were made aware that Famous Grouse and Malvern Water should always be available for her, no matter the time, the place or the occasion.
Queen Elizabeth II – Gin and Dubonnet
Like her mother before her, the late Queen enjoyed a gin-and-Dubonnet cocktail.
Dubonnet, which reached a height of popularity in the 1960s and 70s, is a blend of sweet fortified wine, herbs and quinine.
Before her death, the Queen had given a Royal Warrant to Dubonnet, allowing bottles to carry the label ‘By appointment to HM the Queen’, along with an official crest.
Like her mother before her, the late Queen enjoyed a gin-and-Dubonnet cocktail. Pictured: The Queen toasting a drink at the King’s banquet in Nepal in 1986
Sales have grown recently with around 500,000 bottles now sold around the world each year.
We believe it is… to do with consumers looking for a lower-alcohol drink,’ said Simon de Beauregard, a director of parent company Pernod Ricard.
‘It is 14 per cent [alcohol by volume] compared to about 40 per cent in gin and vodka, and it has also become fashionable with the young to use in Negroni cocktails.’
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