The Queen ‘only eats tiny Christmas dinners and loves washing up in marigolds’

The Queen is said to only ever eat tiny portions (Image: Getty Images)

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The Queen loves doing the washing up but only eats "very little portions" on Christmas Day, according to a former royal butler.

Paul Burrell, formerly Her Majesty's personal footman and later Diana's butler for 10 years, said the 94-year-old monarch has "great self-discipline" and refuses to gorge on turkey, stuffing or pigs in blankets.

But the Queen does love to get stuck into the washing up, while her lady in waiting does the drying – especially when staying at Balmoral, the royal servant claimed.

Speaking to Vicky Pattison on her The Secret podcast, Mr Burrell, 62, said: "[The Queen] only ever eats very little portions. She doesn’t eat a Christmas dinner like we do where it is piled high and you can’t see each other across the table.

Former royal butler Paul Burrell
(Image: Ken McKay/ITV/REX)

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"She only eats tiny little portions."

HM traditionally spends her summers on the Balmoral estate in Scotland, often surrounded by large swathes of her family – though this year the pandemic hampered that somewhat.

Mr Burrell, who entered royal service at the age of 18, continued: "She likes to wash up. She puts on the marigolds and when she goes out to the log cabin at Balmoral she is stood there with her marigolds on and she washes up and the lady in waiting dries."

The Queen has some difficult decisions to make this Christmas
(Image: Getty Images)

Royal author Juliet Rieden said that Balmoral – which has been one of the royal residences since 1852 – is where the Queen enjoys her most "normal" life.

"This is where she loves to be, this is holiday time for the Queen. She always said this is where she feels most herself and feels most free," said Ms Rieden.

The annual Sandringham mass Christmas family get together is off this year due to the pandemic, with the Queen said to be still finalising who will be in her bubble.

From December 23 to 27 Brits are allowed to mix three households together, meaning the monarch has some difficult decisions to make.

HM and Prince Philip, 99, are in the highest risk bracket, with the latter's pre-existing health issues that saw him hospitalised last Christmas a key factor in any decision making.

Prince Edward and his family are considered a likely option to join the Queen's bubble, with his older children to find social distancing easier than some of their younger relatives, including Prince William and Kate's kids.

Sophie, Countess of Wessex, is also said to be particularly close to the Queen.

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