Does Queen Elizabeth II Really Eat Roast Swan At Christmas?

The royal family’s connection to swans goes back a long way.

Queen Elizabeth all dressed up and looking thoughtful.
Sean Gallup / Getty Images

The royal family’s connection to swans goes back a long way.

Eating swans are not really the thing in this day and age, and in Britain, it is even illegal to chow down on the big white bird. However, in the case of Queen Elizabeth II, the authorities make a notable exception.

Her majesty has a royal prerogative to feast on swans to her heart’s content, but the question on everyone’s lips as they tuck into their Thanksgiving dinner is, does the queen eat swan for Christmas? And if so, what do Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle make of such an exotic specialty on the royal dinner table?

During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, swan flesh was a much sought after delicacy which could be found on the menu at all the culinary hot spots.

However, times changes and eating swans are something no self-respecting or right-thinking member of society would wish to be seen doing. Heck, even a villain in a Walt Disney movie would probably consider gorging on swan meat a bit beyond the pale.

In the Middle Ages, the powers that be declared all mute swans in the British Isles were “royal birds.” What this meant was that nobody outside the royal family was allowed to harm or eat them except for those of blue blood and regal standing.

Mute swans are those birds which have not been rounded up ringed and marked for conservation purposes.

Even today, an annual swan-upping takes place on the Thames to mark the swans. Any birds who do not receive the stamp belong to the crown due to royal prerogative.

Queen Elizabeth on a boat looking at a swan.
  Sang Tan / Getty Images

The Express reports that apart from the royal household, the only other group of people who are allowed to hunt, cook, and consume unmarked mute swans are the fellows of St. John’s Cambridge. Yet the college has no record of a swan being eaten on its premises since 1896.

So where does that leave the queen? Apparently, her majesty does not partake in swan on Christmas Day.

Daily Break’s royal expert and editor Kelly Lynch finds it hard to believe the queen would dine on these elegant birds at any time of the year.

“Although I am familiar with the annual swan upping, I’ve seen no evidence of the royals dining on swans.

“I know that the Queen has a rather simple palette when it comes to food, and since she owns all of the mute swans in England and Wales, I find it hard to believe she’d dine on them.”

The queen’s former chef Darren McGrady also has no recollection of cooking swan for the royals on Christmas morning.

The cook said, “They’re actually boring when it comes to festivities. They didn’t do hams or anything, just traditional turkeys.”