Great Britain

Philip once told Diana off for hiding in the kitchen & was mistaken for a gardener with ‘tatty’ clothes, says royal chef

THE Queen’s former chef has revealed how Prince Philip once told Princess Diana off for hiding in the kitchen. 

Darren McGrady, 58, who was the personal chef to the Queen in the 1990s, paid tribute to the late Duke of Edinburgh on YouTube.

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Darren recalled: “He had a great sense of humour too, I remember Princess Diana sat in the kitchen, sat on top of the freezer and she was just picking away at lychees and she was chatting about the theatre and Phantom of the Opera.

“Suddenly the Duke walked in and she turned and said, ‘Oh, you've caught me.’

“And he said, ‘Oh, you're not here to discuss the barbecue tonight are you?’ and she just looked horrified she said ‘I wouldn't know where to start.’”

Darren said Prince Philip “loved to grill on the barbecue” and had an “adventurous” palette, often asking for game from the estate or unusual dishes like kipper souffle and devilled kidneys. 

Darren said: “The first time I met Prince Philip, it was at Balmoral Castle. In my first year there was working in the kitchen, and I was the only one there. 

“This old man came in, in tatty clothing, and a really tatty sweater with all the elbows falling apart and I thought he was the gardener. 

“He said ‘I'm looking for the head chef’.

“I said ‘Just a moment, I'll go look for him for you.’ So I went off into the larder and I found the chef.  

“I said ‘Chef, the gardener is looking for you’. He said ‘The garden at this time of night?’

“We walked back into the kitchen together, and the head chef said ‘Good Evening Your Royal Highness,’ and I suddenly realised it was Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. 

“After that he came into the kitchen, four or five times a week. He'd often come in and just discuss the barbecue, he loved to cook, and cook on the grill.”

Prince Philip passed away earlier this month at the age of 99, and his funeral was held on Saturday at St George's Chapel.

Darren praised Philip’s taste for unusual food, and said: “Normally the Queen would be the one that chose the menus for the two of them for dinner, but I think he liked it when he got to choose the main use for his private dinner parties when he was with friends. 

“He always went for the weird and crazy and different foods.

“He would just think a steak was boring, he'd say ‘lets have hare or partridge’, all of these different game from the estate.

“Even at breakfast, he would think just eggs and bacon were boring, he loved it when you put smoked haddock kedgeree or devil kidneys on the menu.”

And Philip wasn’t afraid of telling Darren exactly how he liked his food prepared. 

The former royal chef recalled: “Once at Sandringham, we had mango Melba on the menu for royal dinner. 

“When the Duke came into the kitchen and I was just peeling and slicing the mangoes, and he just stood there and said ‘that's not the proper way to peel a mango.’

“And then he came over and gave me a mango and scooped around the edges and did the same, the other side around the stone.

“And he was so excited he was so proud that he’d actually shown the chefs the proper way to do a mango.”

Darren said that Philip is “cheeky like Prince Harry”, and said: “I glanced across into the fruit cupboard one day at Balmoral Castle. 

“I saw someone in there, I could just see his back and I shouted across through the window ‘Hello, can I help you?’

“Then I realised it was the Duke and he just stuck his head around. I said, ‘Oh, I'm sorry, Your Royal Highness,  I thought someone was stealing the fruit’ but he just looked back smiled and said, ‘Well, I am’.

“One Christmas he came into the kitchen and I was getting the Christmas cakes ready for afternoon tea. 

“He looked at the cake and I'd done a 1990 in big bold letters across the top and in the bottom right corner I wrote ‘tyre’ in the corner.

“He said, ‘what does tyre mean?’ and I said ‘Oh it was a Good Year’.

“He was still laughing when he walked out the door”.

Darren added that Prince Philip “loved his IPAs, even at banquets”, and finished off his video saying: “Your Highness. Thank you for the years of happy memories.”

Covid restrictions meant the monarch, 95, on Saturday could not be comforted inside St George’s Chapel at Windsor as she paid a final farewell to Prince Philip.

Philip's immediate family - including the Queen, Princess Anne, Prince Charles, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward - were top the list of mourners.

All of the duke's grandchildren and their spouses - including William, Harry, Eugenie and Beatrice - also attended.

Three of Philip's German relatives - Bernhard, the Hereditary Prince of Baden; Donatus, Prince and Landgrave of Hesse; and Prince Philipp of Hohenlohe-Langenburg - were among the attendees.

In more Royal Family news, Princes William & Harry 'relaxed in moment of unity' as they chatted at Philip's funeral, a body language expert said.

And this is the adorable nickname Prince Philip’s mum used in loving letters to the Duke revealed – and it will melt your heart.

Plus the Royal Family paid heartwarming tribute to Prince Philip as they revealed the ‘unique touches’ Duke planned for his funeral.

Prince Philip funeral- Scots piper plays the Lament at Duke of Edinburgh's funeral

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