The common household chore that divides families - and how the late Queen settled the debate

An anecdote to the late Queen Elizabeth II has been shared and it's so relatable

The Queen smiling
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It turns out that the late Queen Elizabeth II had a preference for this household chore, and families can relate.

Fond memories of the late Majesty have been shared on what marks the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's death. The late Queen had a long life before her passing aged 96 and aside from members of the Royal Family paying tribute, the former royal press secretary Dickie Arbiter has shared a disagreement he encountered during a picnic with the Queen, Prince Philip and a lady-in-waiting.

Speaking in his column on, Mr Arbiter recalled, "For the life of me I do not remember the lunch conversation, but I do remember the Queen saying we had to clear up and leave the place spotless.

"Taking that as my cue as the newbie, I started to wash up. Hearing a footfall behind me and thinking it was the lady-in-waiting coming to give a hand, I said casually over my shoulder, "OK. I'll wash, you dry."

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Mr Arbiter continued, "A familiar voice said quite firmly, "No, I'll wash, you dry." With that, HM plunged her hands – no rubber gloves for her – into the soapy water and I dried, chatting away like we had known each other for years."

Most families will be able to relate to arguing with their other half or their children over who does the washing up and who dries the pots.

Writers note: Hands up if, like me, the hot bubble-filled water always seemed more appealing than clutching a damp tea towel. It always feels like less of a chore too. After all, as the washer, once you'd washed, you only had to put the dishes on the drainer at the side. Whereas the drier suffered the time-stealing hunt around for the right cupboard or drawer to make sure the items went back in the correct place. And by finishing first, the washer could dash to the sofa and grab the TV remote for first dibs on what everyone is watching.

Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II, right), helps with the washing up at a Girl Guides camp at Windsor, Berkshire, 25th July 1944. The princess is Patrol Leader of the Buckingham Palace company of guides

Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II, right), helps with the washing up at a Girl Guides camp at Windsor, Berkshire, 25th July 1944

(Image credit: Getty Images)

And if you're wondering why the Queen might have preferred to wash up than dry, it's possibly after her many years experience having to do the dishes at Girl Guides where a young Princess Elizabeth (pictured on the right) can be seen with a tea towel in her hands wiping the dishes dry.

And in our opinion, the late Queen definitely chose the better end of the bargain.

Looking for more family news? You might enjoy the one phrase that saved my marriage and helped me to ease the mental load or six settling-in ideas to try from the Five Minute Mum.

Selina Maycock
Senior Entertainment Writer

Selina is currently a Senior Entertainment Writer for, formerly Senior Entertainment writer for Woman&Home, and My Imperfect Life with more than 16 years of experience in newspapers and magazines. She currently writes a mix of Entertainment news - including celebrity births, weddings, reporting the the latest news about the Royal kids Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet as well as Family news stories from baby names to store closures and product recall warnings. Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand. When she's not interviewing celebrities you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories.