The Royal Family can only eat cake in this way, former butler explains - and it's put us all to shame

As Great British Bake Off returns, former royal butler unpicks how the Royal Family eats cake

King Charles cutting cake
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Royal Family has strict rules to follow when it comes to eating cake - and their former royal butler says it will stop you looking like a 'hungry hippo'.

The Great British Bake Off is back with a new set of contestants and while many of us cannot resist baking along at home following some of the tastiest Great British Bake Off recipes, eating cake as a royal, it seems, is much more complex.

Former royal butler Grant Harrold has lifted the lid on how the royal family traditionally eats cake - and it's not as easy as you'd think.

Speaking on behalf of Slingo, Grant explains why royals 'always' cut cake into smaller pieces, he said, "It’s always quite a good idea to have a cake pre-sliced into smaller pieces, don’t go and give big chunks, it’s not some sort of takeaway or fast food, it’s meant to be a delicate meal. You should always take little mouthfuls, after all we are not hungry hippos."

Sophie, Countess of Wessex, President of Girlguiding, eats a Brownies 100th birthday cupcake as she visits 5th Frimley Brownies

(Image credit: Getty Images)

But when it comes to afternoon tea, the rules are a little more relaxed. He explained, “When eating your afternoon tea you should always start with the sandwiches, followed by the scones, moving on to the cakes, while cake should be eaten using a fork, sandwiches in afternoon tea can be eaten with your fingers, they are called finger sandwiches after all.”

And if royals are eating with guests they must offer their visitors something to eat first and always eat with a napkin and fork.

Grant advised, "Always make sure there are napkins and forks because everybody, including Royals, should use a napkin and fork and try not to eat it all in one."

Princess Diana eating cake with a fork

(Image credit: Getty Images)

“When it comes to pastries, always offer to your guests first, it doesn’t matter how hungry you may be or how many pastries are sitting on the plate, etiquette is making sure everyone has a chance to claim a baked good before the host.”

Meanwhile, if you're wondering what kind of cakes might be on the royal menu, Grant teased, "The Royal Family are more into the traditional cakes, it’s well known that the King is fond of fruit cake. The King doesn’t have a particularly big sweet tooth but it's likely afternoon tea and cake are a part of that. 

"Queen Elizabeth II was known to be fond of a chocolate biscuit cake and was reported to take a small slice every day with her tea, until the cake was finished, and then she'd start on a fresh one,” he added.

In other royal news, Prince William and Harry’s first baby meals revealed by royal chef, and they’re so easy to make at home (ready in 3 minutes!) and Prince George is ‘obsessed’ with this homegrown treat and Kate Middleton has to 'trade' in order to get it.

Selina Maycock
Senior Entertainment Writer

Selina is currently a Senior Entertainment Writer for, formerly Senior Entertainment writer for Woman&Home, and My Imperfect Life and has more than 16 years of experience in newspapers, magazines and online. She currently writes a mix of Entertainment news - including celebrity births, weddings and reality show line-ups including Strictly, Dancing On Ice and The Great British Bake Off, 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.