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The 52p ingredient Buckingham Palace used to take Queen Elizabeth's humble sandwich filling to the next level

 Queen Elizabeth II during the garden party at Buckingham Palace on May 23, 2017 .
Queen Elizabeth II during the garden party at Buckingham Palace on May 23, 2017 .

There’s a 52p ingredient that Buckingham Palace reportedly used to take Queen Elizabeth’s humble sandwich filling to the next level.

They might live in magnificent royal residences like Clarence House and Bagshot Park, but the Royal Family’s mealtime preferences aren’t always as luxurious as we might imagine. Queen Camilla’s favourite comfort food is “fuss-free” and one of Queen Elizabeth’s favourite sandwich fillings is just as humble. The late monarch enjoyed afternoon tea as a tradition every single day, according to former royal chef Darren McGrady. This might sound very fancy but apparently simple cucumber sandwiches were part of the afternoon tea and these were reportedly served at a Buckingham Palace garden party attended by presenter Jenny Hanley.

Jenny once opened up during an appearance on Boom Radio about this party and revealed the 52p ingredient that the Palace used to elevate the cucumber sandwiches. As per The Mirror, the sandwiches had a touch of mint in them - and Jenny’s never forgotten how wonderful they were.

Queen Elizabeth II meets guests during a garden party at Buckingham Palace on May 19, 2016
Queen Elizabeth II meets guests during a garden party at Buckingham Palace on May 19, 2016

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“The most wonderful thing that happened at one of the Buckingham Palace garden parties that I was lucky enough to go to was not the fact of the scones but the cucumber sandwiches,” she said. “They may be a joke to some people, but when you've had a cucumber sandwich out on the grass at the back of Buckingham Palace and the sun is shining and there's mint in it, then you know you've made it!"

This special - not to mention very affordable - herb addition that the Palace supposedly used is something that has inspired Jenny ever since, as she declared, “I will never make a cucumber sandwich without chopped mint in it again."

The royal afternoon tea sandwiches are said to have been made from white bread with only a “dash” of mint on the cucumber and a pinch of black pepper.

Cucumber sandwiches on a plate
Cucumber sandwiches on a plate

Many of us probably won’t have considered adding mint into cucumber sandwiches before, but since you can pick up a packet for as little as 52p from retailers like Sainsbury’s and Tesco you might be tempted to try it for any spring/summer events and picnics you’ve got in the calendar. It’s a refreshing herb that you can also put to good use in a range of other food and drink recipes if you’re entertaining - including the good old British classic, Pimm’s.

Royal Garden Parties are held annually at Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Scotland, though Queen Elizabeth apparently never missed out on afternoon tea behind closed doors either. Former royal chef Darren McGrady previously told The Telegraph that Her Majesty used to also love jam sandwiches cut into the shape of pennies. She also apparently used to be served a selection of sweet treats for afternoon tea.

Queen Elizabeth II takes a tea break with hospital staff during her visit to Manchester Royal Infirmary
Queen Elizabeth II takes a tea break with hospital staff during her visit to Manchester Royal Infirmary

“Every day, she would have what we called a 'cut cake’ - meaning she would cut a slice of it off – small cakes like eclairs or raspberry tartlets, and then scones: one day plain, the next day fruit,” he claimed.

One cake that apparently always got finished without fail was chocolate biscuit cake which Prince William and the Princess of Wales also had at their wedding.

“I’ve even known chefs drive to Windsor carrying the Queen’s chocolate biscuit cake, because she was going to be there for the weekend and it hadn’t been finished,” Darren said. “She loved that cake. So if there was some left, she’d have it brought to Windsor.”