By appointment to HM ER II…er, grazia

What would you expect to eat at an audience with Her Majesty the Queen? Dainty cucumber sandwiches sans crusts and tea sipped from bone china cups? A mini pork pie dabbed with Keen’s mustard and accompanied by a glass of sweet sherry? A full sit-down meal, each course requiring a different knife and presented under a silver cloche that’s unveiled by a suited waiter at the table? All of the above?

If so, you’d be disappointed. Apparently the Queen has moved with the times when it comes to grub. Either that or she too is feeling the pinch of the credit crunch. I say this having just read the would-be ‘society’ pages of my guilty pleasure, Grazia. The nibbles reportedly served at the palace for the British Clothing Industry Reception were, for me, just above roast Corgi on the list of Unexpected Things That The Queen Would Serve You. You won’t believe what the guests were treated to unless you secretly read Grazia too or you were at the reception yourself.

I quote: ‘Doritos! From a bowl on the piano, but Doritos nonetheless.’ Exclamation mark warranted, Grazia. But I’m afraid I take issue with the second sentence, which makes the attendees sound like they were excited by the actual crisps but just upset they weren’t spoon-fed to them as they reclined on pouffes. For a bowl of Doritos, I would have stayed at home.

Has Liz lost her mind? Are palace events now sponsored by Doritos? What gustatory sands are shifting over at 41 Buckingham Palace Road? And why just the one lonely bowl? Did all the guests huddle round the piano, hoovering up the Doritos and licking the lurid orange dust from their fingers to stave off hunger? Did the ushers come round with one of those huge bags of Doritos and toss a few more in the direction of the empty bowl? Did the Queen tuck in too? Did the palace even stretch to salsa?

I sense a business opportunity here. I’m sure even a quarter-decent caterer could rustle up a more honourable spread on Her Majesty’s service. They could even theme it: a bunch of Coronation chicken canapés here, a couple of Victoria sponges there, or perhaps steaks Diane followed by some cherries Jubilee. They could use an events planner too, who could at the very least order a table for the food and save the piano from sticky fingers.

Perhaps, however, the Queen is smarter than I give her credit for. She’s probably thought it through and decided there’s no point in serving food to a roomful of people who feast through their eyes rather than their mouths. In the best case scenario, they’d ask the waiter to hold the mayo, causing kitchen chaos; in the worst, they’d hide finger food about their person until they got to the bathroom. Thinking about it, a bowl of Doritos shared between the whole room was probably the best meal those fashionistas had had in ages.var 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