"The day I met the Queen"

Getting to meet royalty is something that is a once in a lifetime experience. 

For chef Anna Gare, this moment came when Queen Elizabeth II came to Australia for her royal tour. Anna was asked to cook at the Great Australian BBQ on the Queen's last day touring Oz and here, she shares with LifeStyle how she prepared and how the Queen even requested a jar of her marmalade!

From the start

"I have collected lots of fun royal paraphernalia over the years, I have a great retro tray of a young Queen Elizabeth hanging in my kitchen - I love it!  As a huge fan of the Queen you can only imagine how honoured, nervous and excited I was to be meeting in real life and be the chosen cook for her stop."

In preparation

"I wasn't sent any instructions, so the very first thing I did was Google the correct formal address etiquette for meeting the Queen. I practised my curtsy and then raced out and purchased myself a beautiful Leona Edmiston frock. I chose a beautiful floral number with pale blue and pink flowers that I thought her majesty the Queen would love. I do like to dress accordingly for a special guest and occasion!

"I had the news come and do a story on me the night before about what I was going to cook for the Queen. I boasted about giving her a gift of my very best - a jar of red onion marmalade. But, after it went to air I received a phone call alerting me it was not appropriate to feed the Queen! Whoops! Just like in the Downton Abbey movie, she has her own chefs no doubt for security reasons."

Anna Gare and Queen Elizabeth

Meeting the Queen 

"It felt very surreal to see Queen Elizabeth in person, she looked smaller in real life and as she approached me I felt really quite nervous. All of a sudden, I was worrying about which leg goes behind which when I curtsy? I had also read that one must wait for the Queen to lead the conversation! I was aware that being nervous and naturally a chatty person could be a bad combination, So I found that a bit of a challenge!

"She asked about my Turkish sausages and how I cooked them and was interested in the young volunteers helping me. We chatted about kids and cooking and about what a wonderful food hero Jamie Oliver has been for Australia and in particular getting young boys into the kitchen."

Special request from the Queen 

"As Her Majesty approached my cooking station, a little lady came running up to me to let me know that the Queen had watched the news and she would love to accept my  onion marmalade - I was gutted as I had done as instructed and left it at home.

"So, I gave her my cook book instead of the marmalade. It was the second best thing I could give her as she now has my marmalade recipe in that book. I’m sure if she had made it - I would have had a love letter from her by now... I wish!"

For more royal stories, Downton Abbey (The Motion Picture) is out on Wednesday December 11 and available on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital.

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