Royal protocol can be confusing, but we're breaking it down for you.
All eyes are on Meghan Markle this week as she makes her first trip abroad as the new Duchess of Sussex, traveling to Ireland alongside husband Prince Harry to fulfill duties and shake a lot of hands. In between official meetings and public greetings, however, Markle has made some time to enjoy meals and try local cuisine.
Apparently, the recently married royal couple decided to sit down for dinner at Delahunt, a Michelin-recognized restaurant dishing out modern Irish cuisine in a classic Victorian setting. Simon Perry, a contributing royals correspondent for Cooking Light's sister publication People magazine, shared via Twitter that the kitchen and staff at Delahunt were overjoyed to serve the duo earlier this morning. But Perry also shared tidbits about what the pair actually ate.
Apparently, the couple shared just a taste of renowned local Guinness beer, a great choice for anyone visiting Ireland—Prince Harry tucked into a plate of lamb chops, as well. But Markle opted for fresh hake, a soft and moist fish fillet that can be a substitute for cod, with a side of roasted potatoes.
If you've been following royal news recently, your knee-jerk reaction might be to believe that royal newbie Markle, having just tasted seafood, broke one of the most stringent protocols for royals traveling abroad. Apparently, you wouldn't be alone:
Fish, however, is not restricted from a royal's menu—shellfish, which is extremely delicate and can easily spoil or become contaminated without proper care, is purposefully restricted so that the royal family can avoid the risk of contracting foodborne illnesses.
Fish, including fresh cuts of white fish like hake and even rich salmon fillets, is actually one of the Queen's favorite foods, according to former royal chef Darren McGrady, who set the record straight in a CNN interview last year.
Adding more fish into your diet routine is pretty smart, actually. Seafood has many health benefits: it is chock full of heart-healthy omega 3-fatty acids to combat plaque build up, plus aids in brain development, combats inflammation as well as other autoimmune diseases.
Shellfish is just one of the many items that the royal cohort is asked to abstain from, especially while on official business. Recently, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, confirmed on a television appearance that royals, including Meghan Markle, are unable to eat any garlic for a very good (and pretty apparent) reason—bad breath.
But you shouldn't feel too bad for Meghan or for any other member of the royal family: It's our understanding that those in the royal family are able to enjoy any food they love to cook when they're not officially on the clock. Kate Middleton most likely uses a fair share of fresh garlic to cook her now signature roasted chicken in the privacy of her own home, whereas Markle is able to add garlic to her zucchini-based pasta sauce on her own time, too.