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Princess Diana sought to give her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry as normal of a life as she could. Donned the ‘People’s Princess,’ it’s not surprising to hear that Princess Di was one of the most down-to-earth royals in British history. Still, many would be surprised to discover that Princess Diana was so down-to-earth one of her favorite places when in London was actually the fast-food chain, McDonalds. Her and her sons would have very-American inspired Saturday nights that included watching Blind Date and eating Happy Meals and possibly the long-forgotten McPizza.
Despite the glitz and glamour, being a member of the British royal family is no easy feat. Even marrying into the royal family requires that one follows certain rules, expectations, traditions, and customs- no matter how stringent and a bit bizarre. For example, according to the Royal Marriages Act of 1772, royal descendants must get the Queen’s approval before proposing marriage to anyone. Royals are also not allowed to eat shrimp amongst a variety of other foods.
So, when Prince Charles announced his engagement to a then 20-year-old Diana Spencer in 1981, the public became infatuated by this relatable new member of the royal family. Princess Diana brought a sense of normalcy to the royal family by breaking royal protocol and pretty much just being unapologetically herself. One of the most notable ways she broke with protocol is in the way she chose to raise her children, Prince William and Prince Harry. From the moment her sons were born, Princess Diana took control. For example, she picked the names of her sons herself. Prince Charles actually wanted to name William and Harry, Arthur and Albert to which Princess Diana reacted with simply, “No. Too old!” She was also the first royal to ever give birth to a future monarch outside of the home. In a way, paving the way for both Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle to select where they wanted to give birth.
She was a very hands-on mom, putting her kids first, traveling with them. Queen Elizabeth never traveled with her children. The modern Princess even took them to Disney World in the states- such a cool mom!
Princess Di would even take her sons to McDonalds- we feel pretty confident in saying that has got to be a first for any member of the British royal family, nonetheless the future King of England. Former royal chef, Darren McGrady, who worked for the Queen for 11 years and Diana for 4 told Marie Claire that Princess Diana would often take her boys to the fast-food chain. “I remember the Princess came into the kitchen one day and said, ‘Cancel lunch for the boys I’m taking them out, we’re going to McDonald’s,’ McGrady said.
Princess Diana, Prince Harry and Prince William would visit their local McDonalds branch which happened to be on the very posh Kensington High Street– by far one of the nicest McDonalds in the world as its located in one of the wealthiest areas in London.
So, what was their order?
Like McGrady, Princess Diana’s butler, Paul Burrell also confirmed that the trio would frequent the fast-food chain and gave some further insight into their order and their intimate Saturday-night-ins, “Diana would take her boys to McDonald’s for a Big Mac and fries. The three would stop to visit their local McDonalds on Saturday nights before coming home and watching Bling Date” said Burrell. “All three of them would squat on this massive, stuffed hippopotamus Diana had in her sitting room. They loved ‘Blind Date’ and you’d hear them all screaming things like ‘Oh don’t pick him!’” said Burrell. Sounds like a pretty classic American Saturday if you ask us! It’s no wonder Prince Harry chose to relocate to California- Meghan Markle did not have all to do with his move to Los Angeles.
McGrady, who spoke with Marie Claire back in 2017 told the publication, “Yeah, the boys loved McDonald’s, and going out [for] pizza and having potato skins —sort of the American foods.” When we read this quote, we couldn’t help but to wonder if the Princess and her sons ever ordered the long-forgotten McPizza.
Many would be too young to remember the obscure experiment which began in the mid-1980’s when McDonalds began selling pizzas. The McPizza, which we discovered thanks to the podcast, Whatever Happened to Pizza at McDonald’s, is a long discontinued item on the McDonalds menu. We spoke with Brian Thompson, host of the Whatever Happened to Pizza at McDonald’s, who helped to shed some light on the whole McPizza ordeal. We asked Thompson if he believes McDonalds offered their pizza in the UK, Thompson said, “Yes, McDonald’s did serve pizza in the UK for a brief time in the mid-1990s…. Uncharacteristically, McDonald’s has some official comment on the matter on their UK website,” Thompson told us before sharing the link. After checking out the McDonald’s site we learned that the fast-food giant was indeed testing 3 flavors in the U.K. including: Cheese, Cheese & Pepperoni and the Deluxe (cheese, green pepper, onion, pepperoni and more). In the U.K. the pizzas were 8-inch, “individual” style, cut into 4 slices whereas in the United States and Canada the pizzas were much larger at 8 slices. Although it is unclear if the Kensington High Street location was one of the few that served the pizza, Thompson believes it’s a possibility as London was one of the primary markets, “I do not know how widespread it was, but it stands to reason London was one of the primary markets,” he told us.
Its likely that the trio ordered the pizza from McDonalds, however, Prince William and Prince Harry were also big fans of the Happy Meal, when McGrady first heard that Princess Diana was taking the kids to McDonalds he reacted in the same way any private chef probably would, “Oh my God your royal highness, I can do that, I can do burgers.’ To which Princess Diana responded with, “No, the boys want a Happy Meal and the free toy!”
Towards the end of her marriage and after receiving incredible scrutiny from the royal family and being constantly followed by the media, Princess Diana would often rely on her sons for support. Sources close to the Princess confirmed that she truly treasured her time with William and Harry. Diana’s biographer Andrew Morton told Fox News, “As the boys got older and became like her counselors and friends as sons, she began to enjoy life a lot more,” Morton told the publication. “She was the only one who could criticize those two. Of course, she indulged them… She wanted to be a full hands-on parent herself. And interestingly, Prince William recently said the same about his own children… He wants them to enjoy a relatively normal upbringing” Morton was quoted as saying. And that included, of course, the occasional big mac, potato skins and (possibly) McPizza.
And in case you were wondering Thompson has tracked down the very last place in the world where you can still order a McPizza and it happens to be in Pomeroy, Ohio. If you are wondering what it could possibly taste like, well, Thompson described it as “at least as good as Little Caesars.”
Do you remember the McPizza? Did you try it? Let us know in the comments!