We asked the Queen's former chef what Prince Harry was like as a kid, and the stories suggest he was just as mischievous as you'd imagine

(Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
  • Prince Harry is arguably the most popular member of the British royal family.
  • His royal wedding to Meghan Markle on Saturday May 19 provides the perfect opportunity to reflect on times past.
  • Business Insider spoke to the Queen’s former chef Darren McGrady.
  • McGrady had plenty of stories to share about Prince Harry tearing around Kensington Palace – and the mischievous things he used to get up to.

Prince Harry, arguably the most popular member of the British royal family, will marry his US actress fiancée Meghan Markle this Saturday May 19.

To say that the royal occasion is eagerly anticipated by the public, both at home and abroad, is an understatement – billions of viewers are expected to tune in for the affair around the world.

As with all rites of passage, the wedding provides the perfect opportunity to reflect on times past for the prince.

Business Insider did just that with the Queen’s former royal chef Darren McGrady, who worked for Queen Elizabeth II, Diana, Princess of Wales, and Princes William and Harry for 15 years.

To celebrate the royal wedding, McGrady has teamed up with Kellogg’s – the brand that makes the Queen’s favourite cereal Special K – to curate a royal-worthy menu of dishes inspired by his time spent serving the royals that will be served at a breakfast party at Kellogg’s NYC on the day.

McGrady has previously revealed a number of intriguing eating habits of the royals in interviews – like how the one thing Her Majesty can’t bear is garlic or strong onion flavours in dishes, or how she’d take her breakfast items from Tupperware containers, like any other commoner.

This time, the royal chef went into some detail about what Harry was like as a boy tearing around Kensington Palace – and his anecdotes depicting a young mischievous Prince Harry are pretty adorable.

“The naughty one with the big smile”

“Harry was lots of fun,” McGrady told Business Insider. “He was always around the kitchen, the naughty one with a big smile.”

McGrady said he used to bake the young prince a caramel banana cake for when he got home from school.

It’s no secret that Wills and Harry, who he describes as “royal princes but with children’s’ palates,” were partial to the odd bit of fast food. American-style foods like loaded potato skins, baby-back BBQ ribs, and pizza were apparently among Harry’s firm favourites. Princess Diana would take them down to Sticky Fingers near Kensington High Street for a treat, McGrady says.

But their nannies at Kensington Palace – who used to decide on the Princes’ menu – were not always as keen to indulge the boys with their favourite foods, often opting for traditional roast meat and vegetables instead, with lots of healthy greens like broccoli and cabbage.

“One evening roast chicken was on the menu,” McGrady said. “And I found a note on the desk that read ‘Darren please give the boys pizza’ signed Jess, the name of the nanny.

“But it was written in 10-year-olds’ handwriting,” he continued, explaining that he soon realised it was Harry attempting to pick his own menu.

McGrady said he didn’t make the boys pizza that night and made sure they got the original chicken option “because he was too scared of the nanny,” but kept the note to tease Harry about it.

His playful side stayed with him into adolescence, when he earned a reputation as a party boy…

…And well into adult life.

Invictus Getty/Chris JacksonPrince Harry teases a girl sitting next to him who had been stealing his popcorn while he pretended not to notice — his joking around with her won him even more hearts.

An inquisitive child

Harry was also a very inquisitive little boy, according to McGrady. “He used to come into the kitchen all the time. One time I was making [spaghetti bolognese] and I had a big copper pan of boiling water.

“I was talking to William and Harry came into the kitchen, when I turned around I realised Harry had hold of the pan’s handle to see what was for dinner. I had to sprint across the across the room shouting [in order] to stop him.”

On Saturday, Harry and Meghan are breaking with tradition and, instead of having a seating plan or sit-down meal, are opting for “bowl food.”McGrady says: “It’s a very trendy decision, typical of Meghan who is a real foodie.”

The bowls will offer a chance to show off her love of health foods like grains, quinoa, and pulses, he says, but there could also be bowls of cottage and shepherd’s pie – another of Harry’s favourite dishes.

For those unfamiliar with shepherd’s pie, it’s a traditional British dish of minced meat topped with layered mash potato, baked in the oven – although if it’s served on May 19, it will probably look a bit fancier than this.

Shepherds pieShutterstock/NADKIShepherd’s pie.

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