Grilling and barbecuing are activities that have been enjoyed by people from all walks of life for centuries. From backyard cookouts to grand feasts fit for royalty, there is something special about cooking and eating outdoors that brings people together. Today marks the coronation of Prince Charles as the King of the United Kingdom, and as he celebrates this momentous occasion, we can't help but wonder if he might be firing up the grill afterward. After cooking and barbecuing are activities enjoyed by people from all walks of life, including royalty. Let's see which royals were known to barbecue!
1. Henry VIII
While it's difficult to know for certain what specific foods Henry VIII enjoyed grilling, the Tudor monarch was known for his love of feasting and outdoor entertainment. During his reign, he hosted many elaborate banquets and feasts, some of which were likely cooked over an open flame. In fact, one of the earliest recorded instances of a barbecue in England is said to have taken place during Henry VIII's reign in 1520. The event, known as the Field of the Cloth of Gold, was a grand diplomatic meeting between Henry and Francis I of France. During the event, both kings reportedly held lavish feasts and banquets for their guests, which likely included grilled meats and other dishes. While we can't say for sure whether Henry VIII was a skilled griller himself, it's clear that he appreciated good food and was willing to go to great lengths to entertain his guests. In fact, he had a special kitchen built at Hampton Court Palace just for that purpose. This kitchen featured large fireplaces, grills, and roasting spits that could be used to cook large quantities of meat at once.
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, her husband, were known for their love of outdoor activities, including grilling and barbecuing. In fact, they were known to have held several outdoor feasts where they cooked and served grilled meats and other dishes to their guests. One particularly memorable occasion was a barbecue they hosted in 1856 at Osborne House, their summer residence on the Isle of Wight. The event was attended by a large number of guests, including members of the royal family and other dignitaries. According to accounts of the time, the queen and prince were actively involved in the preparations for the barbecue and personally supervised the cooking of the meats over the open flame. This event was said to be a great success and is now remembered as one of the many examples of the couple's love for outdoor cooking and entertaining.
3. Napoleon III
Napoleon III, the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, was an enthusiastic griller and host. During his reign as Emperor of France from 1852 to 1870, he hosted many lavish outdoor parties, including barbecues. In fact, he is said to have built a large outdoor kitchen at his summer residence in Biarritz specifically for the purpose of grilling and cooking outdoors. This kitchen featured a large grill, a spit for roasting meats, and other cooking equipment. Napoleon III was particularly fond of grilling seafood, which he served to his guests at his outdoor feasts. He is also known to have introduced many new culinary dishes and innovations during his reign, including the famous beef dish, steak tartare. His love of grilling and entertaining continues to be celebrated in France and is remembered as a defining feature of his reign.
Emperor Meiji, the 122nd Emperor of Japan who ruled from 1867 until his death in 1912, was known for his love of yakiniku, a popular Japanese style of grilling meat. Emperor Meiji was said to be particularly fond of beef and enjoyed grilling it along with vegetables over a charcoal fire. He was known to have hosted many outdoor feasts and barbecues for his guests, which included members of the royal family and other dignitaries. Emperor Meiji's love of yakiniku has continued to be celebrated in Japan, and it is now considered one of the country's most popular culinary traditions. The Emperor's preference for grilling and outdoor cooking has also influenced the Japanese barbecue culture, which is now an important part of Japanese cuisine and a favorite pastime of many Japanese people.
5. Manuel II
King Manuel II of Portugal was known for his love of hunting and outdoor activities, including grilling. He often hosted outdoor barbecues and feasts for his family and friends, where he would grill game meats such as wild boar and venison over an open flame. As a monarch, King Manuel II had a keen interest in the traditional customs and cultural heritage of Portugal, and his love of grilling and hunting was a way for him to connect with these traditions. Despite his short reign, King Manuel II was able to enjoy many outdoor barbecues and feasts during his time as king, which were often seen as opportunities to gather with loved ones and enjoy the simple pleasures of life.
As you can see, grilling and barbecuing have been enjoyed by royals from all over the world. Whether it's a simple backyard cookout or a grand feast fit for a king or queen, there's something special about cooking and eating outdoors that brings people together. So next time you fire up the grill, remember that you're part of a long and noble tradition of outdoor cooking that spans centuries and continents.