So just as we thought she couldn't get any cooler, it turns out that short of pulling up at their drive through after high tea gets particularly rowdy, the Queen is as close to McDonald's as you can get. She owns one. Not one big mac, or one large combo, but one entire branch of McDonald's.
The Queen’s £13 billion property portfolio is certainly an impressive one. On top of the royal palaces historically owned by the monarchy, her assets include thousands of hectares of forests, Ascot race course (a notable favourite of Her Majesty) and even the off-shore wind farms which her husband Prince Philip famously branded ‘absolutely useless.’ These are managed by the Crown Estate, and turn in a profit to Britain’s Treasury (rather than lining the pockets of the royals per se).
As well as being lucrative, Elizabeth II’s clutch of real estate is definitely eclectic, ranging from the Savoy Estate – which includes the famous Hotel – and London’s Regent Street to a humble branch of McDonald’s. You read that correctly: the Queen is technically the proud owner of an outlet of the world’s biggest fast food brand, as pointed out by Business Insider.
The branch in question is found at the Banbury Gateway Shopping Park in Oxfordshire, which sits on land owned by the Crown Estate. The shopping centre features, among other retail hotspots, a Marks & Spencer and a Primark.
This isn’t even the first McDonald’s to become part of Her Majesty’s property empire. In 2008, the Crown Estate acquired Slough’s Bath Road Retail Park, which included a drive-through outlet of the fast food chain, though the land was sold last year for £177 million.
While it’s difficult to imagine the Queen frequenting McDonald’s on the regular, her grandsons were certainly fans of the chain – and the classic Happy Meal gift – as youngsters. Speaking to US Marie Claire, former royal chef Darren McGrady reminisced: ‘I remember the Princess [Diana] came into the kitchen one day and said, “Cancel lunch for the boys, I’m taking them out, we’re going to McDonald’s… It’s the toy they want.”
‘The boys loved McDonald’s, and going out to pizza, and having potato skins – sort of the American foods,’ he added. ‘They were royal princes but had children’s palates.’
No word yet on how Prince George feels about Big Macs, but we’ll keep you posted.