8 Reasons Why the Queen Is the Ultimate Thrifty Grandma
She may have millions, but the Queen likes to keep her pennies close
Queen Elizabeth may be one of the world’s wealthiest women, but she loves saving a pound or two.
Over the years, the monarch’s thrifty ways have become somewhat notorious, amid tales of her insistence on repairing things rather than replacing them, warming the palace with a tiny space heater and dining on cereal for breakfast.
It makes sense: Before she was the Queen, Princess Elizabeth grew up during the Great Depression with World War II as the backdrop of her teenage years. Like many of her generation, she was tremendously shaped by the tumultuous period. Even from within the palace walls, it touched her: She used ration coupons to make her wedding dress.
Here are just a few of the ways the Queen keeps her costs down.
1. She uses an electric space heater at Buckingham Palace.
When you live in palace, your heating bills get, well, pretty palatial. The Queen combats this with the use of an electric bar in her fireplace, which was shown off in a Feb. 21 photograph. It wouldn’t give off much heat within the drafty walls, but it’s good enough for Her Majesty.
2. She mends things, rather than replacing.
Okay, she doesn’t mend items like curtains and bedsheets herself, but she does have someone do it for her, according to the Express. When the fabrics fray, the monarch simply sends them out for repairs rather than investing in new ones. And when the wallpaper starts peeling? She simply asks that it’s patched up with wallpaper they have lying around — and it’s thought to date back to the time of Queen Victoria’s reign.
3. She grocery shops.
Well, at least, she’s been to a grocery store. The Queen made an appearance at Waitrose, a U.K. supermarket, for an event in October 2016. Admittedly, she looked pretty out of place. But that isn’t her only grocery experience: She had the palace switch Christmas pudding suppliers from the upscale London department store Harrods to much more affordable grocery store Tesco.
4. She keeps her breakfast simple.
Though she could no doubt afford to have one of the (many) chefs at her disposal make her pancakes and French toast on a daily basis, the Queen chooses a more simple meal for her breakfast: cornflakes. And, of course, a cup of tea. She even keeps the cornflakes stored in tupperware containers to prolong their life before getting stale.
5. She wears outfits again and again.
In the Queen’s closet, every outfit is worthy of a rewear. The yellow suit she wore to Prince William and Princess Kate’s 2011 wedding made a later appearance during a visit to Australia — and that’s just one of several outfits she has recycled.
But her signature colorful suits haven’t lasted as long as her handbags, some of which date back 30 or 40 years, according to Phil Dampier, co-author of What’s In The Queen’s Handbag And Other Royal Secrets.
6. She sent a garnish back to the kitchen to be used again.
According to former royal chef Darren McGrady, the Queen is such a spendthrift that she once sent an untouched lemon garnish back to the kitchen, saying they could use it again.
7. She saves wrapping paper.
Yes, she’s a record-breaking monarch, but the Queen is truly just like the rest of our grandmothers:“After Christmas, Elizabeth would collect up the wrapping paper and ribbons and would smooth them out to be saved,” author Kate Williams wrote in Young Elizabeth: The Making of Our Queen. “It is a habit that continues to this day.”
8. She gives low-key gifts.
The Queen gives incredibly simple gifts — think household items like an ironing board, which the Express reported she gave her daughter Princess Anne one year. (Wait, Anne does her own ironing?)