Daily Mirror cover: The Queen Eats a Rat! Queen Elizabeth eats gibnut, 1985
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March 21, 2022

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Ruben Campos,the health minister seen in back ground. Photo courtesy Eddie Joseph.


Escorted by Manuel Esquivel.


Governor General on the left was the late Dr. Dame Minita Gordon and the then PM Mr Esquivel. The BDF Officer turning his head appears to be Earl "Bob Amatique" Arthurs. Photo courtesy Eddie Joseph.


In Orange Walk. The Mayor of Orange Walk on Her Majestys visit was his Worship Fred Martinez. Photo courtesy Neddy Urbina.


My parents and I saw her when she visited Airport Camp. My dad worked for NAAFI at the time and they had asked if I would like to give the Queen flowers, which of course I did. My mom sewed a traditional Sri Lankan Lama saree for me to wear for the occasion Photo courtesy Dilhani Fernando.


The white head man with the dark shades is Howell OE Longsworth Sr, Ernest Burgos is the gentleman with his hand by his chin. The entrance to Belize City, the late Mayor Frank Lizama presented keys to the Queen. Photo courtesy Lalita Franceschini.


Emily Beer meeting her majesty on the same trip. Photo courtesy Emily Beer.


The man talking to the Queen is Mr. Ernest Burgos. Harold Fairweather in the middle. The person to the far right is Sergeant Major Clarke. Photo courtesy Lalita Franceschini.


Queen in Blue, October 1985. Photo courtesy Lalita Franceschini.


Cruz Silva is in front of Her Majesty The Queen. He was representing the Ex Servicemen League. The man just to the left of Cruz Silva is Clifford Robbins (British expat who had lived many years in Belize City). He was a Venture Scout Leader and Scout leader for St. Joseph School. Sgt. Joseph Ford is to the right of Queen. He lived in the Mesopotamia area across from Hon Godwin Hulse’s family at the corner of King and Euphrates. Captain Cruz Silva, Mr Clifford Robbins, Mr Burgos. In the rear there is Mr Christopher Shaw and Mr Lloyd Bennett. October 1985.


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Daily Mirror cover: "The Queen Eats a Rat!" Queen Elizabeth eats gibnut, 1985

Queen Elizabeth Politely Ate Rat Stew in Central America, Said It Tasted Like Rabbit

There are certain foods that Queen Elizabeth refuses to touch. For example, Her Majesty avoids garlic because of the stinky breath problem and doesn’t like starchy sides like pasta with her meals. She also insists on sandwiches with the sharp corners cut off during teatime.

Despite the queen’s very specific demands, she is adventurous when it comes to sampling new foods in foreign countries. As the representative for the United Kingdom she’s often required to sample local cuisine as a sign of respect for that culture.

Fresh fruits and gourmet entrees are delightful. However, at times Queen Elizabeth must try some truly exotic selections — like the time she ate rat stew or when she sampled a sea slug.

The queen once sampled rat stew in Belize while visiting Central America as the dish is a local delicacy there. Daily Mail reported that Her Majesty declared it tasted “like rabbit” and was perfectly happy to eat it alongside her hosts.

And even now the country benefits from the queen’s adventurous palate. Belize restaurants still advertise the dish as “Royal Rat” and “Rat eaten by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth” to help drum up business.


Gibnut is not a rat, this story is just one of the things that went viral because the gibnut is from the rodent family.

The Queen was provided with menus to choose from ahead of time and she selected the gibnut - it was not a surprise to her. The Gibnut meal was cleared with the queen's people before she was served Gibnut in Belize. Ray Lightburn was the chef.

Gibnut is sometimes known as bush rabbit, but certainly is not rat! It doesnt eat garbage, it eats from da bush. Much healthier to eat. I very much doubt if de queen would have been permitted to eat rat as u can pick up diseases fahn rats. Gibnut rocks!

It’s a tabloid. They live on scandal and untruths and stretching the facts. Reckless reporting. In any case it was great press for Belize.

Alan Usher: The Sun made fun of the Queen at Belize's expense. The menu was cleared by the Buckingham Palace months in advance. The editor is a silly little man looking for sensation.

Anna McNab: My son was barely 5 years old and we stood on the veranda of the then Chateau Caribbean while they has a ceremony at the park across the street then she walked in front of the Chateau. We were fortunate to have been in Belize at that time. My son still remembers he was that close to a queen!

Albert Avila: I understand she was given a menu and that was the dish she chose. Also, the Royal Family does lots of hunting in their privately owned forest and they eat some of the wildlife they catch.

Onesimo Pot: It made the news in England, so much so, that they had to print additional newspapers. The British know how to make things sensational.

Alexander Aguet: My grand Henry Fairweather always sat first on her right when she visited and the gibnaut was always from his farm. She ate it all. Everytime she came to Belize or some envoy would come they would get gibnut from my granddad and most were packed and taken back to England. How I know this my sister my mother and grandmother would do the packing.

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