The Royals have hung out the “Help wanted” sign. That's right, they're hiring. Early last fall, Duchess Katherine announced she was expecting her third child, and in November, Meghan Markle became engaged to Prince Harry. With these new family members comes the need for new royal aides, such a new nanny and personal secretary. Actually, with a staff of over 1000. the Queen is always looking for a few good people.
But, before you polish your resume, there are some things you should know. First and foremost, working for the royals will not necessarily cause an uptick in your own spending. Although some positions in the upper household, IT, and finance pay well, most palace jobs offer more of a social brag than a full money bag. Oh, and about that…quiet and discretion is key to this job. You can’t complain to your cousin Cora about how many paper towels Duchess Kate wastes. Still want in?
You should be warned about the rules and regulations of working with royalty. Did you know that in addition to changing the newest royal baby’s diaper (cloth at that!) you might also be asked to walk Lupo the dog? And, how do you feel about forgoing shrimp scampi and longs visits with your family (more on that below)?
There’s more, and we’re here to fill you in. So, before you book a one-way flight and accept that you’ll be wearing the butler “penguin suit” or do the dour brown nanny gown, read up to get the lowdown of working for the Royals.
15 The Current Situation—The Royal Staffing Shake-up
Prince Harry with Ed Lane Fox
Life is ever so dramatic in the royal family, as recently indicated by what is being called “Operation Handover”.
Queen Elizabeth isn’t getting any younger, and last year, at the age of 96, Prince Phillip retired from public duty. So, unless someone figures out a way to get these already hardy people to live forever, there will be a changing of the guard (pun intended) sometime in the near future. As such, the Royal Family and their staff are seeing growing pains as the subtle shift begins within Buckingham Paces and other Royal households.
Last July, Sir Christopher, the Queen’s private secretary, was shown the door after discussions between the Queen and her son, the Prince of Wales. Shortly after, Princess Katherine’s private secretary Rebecca Deacon announced she was leaving her job. The staffing shake-up is being seen as the beginning of a new era that might yet see the Queen accepting the fact that Prince Charles will someday be king.
14 So, You Want To Work For The Royals? (You’re In Luck—They Are Hiring!)
Queen Elizabeth with butler Grant Harold
Currently, there are five open positions within The Royal Household. The jobs are in Buckingham Palace, St. James’s Palace, and Windsor Castle. If you’re looking for a summer gig, you can work at the retail store at Windsor Castle. If banquet planning is your background, hand in your application for the Events Co-Coordinator position. There’s even a job listed under the IT heading, for “3rd Line Service Desk Engineer”. The fancy description describes the position as “technical support, maintaining, and developing our IT systems for over 1700 users across all Royal residences”. I think that essentially means make sure the Queen’s got Wi-Fi is working when she’s ready to snap on Netflix and catch up on “The Crown”.
With the real crown changing heads sometime soon, and the addition of royal babies and a new fiancé joining the family, (Meghan Markle was recently assigned palace staffer Amy Pickerill) staffing will continue to grow.
13 Don't Do it For The Money (Royal Jobs Don't Always Pay)
Now for the bad news. Hanging with the Royals doesn’t always pay. I mean, I can’t say that Kate Middleton won’t hand you her Top Shop castoffs, but just because you work for a princess isn’t a guarantee you’re going to be able to afford to live like one. I know, you had envisioned the two of you in matching L.K. Bennett pumps, right?
Above, I described the Service Desk Engineer job. Don’t get ahead of yourself, thinking your mad tech skills are gonna earn you bank. The job is full time and pays about $34,000 a year. Thinking you’d like to polish the Queen’s vases? The 20-hour a week job pays $10,500 a year. Think there’s always money in the horse world, and are considering wrangling the Queen’s horses? The pay for that is about $20,000 a year.
If your aim is higher, look at jobs like Comptroller of the Lord Chamberlain’s office, Master of the Household, or The Queen’s private secretary- those jobs all start at approximately $162,000 a year.
12 A Job Qualification (You Must Be Smart)
Duchess Katherine with former aide Rebecca Deacon
Now that you’re ready to sell your Scion, drop out of college, and jump across the pond to work for the Royals, we should warn you. Finish school and bone up! Most royal aides aren’t just pretty faces who fasten diamond necklaces and shred private emails. They are highly educated, crafty individuals.
Sir Christopher, the Queen’s retired private secretary, was a former Army Intelligence Officer and Cambridge University graduate. And while Prince Harry’s private secretary, Edward lane Fox, does open his mail, at one time he served as a Captain in the Blue and Royals, doing stints in Bosnia and Iraq.
Rebecca Deacon, Duchess Kate’s former aide, graduated from Newcastle University and previously worked for Sentebale, Prince Harry’s HIV charity.
These days, Catherine Quinn holds the job as the private secretary for Duchess Kate. She was an associate dean for administration at the University of Oxford’s Saiid Business School. She holds an MBA from the same school, as well as degrees U.S. and UK universities.
11 Another Qualification (You Must Be Loyal. Or Fake It Till You Make It.)
Prince Charles with a nanny
Now that you’ve made the decision to work for the Royals, consider your intentions. Do you promise to be a faithful servant to The Crown? Or are you simply there to gather enough juicy gossipy pulp so you can write a book? Yeah, I thought so. Me too.
It wouldn’t be the first time it happened. Back in 1953, the Queen and Princess Margaret’s nanny, Marion Crawford “Crawfie”, wrote a tell-all book, The Little Princesses. and was shunned by the royal family. So treasonous was the book (in the Royals’ eyes) that the Queen and two princesses never spoke to her again.
Most readers say the book is not salacious but does give interesting historical tidbits.
More recently, Prince Charles fought and lost a battle to stop his former aid, Sarah Goodall, (once awarded the Victorian Order medal for loyalty and discretion) from publishing a book. Oops. The 320-page book entitled The Palace Diaries: The True Story of Life Behind the Palace Gates details Prince Charles’s splintering marriage to Princess Diana, and his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles.
10 One More Thing (You Must Multi-task)
Don’t think being a royal nanny will simply be a walk in the park with the baby (even if it is Kensington Gardens, pushing a $4000 Silver Cross across Kensington Garden).
Nannies, like moms, need to multi-task. Prince Charles’s nanny, Mabel Anderson, was often seen with Prince Charles, and several of the Queen’s Corgis in tow. In addition to providing fresh air, the nanny must engage the children in games and activities, and strive to provide the royal children with appropriate, diverse hobbies and activities. Exhausted yet? That’s not all.
The Royal nannies also help with the day-t-day scheduling of the nursery and help with travel arrangements, event planning, and the logistics of how the little Prince and princesses will get from Point A to Point B. As part of their training, nannies also receive training on proper nutrition and work in tandem with the parents and the household chef to plan nutritious meals.
9 Nannies Needed
As mentioned, the royal family is growing. Not only is Princess Katherine pregnant with her third child but consider the real possibility that the 36-year-old Meghan Markle might be trying to get pregnant after her May nuptials to Prince Harry.
Just last year, William and Kate hired a “super nanny” to help take care of Prince George and Princess Katherine. The new nanny is a qualified child behavior specialist who was brought in to work alongside the original nanny, Maria Borrallo. The Spanish native speaks six languages and talks to George and Charlotte in French and Spanish.
Now, before you write-up your resume, highlighting your years of babysitting service taking care of the Smith children every Saturday night, consider this. Royal nannies typically attend a “nanny school” such as Bath’s prestigious Norland College; it’s referred to as Harvard for English nannies.
This job is where the money is. Reportedly, the salary for the new nanny is $344,000. You can buy the L.K. Bennett’s—you’ll just have to get adept at chasing kids in them.
8 Looking For A Few Good Footmen
If you thought footmen were a thing of fiction, right out of Cinderella or a vestige of the early days of Queen Elizabeth’s tenure, you’d be wrong. Even though WWI and WW2 saw a decrease in fancy household staff, the Royals still employ butlers.
The last time the Queen hired a new trainee butler she was paying about $25, 000 a year. If that paltry sum doesn’t make you think twice about the line of work, wait until you hear this. While the Queen was throwing in the training, some butler placements in other fancy households expect you to come trained—and schooling doesn’t come cheap. Expect to pay anywhere from $10,000 for a four-week course to$18,000 for a ten-week course. Of course, this fee includes room, board, manicure set, pocket knife, pocket watch, shoe shine kit and wine bottle opener.
If all else fails, you can always impress the ladies with your super fresh shoe shine game.
7 Kiss Your Friends Goodbye (No Social Life For Royal Aides)
Do you have a life you love? Friends and family you enjoy kissing goodnight? Or maybe just family members you detest, but are obligated to see for a monthly dinner? Well then, working for royals might not be the job for you. You are never going to see anyone ever again.
Last summer, Duchess Kate’s aide, newly engaged, hit the road. Word was that she wanted to marry her fiancé and actually spend time with him.
Fast forward to this past May, when Wills and Kate saw the departure of their housekeeper, over what was called “excessive demands”. Sadie Rice, who earned about $45,000 per year, was spending more and more time seeing to the needs of the young royals. Rice was reportedly responsible for all of the family’s cleaning, laundry, shopping, and cooking. Can you blame her? There’s no time for your own family with that kind of schedule. Heck, there isn’t time too hit the loo or engage in routine toenail maintenance when you’re doing that much work!
6 Eating Etiquette (No Seconds Of The Roast Beef!)
Prince Harry with aide Ed Lane Fox
Shall you start a tenure working for the royal family, be advised. There are certain food rules and protocol you will follow.
First, think again if you thought you’d enjoy a little bit of Lobster Thermador in the butler’s pantry. This is not because you’re not allowed a bite of the good stuff, but rather because the royals do not eat shellfish! Indeed, due to the high risk of foodborne illness with seafood, the royals and their staff do not ingest the somewhat sketchy food.
Also, don’t get any hankerings for garlic toast. The Queen does not like the smell or taste of the pungent herb, and family and aides are advised to pass on it as well.
Finally, if you do find yourself asked to break bread with theRoyalss, abstain from going for seconds—it’s considered to be in poor taste.
5 Obey The Traffic Signals (The Queen’s Kitchen)
So, you’ve scored a spot in the Queen’s kitchen, chilling carrot consume, and running welsh rarebit to the table. What else goes on back there?
For starters, service is run with traffic signals—the same kind used to regulate traffic on roads! Back in the kitchen, chefs and wait staff are advised to the Queen’s timing with visual lights to indicate how far along the diners are in their service. Although the chocolate soufflé might be ready, a drawn-out conversation might stall the light to red, causing the temperamental dessert to grow cold and fall. It’s all in the timing.
But hey, if the soufflé falls, you could always blame it on faulty equipment. Ex-employees claim the ovens and other essential kitchen equipment hasn’t been replaced in many years.
4 Royal Rules: You Are Not To Be Seen Or Heard
Princess Dian with butler Paul Burrell
Discretion is one of the most valued attributes of a royal aide. Yeah, I know we talked about the deserter who wrote tell-all books. But they are an anomaly.
Think about it- all the Queen needs is one loose-lipped employee blabbing on about her Corgi breath to go and stink up her rosy image. As such, there is a document every new hire signs, swearing him or her to secrecy.
Not only do you promise not talk about your job outside of work, but you are also advised that you shouldn’t talk on the job either. At least no more than what’s necessary. Oh, and ditch the feathery false eyelashes—you shouldn’t be showy while in the Queen’s employ. When there are over a thousand employees, it makes sense that any type of noise or grand gesture could be an interfering distraction.
Make you wonder what percentage of the staff are introverts.
3 Don't Touch The Royals! (Another Royal Rule)
Prince William, Duchess Katherine, and LeBron James
A test. If you should find yourself in the Queen’s employ, and one day you’re sweeping out the fireplace in the Blue Drawing Room when Prince Harry glides through the door, what should you do?
Throw your arms around him and nuzzle your nose in his ample, manly chest, confessing he’s your favorite? Well, it absolutely kills me to dash this dream of yours, but I have to advise you not to do it.
No, look, whatever you do, don’t touch the royals. If you do, it’s gonna make the news. In 2009, Michelle Obama caused a media meltdown when she gave the queen a hug. In all fairness, the photo shows Queen Elizabeth hugging back. What a gracious doll.
LeBron James is also guilty of throwing his arm around the shoulder of Duchess Kate. The photographic proof of the faux pas is displayed as Kate smiles warmly, but her eyes appear wide, and somewhat horrified.
The ‘No touchy” guidelines go back to the Middle Ages, when the monarch was thought to be appointed to rule by God, therefore they were seen as gods.
2 Don’t Call The Queen "Liz"
On the eve of Queen Elizabeth’s 2007 visit to the United States, the biographer Robert Lacey gave some easy suggestions on how to greet the head of the royal family. First, don’t courtesy or bow. Well, right there I would have failed. Then, if the Queen offers her hand, take it gently and offer up a “Your majesty” or “Ma’m”, but don’t go calling her “Queenie” or “Liz”. Says Mr. Lacey, “That would be considered rather aggressive.” Ya think?
If the Queen should hang around long enough to engage in conversation, it is advised that you do NOT speak back to her in a British accent. Hmm…Well… Okay, well, here’s where I disagree. I believe that if can fake a Devon accent without sounding like you’re collecting acorns in your cheek, I think you should DO IT—speak with the accent! Also ,Mr. Lacey suggests keeping conversation topics “in the public realm”. This guy. Really? Here I was going to ask Queen Elizabeth how she didn’t slaughter Prince Philip during his canoodling years.
We’re a friendly bunch of the other side of the pond, Mr. Lacey, but we aren’t complete dolts. But thanks for the advice, anyway
1 Beware Royal Staff Infighting, Jealously, and Resentment
If you’ve made it this far working for the Queen, and have yet to hurl a “Yo, Chuck” in Prince Charles’s direction, there’s something else you should keep an eye out for.
Working for the Queen isn’t an equitable job. Didn’t you watch Downton Abbey, and witness the crazy mean, backstabbing nature of footman and butler Thomas Barrow? Dude would have poked you with a butter knife to protect his gig tending to Earl Robert Crawley. Some say the royal family’s staff infighting isn’t that different from the fictitious PBS melodrama.
According to insiders, the recent staffing shake-up was in part due to the drama between the royal staff. As it stands now, the households of the Queen, Prince Charles and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are under one physical roof, but function independently. So, while an aide of Prince Harry’s could be paid meagerly, an aide of the same standing that works for Prince Philip could be rewarded handsomely.
Recently, an attempt was made to unify the press office under one director, and the initiative failed and was marked by rivalry and infighting. Looks like some staff will continue to eat bangers and mash for Sunday roast, while the luckier ones will tuck into beef and Yorkshire Pudding.