Working for the royal family may seem like the best job in the world, but it is also no doubt the most intimidating of all. It goes without saying that anyone who gets to be up close and personal with the Queen (or any of her relatives) has to be in tip-top shape, with every move in need of a royal seal of approval.
While we’ve seen glimpses of what life at home for the British monarchy is like in movies and TV shows (The Crown being the most recent depiction of Queen Elizabeth II’s life), what exactly does it take to run a royal household?
Here are six things you didn’t know were crucial to running Her Majesty’s Palaces…
1. It takes an army of over 1,000
As you can expect, the Queen has a lot of staff members running the royal households – over 1,000 to be exact. Each member of staff is there to ensure the smooth running of the home, be it Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle. And believe it or not, being hired to work in one of the royal palaces is not as difficult as it may seem, although it is often reported that the staff work long hours for smaller salaries than you might expect.
2. Staff are expected to live at the Palace
If there’s anyone who needs round the clock care, it’s the royal family. That’s why each member of staff is required to live at the palace they’re employed at. For example, Buckingham Palace alone features 188 ‘modest’ staff bedrooms on site. This means you get free meals while living there, not to mention the fact that you’ll be up close and personal with the likes of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Will and Kate and the Queen herself.
3. The staff are not allowed pets
While the living arrangements might sound like a sweet deal, earlier this year, it was reported that The Lord Chamberlain, head of the Queen’s household, had ended a centuries-old tradition which allowed royal servants to bring their pet dogs into the office. Speaking to the Express, a royal insider said: ‘Palace staff are up in arms about it. For hundreds of years members of the royal household have been able to bring their dogs to work but the Lord Chamberlain has put a stop to it for reasons of hygiene and security. It’s an odd decision considering the Queen and her family are such dog lovers. Obviously it doesn’t affect the royal corgis.’
4. It takes an hour to iron just one of the Queen’s bed sheets
The Queen’s home is a tightly-run ship where everything is done to perfection. In fact, that same standard is expected anywhere Her Majesty travels to. In new ITV documentary Queen of the World, we learnt that it takes staff at the family’s Canadian residence Rideau Hall up to a full hour to iron just ONE of the Queen’s bed sheets during preparation for her royal stay. Yes, that’s an entire hour.
5. There are around 18,000 bottles of wine in the wine cellar at Windsor Castle
Back in 2011, Jancis Robinson, one of the Queen’s wine advisors revealed that the Royal family keep 18,000 bottles of wine in the wine cellar at Windsor Castle – though not all of them are as expensive as you may think. ‘Outsiders might assume that we spend our time picking out the plums from the world’s vineyards for Her Majesty’s cellar but the reality is very much more prosaic,’ Robinson wrote in a blog post.
6. A flag has to be raised whenever the Queen is present
Whenever the Queen is present at any of the palaces, the Royal Standard has got to be flying above the residence. If this isn’t the case and the British Union Jack flag is flying above the palace instead, it means Her Majesty is not present. This is due to an old tradition which still stands – the Monarchy want you to know when the Sovereign is in residence.