‘Royal servants’, uploaded to YouTube in 2011, gave an insight into what it is like working for the Royal Family, including accounts from former butlers, chefs and footmen. One rule cleaners must follow is that they have to sweep floors instead of hoovering them, because the sound may be too loud, especially early in the morning. Not being permitted to use such modern inventions must make their job a lot more difficult, but royal servants are held to a higher standard than most.
What is particularly bizarre however, is that it appears they even have to sweep carpeted floors, despite this being far less effective at cleaning.
The narrator of the documentary said: “Behind the scenes butlers lay out clothes, footmen carry early morning trays and cleaners sweep carpets, lest royal ears are offended by vacuum cleaners.
“The best servant is one that is neither seen nor heard.”
She added: “The Royal Family demand the most professional servants in the world, the kind of servants who would rather die than make a mistake.”
Peter Russell, who was a royal servant between 1954 and 1968, explained that the Royal Family feel torn about the presence of the servants, of which there are over 700 in various residences.
He said: “They want you there but they don’t want you there.
“They want you there because you have to be there. They want you there because they can’t manage without you.”
He explained this by using the example of a royal picnic, at which certain royals might “muck in” in some ways, but they will never do the more menial jobs ‒ those are always left to the servants.
He said: “The Queen will say ‘we’ll all muck in’, but of course, there’s mucking in in some directions and there’s mucking in in others.
“I mean, in actual fact it’s quite well-known that the Duke of Edinburgh might well turn a sausage, but he won’t wash the plate up the sausage landed on.”
Clive Goodman, a royal reporter for the News of the World, claimed that Prince Charles does nothing for himself.
He described a morning scene in which Charles gets ready for the day, but all the preparation is already done for him.
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He said “The Prince of Wales, he doesn’t lift a thing.
“He gets up in the morning, his bathrobe is there waiting for him; he walks into the bathroom, the bath is drawn for him already.
“Even when he gets out of the bath, the towell is folded in a special way so he just has to sit in it and wrap it around himself.
“Then he goes into his dressing room, his clothes are laid out for him ‒ even his socks, left and right, are in exactly the right spot.”
Paul Kidd, who was a royal butler between 1975 and 1982, described the Queen Mother as being incredibly “gracious”.
However, not all members of the Royal Family are described in this way.
Prince Andrew was allegedly overheard being extremely grumpy in the morning by undercover reporter Ryan Parry, who had blagged his way into a job and worked in Buckingham Palace for two months.
Mr Russell, meanwhile, claimed Princess Margaret was “difficult”, and the narrator added that she sometimes treated servants like “human ashtrays”.
Mr Russell explained: “Of course, at a banquet for instance or a big social occasion, it meant you had to dance attendance on her all night long.
“Possibly to be just standing to her left or right with an ashtray, so she didn’t have to look to see where she flicked her ash.”
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