By Royal Engagement
Even at the age of 92, the Queen still spends a lot of time on her feet. That’s why, in 2017, she was looking for someone to have the sole job of breaking in her shoes. Her signature, £1,000-a-pair Anello & Davide patent court shoes are walked up and down the corridors of Buckingham Palace, so that Her Majesty doesn’t fall victim to any dreaded blisters. We don’t know what further duties the role includes, but we do know that this particular employee has size-four feet – just like HRH.
LIVE-IN POT SCRUBBER
Imagine getting paid to live in one of the world’s most iconic buildings. Well, that’s exactly what one lucky candidate was offered in 2016, after the Royal Household advertised for a kitchen porter who could live in Buckingham Palace. The only catch? You have to wash all the pots. With 400 people working in the Palace and 240 sleeping there, that’s a lot of washing-up.
Should Her Royal Highness require advice on all things astronomical, she has her very own Astronomer Royal. The position dates back to 1675, when King Charles II appointed John Flamsteed to track the stars in the name of ‘perfecting the art of navigation’. Until 1972, each of the 15 men who had held the prestigious position earned £100 a year for their talents. These days, however, they do it for free.
The Queen likes clocks. So much in fact, that she owns more than 1,000 of them. That’s why Her Majesty employs three people (officially called horologists) to wind them all up – by hand. The three clock- winders are also responsible for cleaning, soldering, making hands and pattern-making. When the clocks go back this winter, spare them a thought.
CURTAIN AND CUSHION MAKER
There are 760 windows in Buckingham Palace and, although we’re not sure of the exact numbers, we do know that the royal family has plenty of sofas for visitors to recline on. That’s why the Royal Household recently advertised for someone to make cushions and curtains for Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and St James’s Palace, as well as restore historical fittings. As the job ad itself said: ‘It’s about protecting heritage by leaving your own legacy.’
In case you didn’t know, the Queen owns all of the swans in England and Wales. Well, sort of: the monarch actually owns very unclaimed, mute swan
which swims in open water. She doesn’t look after them all though – that’s the job of the Marker of Swans. Every year, a Swan Upping ceremony takes place in July. This is when the Marker of Swans and their helpers travel up the Thames in rowing ski s, to weigh, measure and examine young swans to keep up to date with the Queen’s birds.
We Brits love a roast dinner and we’re pretty sure the royals do too. That would explain why the Grand Carver exists, a role that’s currently held by the Earl of Denbigh and Desmond. His job? He carves the meat that is served at special occasions. Luckily there’s another carver in Scotland, so the Earl doesn’t have to travel all the way up there
for HRH’s Sunday roasts.
When the Queen wakes up every morning, it’s to the sound of bagpipes rising from beneath her window. Outside, the Piper to the Sovereign plays the traditional Scottish instrument at 9.15am. The job was created by Queen Victoria who, after learning that the Marquess of Breadalbane had her own, decided she wanted one too.
OK, so this isn’t a singular job title, but the Palace’s servants have a rather varied list of duties. Our favourite, though, has to be making sure there are bowls of snacks around Buckingham Palace for the Queen to nibble on. Her Majesty has a particular penchant for Bombay mix, though the servant who puts out the snacks should also keep an eye out for restless hands – it’s common knowledge that the Queen doesn’t like to share them!