The Pros and Cons of Becoming a Butler for the Royal Household

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This April the Royal Household listed a job posting for a new trainee Butler with no experience required. Many saw it as their opportunity to work for the Queen and live in Buckingham Palace. But would it really be all that great?

The Butler position described includes:

  • Taking care of guests from arrival to departure
  • Assisting with event preparation
  • Front-of-house duties
  • Back-of-house duties

We had Lucy Challenger, a professional Butler recruiter from London tell us the truth about what it really takes to be the Queen’s Butler, what a fair wage is, and whether or not you should have applied.

Will the chosen Butler be tending to the Queen?
Despite the excitement of many aspiring Butlers who saw this job posting, the actual interaction with the royal family is unknown.

Most likely the trainee Butler will work very closely with the Estate Manager and Head Butlers for training and will mostly to attend to the guests.

Although the Butler will probably not be attending to the Queen herself, he/she may very well be attending to prestigious guests staying at the Buckingham Palace.

What will the Butler do?
Typical duties of the Butler will be greeting guests, serving tea, and tending to any need of the Palace guests. This can include anything from packing and unpacking their luggage to fetching clean socks.

They have to be flexible and ready to adjust to last minute schedule changes, ensuring that the very best of care is given to the Royal family each day.

There are a lot of Butlers (plus housekeepers, chefs, and other domestic staff). The Butler also has to be an excellent team player, able to take direction well and listen to instructions.

What about the Royal Family?
The Butler may not be serving the Royal Family directly, but in being inside the Palace they will be around them. They will be in earshot of the Royal Family and the guests should their service be required, so they may hear some interesting conversations.

As such, discretion will play a major role in the Butler’s daily duties as they will often be privy to private and highly confidential discussions.

While Princess Diana’s Butler wrote a story about his time serving the Princess, this type of thing is very much frowned upon by the Royal Family and goes against the professional Butler culture.

One of the challenges of any Butler position is to have discretion. The ability to keep a secret.

Is the salary offered fair?
£18K per annum (plus accommodation) is a low starting salary. Most Butlers (newly graduated from an academy) would typically start on £25-30K a year.

However, we must take into account a number of things.

  • Firstly, the job is considering candidates with no prior experience. This is extremely rare, and it will allow young men and women of all backgrounds to be considered. It will also open it to graduates, or ex-military looking for their first steps on the career ladder.
  • Secondly, we must take into account that accommodation will be provided. This may be within the Palace grounds or nearby, but the cost of renting close to the Palace (and all the bills) would easily add up to £15/20K a year.
  • Lastly one must remember that once a Butler has been trained up and worked within the Royal properties, they will be sought after for the rest of their career. Working in Buckingham Palace is considered one of the highest accolades, and for the rest of their career, the Butler in question will go on to earn higher salaries than his or hers peers.

Is the job really worth it?

Perks of The Job
If you’re an aspiring Butler then you’re going to get great experience for your CV
You’ll be exposed to the prestigious guests of the Buckingham Palace
You get to live in or near the the Buckingham Palace

Realities of the Job
The day-to-day work is going to be tough – long hours, hard work
The pay is on the lower end of the spectrum
Your social life will be limited

Like all things, whether this juice is worth the squeeze depends on your taste. The life of a Butler is a challenging, intense and demanding. Life in service is not suited to everyone, but it can be rewarding via high salaries and job perks like living in the Buckingham Palace.

If you’re an aspiring Butler, working as a trainee Butler for the Royal Family of Great Britain is the highest accolade, one that will take your career to the highest level. It’s worth it.

If your dream is to live in the Buckingham Palace, you’re probably better off settling for a tour.

For those Butlers looking for a job or if you’re interested in a Butler for your home, a professional agency like Polo & Tweed can help you find the right placement.

Article by David Evans

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