British Royal Family

EXCLUSIVE: Meet the British Royal Family’s favourite butler

He served royalty for over a decade and now Grant Harrold is sharing his fascinating story.

By Chloe Lal
The 37-year-old sat down with Woman’s Day Online and spoke about his time with Princes Charles, Duchess Camilla, The Queen, Prince William and Kate and the ever-charming Prince Harry.
Talking to the Royal Butler, it's clear his time living with the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall in Balmoral was simply spectacular.
As a royal enthusiast, I had to find out his most treasured memory (and let’s just say it sparkles more than the crown jewels!)
“There were so many… but my fondest has to be dancing with The Queen,” he smiled fondly.
The 37-year-old is in Australia with Stayz.com
“It was at the Ghillies Ball. In fact, I remember I used to watch it when I was a kid."
“After a year working with them, they [Charles and Camilla] asked me if I’d like to go. At the time I was really young and in my spare time I took dancing lessons, because an instructor had come up to the area," he recalled.
Continuing, he laughed, “I remember I felt like such an idiot!"
“One night I was in the drawing room and they both asked me if I was going to go to the ball. I remember hesitating and saying I’m not sure because I don’t really know anybody. And they insisted that I must go."
“Then the Duchess said ‘you can come with us!’ before she added, ‘and if you come, I’ll dance with you,'" Grant explained of Camilla, who he confirmed has a fantastic sense of humour.
And that was the end of it! True to their word, Grant was invited to the ball and was shown the time of his life by the generous couple.
We knew it! Apparently the Duke and Duchess have a wild sense of humour.
Dressed in his kilt, he drove to the ball with the lady in waiting.
“I felt like their adopted son for the night. I walked in and tried to keep out the way and I remember thinking the Duchess would forget about the dance," he chuckled.
“And then she spotted me across the room and made her way towards me. She comes right up to me and says, ‘Shall we dance?’ before leading me to the dance floor.”
The scene that followed is like something out of a fairy tale.
“People just parted as we danced across the floor. I recall how hard I tried to dance her around the room. I kept asking 'Are you OK?' I was just so nervous and so excited," Grant fondly remembered.
“But she was so kind, and just made me feel at ease, saying, ‘You’ve got to enjoy this. It is such a great experience for you!’”
As their waltz ended, Grant expected to leave the dance floor but soon discovered another lady was waiting to be twirled… The Queen.
Grant with the Woman's Day Online team.
“I remember telling the Duchess I was going to go sit and she just smiled, shook her head and motioned for me to turn around.”
Laughing out loud, he remembered the utter shock when he realised Britain’s head of state was standing right behind him.
“I just bowed a little and said, ‘Your Majesty!’”
“Soon the music started. I can’t remember what she said; I think I was just shocked!”
“Suddenly she was on one side; The Duchess took my other hand, while the Prince was opposite me. We all linked up hands and started dancing the Eightsome Reel [Watch what the dance looks like in the video player below… Post continues!]
“It was absolutely amazing! It felt like something out of the movie.”
And his story does read like a Hollywood film. Growing up in Scotland, Grant came from humble beginnings.
Living with his parents in a council home he always dreamed of bigger and better things.
“Around the time when I was 12, I began this fascination with the royal family. My mum recalls me saying I really wanted to marry them or work for them,” he mused.
Balmoral, where Grant worked, has been a part of Charles' life since the very beginning.
It wasn’t until he was 17 that he was thrust into the intriguing world of butlers.
Describing it as fate, he told us, “My mum got a job as a housekeeper where they had butlers. I went in one day to help her and saw a private jet fly past. I found out the butlers were in it and I thought ‘Oh wow! I should look into doing this!’”
Soon, the sprightly teen underwent a two-week apprenticeship and the rest is history.
About five years later in 2003, Grant heard a job was available in Prince Charles’ household. Following an intense six-month interview process, he scored a face-to-face chat with the heir to the throne.
Watch Grant teach us the proper way to curtsy. Post continues...
“I remember he was with the Duchess and they invited me for a cup of tea. We chatted for some time and then he said we’d get in touch. At the time I thought it seemed promising because I remember Charles saying after our chat, ‘I’m sure we’ll work something out!’”
A week later, Grant received an official job offer. He went on to work with the family for over seven years.
In fact, it was the notion of family that brought Grant to our sunny shores with the accommodation booking site Stayz.com.
The stunning Stayz.com mansion is fit for royalty!
The etiquette specialist was flown out to meet the lucky winners of a competition, where they were given the chance to live like royalty in one of Stayz.com's fabulous properties (To all the reality TV fans out there, you’ll recognise the place from Beauty and the Geek.)
Speaking to us about the experience, Grant mused, “They [the British royals] are very much a family unit, which is what I love about Stayz.com - it’s what they represent."
"My job was about how the royal family utilised all the rooms in their home, and I got to help show this to the winners.”
Watch Grant in action in the video player below!

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