British Royal Family

EXCLUSIVE: What it's really like working for the British Royal Family – a Butler tells all

Can you imagine if The Queen was your boss?

By Chloe Lal
Now, one of their former staffers is sharing the intricate details of living with the world's most famous family.
Grant Harrold worked as the royal butler to Prince Charles and his wife Duchess Camilla for over seven years, and he sat down with Woman’s Day Online to chat about his time with the heir to the throne.
“I remember I wrote to The Queen when I was a little kid. I asked which member of the royal family could I marry or if could I work for her,” he laughed.
Grant had been in the butler industry for about five years, when he joined the royal household at the age of 24.
“It is the protocol to be guarded and formal. But they are wonderful and such a great sense of humour," he recalled.
Adding, “Off duty they are so friendly.”
Grant served Charles and Camilla for over seven years.
And it seems the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall were a delight to work for. Speaking about what Prince Charles was like as a boss, Grant told us a particularity sweet story.
“I remember one of my first Easters, when I was away with the Prince. It seemed like he felt awful that he’d taken me away from my family for the holidays. But I really didn’t mind at all.”
With actions speaking much louder than words, Charles did something that stayed with the Scotsman.
“He [the Prince] gave me a little card saying ‘I hope you have a good Easter. I am sorry you’re away from home. I hope it is still enjoyable.’ And he put some mini-chocolate eggs in the card.”
Grant added that “The Boss” (that’s how he refers to Wills and Harry’s dad) has such a lovely personality and is "just tremendously friendly and kind.”
Grants calls Charles "The Boss" and says he was a dream to work for.
So what’s expected of you on a day-to-day basis?
“I was the Under Butler to the Prince of Wales but also worked as the butler, house manager, housekeeper, driver and valet. These jobs were either for the Prince or other members of his family.”
“An average day while working for the Royal Family or any similar family can mean anything. Its not like Downton Abbey where the butlers have certain sole duties,” he explained.
“In the role of a modern-day butler one minute you could be serving a table, the next acting as a valet or looking after guests, children or even family pets. Butlers also need to have good housekeeping skills today, so whether you work for a Prince or a Duke you need to be able to multitask.”
Adding, “Working for The Royal Family is like working for any other family which is an important thing to remember.”
Watch Grant teach Woman's Day Online how to curtsy. Post continues after the video!
During his time with the family, Grant became especially close to Charles’ sons, William and Harry.
Describing them both as great guys, he revealed one of his first memories of working with the charming redhead.
“We were both at the local pub and this bloomin’ dart flew past me and landed right near my head,” he quipped.
Laughing at the story, Grant, who visited Australia with Stayz.com, continued, “And Harry was like ‘oh sorry! Are you ok?’”
“He’s such fun. When the boys were around, you knew you were in for a fun weekend. We have similar likes,” he said, before revealing that being a similar age to them really helped cement their friendship.
“Even on my weekends off, I’d work and travel with them – I just loved being around them!”
The 37-year-old is in Australia with Stayz.com
According to Grant, the entire family is a hoot especially Duchess Camilla, who he describes as "hilarious."
He says Wills and Kate both have a competitive streak and are a lot of fun, but the biggest surprise were his thoughts on The Queen.
“They all have such a light-hearted humour about them. Especially The Queen,” he revealed.
“She is very gracious. Exactly as you’d imagine. She has the most wonderful smile; she has this glint in her eye. And you know, she is genuine.”
“I’ve gone to balls and garden parties and if she sees me she’ll always come around and have a chat. She’ll come up and say the funniest comments, she always makes me laugh!”
Grant says Queen Elizabeth goes above and beyond to make sure her staff are included, with the 37-year-old revealing he and The Queen once even shared a dance at an event!
Not only fun, Her Majesty is also exceptionally switched on and meticulous with every aspect of her role.
“She inspects everything in her household,” Grant told us.
“If something isn’t right, she’ll let you know right away. When I was working with the family I remember talking to staff and they remember her inspecting everything.”
“The microphones in the flowers must be covered, the glasses must be perfect – she has a great eye.”
Laughing, he added, “She’ll know if something isn’t in place!”
Clearly inspired, Grant has the same attention to detail when it came to running Prince Charles’ household.
Watch the Queen in action... Post continues!
“You are very aware of the importance of what you are doing. The boss trusted what I did, and you always wanted to make sure it was all perfect.”
From his time with the family, Grant got an inside look into their lives, including discovering what the royals love to eat.
“The Queen loves her fish. While her son is a huge supporter of mutton. We used have mutton lunches. It is something he is very fond of. In fact I think he is even involved with a mutton society!”
“The family love their sheep! Wills and Kate had lamb on their wedding menu and the Prince loved it while I worked in his household.”
Her Majesty’s former chef Darren McGrady once remarked that, “She eats to live while Prince Philip is the one who lives to eat,” but she does have one indulgence – chocolate biscuit cake!
Of course Grant has eaten it and apparently it's even better than it sounds!
“It is rich but it SO good!”
Dinners at the palace are beyond grand!
As much you may want to, you probably shouldn’t go for seconds.
The etiquette master told us that unless your host offers you more food, it is rude to go back for more!
With a vast knowledge of how to act, the former butler is using it for good.
These days the 37-year-old works side-by-side with another royal, the Duke’s grand-niece Princess Katarina of Yugoslavia and Serbia, where the pair run an etiquette school.
Watch Grant at work in the player below… Story continues below!
If Grant could part with just one nugget of royal wisdom, it is the importance of manners!
“It is the simplest thing in the book! The common decency of manners is so forgotten. Royals are such a great example," he mused.
“It truly is the little things like holding the door open for another person. Simple things like giving up your seat on public transport for the elderly."
"And just be kind to one another!”
Grant with the Woman's Day Online team.

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