• Privacy Policy
  • DMCA
  • Impressum

Palace Insiders Spoke Out About What It Was Really Like To Serve The Queen

Photographs of Queen Elizabeth II’s remarkable life are everywhere, but they only tell half the story. There was the public face of the monarch that we all got to see, but then there was also her private side. Many moments happened behind closed doors, with only her staff on hand to witness them. Luckily, though, they’ve let slip some touching insights into what Elizabeth was really like when the world wasn’t watching. 

At home and around the world

With so many staff on call, often working 24 hours a day, it’s no surprise those toiling away behind the scenes gained an up-close-and-personal view of the former monarch. Whether at Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, St James’ Palace, her beloved Scottish home of Balmoral or traveling the globe, staff members had to be anywhere and everywhere. 

Ask Jeeves?

The traditional image of the royal family features various “below-stairs” types, such as butlers, maids and assorted tradesmen. TV shows including Downton Abbey give us a detailed, if fictionalized, portrait of aristocratic life. Does this apply to the lofty heights of Buckingham Palace? Well, yes and no. The royals certainly do have butlers, as the high-profile presence of ex-staffer Paul Burrell indicates. 

491 staff members

The Queen reportedly employed hundreds of staff. She had people to clean rooms — of which there are an eye-watering 775 in Buckingham Palace alone! But of course, a vast property requires roles of all kinds. Reporting on the Palace’s employment situation in 2016, Forbes magazine mentions the kind of jobs you might expect, such as footmen. Yet it also refers to engineers, and even vase polishers. Yes, you read that correctly!

A polished existence?

Of course, Elizabeth owned some pretty rare and expensive vases, hence why a specific individual was needed to keep them looking their best. Was a vase polisher the best position from which to obtain a behind-the-scenes view of her secret life? Possibly not, we’re thinking. Yet others worked at closer quarters, and would have seen more than most.