Finding staff to work at Buckingham Palace is like 'finding a needle in a haystack,' according to a royal recruitment agency. Here's what it takes to get hired by the Queen or Meghan Markle.
- The royal family regularly post job vacancies online.
- The positions on offer could be anything from a personal chef to a butler or chauffeur.
- If hired, you would live and work in one of the UK's royal households: Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, or Clarence House.
- INSIDER spoke to Philippa Smith, managing director of Silver Swan Recruitment Agency, the company that decides who gets to work for the royals.
- She explained how the process works, and what's required if you want to work for the Queen.
Members of the royal family have been keeping rather busy lately.
With the recent announcement that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be moving their household to Buckingham Palace in the spring, as well as the fact that Markle's due date is rapidly approaching, it seems that all hands will be on deck in the weeks to come.
What many people don't realize is that the royals are recruiting staff on a regular basis. The types of roles vary, from new personal chefs for the Queen, to administrative staff for Prince William and Kate Middleton.
The biggest perk? Many of these roles require staff to actually live in the royal residence where they work. So, if you like the idea of being neighbors with the Queen or preparing meals for Meghan Markle, you may have found your calling.
INSIDER spoke to Philippa Smith, Managing Director at Silver Swan Recruitment Agency, a company which specializes in recruiting staff to work in royal palaces and households across the UK.
Smith told us what she it takes to become an employee of the royal family.
The job could be anything from a royal nanny to a chauffeur.
"We specialize in hospitality, service orientated positions, looking after family members on a day-to-day basis," Smith told INSIDER. "These roles will include chefs, house management, butlers, housekeeping, chauffeurs and nannies and we often recruit couples who bring a combined set of skills."
However, if you're expecting a salary fit for a Queen, you may be disappointed. In March 2019, the royal family advertised a vacancy for a full-time Demi Chef de Partie - but the starting salary was just £21,151 (R394,000) per annum. That's almost R56,000 less than the average salary of Demi Chef de Parties in London, according to Adzuna.
Nonetheless, with free accommodation at the palace and meals provided, it still seems like a pretty sweet deal.
Finding the ideal candidate is like "finding the needle in the haystack."
"Finding the perfect member of staff for a household is finding the needle in the haystack and it is crucial to get it right first time," explained Smith.
She added: "Every role in every house is different and each household has very different dynamics within the family and within the team of staff.
"It is therefore important that we spend time with our clients to understand their home, their family and their requirements and to spend time with our candidates to get to know their personalities as well as their previous experiences and skill sets."
You don't need specific qualifications, although training is encouraged.
Although the candidate will need to have experience working in a five-star establishment, there isn't technically a specific qualification required to apply for a role.
Smith explained: "The ideal candidate will have previous five-star service or hospitality experience, ideally within the private sector. Any formal training or qualifications in addition to their experience would be advantageous."
If you're at a loss for exactly what type of formal training is on offer, you might be surprised to find there are plenty of options. For instance, Norland College in Bath specializes in training "royal nannies."
Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo, the nanny of Prince William and Kate Middleton's children, graduated from the college. Celebrities including Mick Jagger have also hired nannies from Norland, so even if you're not in the running to look after the next royal baby, your other potential clients could be pretty impressive.
The recruitment process is shorter than you might think.
According to Smith, you could be hired to work in the likes of Buckingham Palace just weeks - or in some cases, days - after applying for a role.
"The recruitment process can be completed within a matter of days, weeks or months. It all depends on the client and their requirements. Typically a recruitment process will take two to three weeks."
After applying to the agency online, the candidates who are shortlisted will meet with one of the agency's consultants to discuss their CV and references. From there, they could attend multiple interviews for their chosen position before being told if they are successful.
If hired, you could have access to luxury perks - but you won't be able to tell anyone where you work.
It's public knowledge that Buckingham Palace employees have it good. According to Adrian Tinniswood's 2018 book, "Behind the Throne: A Domestic History of the British Royal Household," the palace offers a staff gym, a swimming pool, a squash court, and a tennis court.
Yes, you may get to enjoy these luxuries - but you'll be forbidden to tell anyone about it.
All candidates and employers are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement, according to Smith. This means they aren't allowed to specify where they work, or who in the royal family that they work for.
"Neither us nor the candidates can disclose who they are working for to third parties," she said.
"There is also a ban on social media - as in nothing whatsover about their role, the family, the location or any other details can be posted online."
So you may be able to spend your days living and working in some of the most extravagant royal palaces in the world - but you won't be able to post a photo of your new digs to Instagram.
If you get the chance to rub shoulders with Meghan Markle, though, it seems like a fair enough deal.
The royal family update their job vacancies on a daily basis.
If you like the sound of any of the positions mentioned, be sure to check out their website.
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