Former staff reveal what it’s really like to have a queen or prince as your boss.

It takes a ton of planning to create a well-run machine

Queen Elizabeth II attends St Peter and St Paul church, West Newton, Sandringham, Norfolk, UK - 03 Feb 2019Paul Marriott/Shutterstock

Watching the royal family walk past a crowd seems pretty straightforward, but every public event requires meetings, lists of resources, more meetings, planning sessions, and, of course, running the actual event, says Simon Morgan, a royalty protection officer from 2006 to 2013 and founder of Trojan Consultancy. It might look seamless on the day, but that’s only because “lots and lots of work has gone into that,” he says. “It’s not a case of we turn up and hope for the best.”

Proper etiquette is important

grantJack Stooks/Courtesy Grant Harrold

As you’d probably expect, working for the royal family involves a good deal of formality. For instance, you can only shake a hand if they put their hand out first, and you should never sit down unless invited to, says etiquette expert Grant Harrold, who was Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles’ butler from 2007 to 2011. “These are rules you learn as a butler. They’re quintessentially British,” he says. Learn about the 18 etiquette rules the royal family needs to follow.

Respect is a two-way street

Grant with prince of walesPaul Burns/Courtesy Grant Harrold

When you’re dealing with people who expected to be treated like, well, royalty, you might expect some prima donnas who snub their staff. But Morgan says that was never the case for him. “They’re all very easy to speak to; they’re all very respectful of what your role is,” he says. “Certainly no one was aloof, or nobody treated you badly.” Harrold had the same good experience; he says they always acted gracious for his help and never forgot to say “please” and “thank you.”