How to become a royal butler by Prince Charles' former aide

Ciara Sheppard
Contributor Yahoo Style UK

Watch the full interview with Prince Charles’ former butler Grant Harrold on Yahoo News UK’s brand new show The Royal Box at the bottom of this article.

How do you get your foot in the door of the royal household? “Marry or work for them” is the answer Prince Charles’ former butler, Grant Harrold, was given as a child.

Harrold, clearly, chose the latter and today has seven years of royal service under his belt. During his time as Charles’ butler at Highgrove, he was privy to what most of us can only dream of: the inner workings of the monarchy. He attended the heir’s wedding to Camilla and, last month, Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle.

Harrold saw the royal family with their guards down, behind closed doors.

So, how does one become a royal butler?

“It was an ambition from childhood when I watched the documentary ‘ER’ which was about the Queen in the early 90s,” Harrold tells Yahoo UK.

Following a childhood obsession with the royal family, which included writing letters to the Queen (and receiving two replies), Harrold applied for a job working for the crown as soon as he was able to.

“I had been through six months of interviews already before being asked up Clarence House to be interviewed by Prince Charles.

“As soon as I walked in, Prince Charles offered me his hand, which is royal etiquette, and I accepted, not forgetting the customary nod of the head.

“Next, he offered me to sit down which you do, you sit down with the Prince, and we had a conversation about why I wanted to be a butler.”

When he landed his dream role, Harrold’s remit was not limited to looking after guests, serving drinks, laying tables and running errands.

His job included helping out with Prince William and Prince Harry, who were young men at the time.

Grant Harrold with the Queen. [Photo: Grant Harrold]

One of Harrold’s career highlights is dancing with the Queen, he tells us.

Each year, staff join the royals at the Ghillies Ball at Balmoral, the Queen’s home in Scotland, and in 2006 Harrold had the chance to attend. 

Invited by the Duchess of Cornwall, who he was working for at the time, Harrold joined hands with the Queen for a spin on the dance floor.

Now, Harrold – who runs etiquette and household consultancy company Nicholas Veitch Limited, which Prince Harry and Prince William’s cousin HRH Princess Katarina is the patron of – warns his trainees to be prepared for everything. 

“When I train now I say ‘make sure you’re a good dancer’ because you never know what you might be asked to do.”

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