Employing around 1200,the Queenhas quite a sizable workforce. With that many people working across Buckingham Palace, Balmoral Castle and beyond, it’s no wonder that some of the roles on offer are far from being the average day job.
From harpists to shoe wearers to swan keepers, it’s not just housekeepers and chefs who work for Her Majesty. As with any job, however, the royal family have high standards when it comes to their staff – anyone looking to become the Queen’s cleanermust pass her ‘dead fly test’ .
So, if you fancy working for theRoyal familyanytime soon, here are some of the weird and wacky jobs on offer at the palace.
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Official Harpist to the Prince of Wales
Discontinued by Queen Victoria in 1871, this role was reinstated in 2000 by Prince Charles to help raise the profile of the harp. Traditionally, a two-year role (which can be extended), the official harpist is unpaid but does receive expenses. Anne Denholm has been in the role since 2015.
The Grand Carver
Carving the Sunday roast is a lot of pressure in any household, let alone among royalty. Luckily, the royals don’t have to decide who this role falls upon as the Grand Carver is there to cut servings of roast meat to uniform size and thickness on special occasions. The role is hereditary – currently the Earl of Denbigh and Desmond holds the position.
The Royal Shoe-Wearer
Not a position itself, but one of the Queen’s wardrobe staffers must break in Her Majesty’s shows to ensure that they are comfortable while undertaking engagements, according to The Telegraph. Given that the Queen does hundreds of engagements a year, it seems like an important job to us.
Warden of the Swans and Marker of the Swans
One of the traditions associated with being the Queen is that she owns all the unclaimed swans in open water in England and Wales. Due to this, two jobs are available to help ensure that swans are healthy and in good shape – the Warden of the Swans and the Marker of the Swans. During an annual ‘Swan-Upping Ceremony’ they must gather the swans for a census and health check.
Piper to the Sovereign
We may be used to the sound of alarm clocks or phone notifications waking us up every morning, but the Queen’s morning routine is a lot more unique. Whenever she stays at Buckingham Palace, Windsor castle, Balmoral or Holyroodhouse, a bagpiper will stand under her window and play for 15 minutes, starting at 9am to get her up and ready for the day.
The Royal Horological Conservator
Given that there are over 1000 clocks, barometers and thermometers at the different royal residences, it’s no surprise that the Queen has someone to wind them and keep them working. With many of the clocks being gifts from centuries ago, the job is reserved for the most skilled horologists around.
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The Queen's Flag Sergeant
Since 1997, the Queen’s Flag Sergeant has been responsible for raising the Royal Standard when the Queen is in residence and raising the Union Flag when she isn’t. Lance Sergeant Patrick Nelson has had the role since 2017.
The most prestigious post in astronomy, the honorary title is given to an astronomer who is to advise the Queen on scientific and astronomical matters. Currently Martin Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow holds the title.
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