Royal Family Jobs That Are Still Around Today
A horse-drawn carriage, a handsome prince, and living happily ever after. Sounds pretty perfect, doesn’t it? Many of us dreamed as kids that we would grow up, marry into royalty, and stumble into a fairy tale. (Hey, it can happen?) And while most of our inspiration started with classic Disney stories like Cinderella, soon we learned that there were real kings and queens around the world. And while they weren’t exactly like the classic stories we grew up with, they were even better, because they were real.
While there are dozens of royal families around the world, the most commonly referenced, and possibly even most popular is the British royal family. Helmed by Queen Elizabeth II, the family is always ripe with tabloid fodder, and many people are obsessed with the youngest members of the family: Prince William and Harry, Kate Middleton, and Meghan Markle. They seem to live a life complete with fabulous parties, couture gowns, and the finest that money can buy.
But, how is living such an extravagant life possible?
Turns out, there are a lot of people behind-the-scenes who are responsible for making the magic happen. There are dozens and dozens of jobs related to aiding the royal family. While working for the family may not always be easy, we have a feeling it’s always worth it. Each one, while some may seem a tad odd, play a vital part in helping the monarchy.
Let’s take a look behind the curtain of royal jobs we had no idea even existed. Honestly, we’re still baffled by a few.
Secret Party Planner
Where do we sign up?
A newer addition to the royal duties is a super secret event coordinator role that just hit the palace this past June. According to the website, the lucky chosen party planner would handle a number of secret events for the royal household, and would work closely with the Lord Chamberlain’s Office to handle official ceremonies.
So, you mean we’d get to be a royal party planner?
We don’t know about you, but that sounds like the absolute dream.
The role entails handling events like “investitures, garden parties, and state occasions.” What’s the key to success? Well, the job posting states that while being “approachable and customer focused, you’re able to build good working relationships and balance varying need [to] effectively ensure your success.”
The Crown Jeweller
If you like it, then put a ring on it.
Or in this case, accessorizing goes way past a ring. We’re talking dressed head-to-toe in diamonds. According to the royal website, the current Crown Jeweller is Mr. Mark Appleby, and he was appointed by the queen herself in 2017. The role includes not only overseeing to collection of Crown Jewels, but selecting which jewels are used for specific occasions. Personally, we can’t think of anything better than being surrounded by exquisite jewelry all day.
Bet you didn’t know there was a royal astronomer!
Don’t worry, we didn’t either. The royal astronomer does much more than finding stars in the sky. It’s actually a royal title given to a prominent scientist in the field, usually one who is breaking ground in innovative ways.
There’s also a lot of history attached to the role.
The position was first instated in 1675 by King Charles II. The position currently belongs to Martin Rees, and he joins several ranks of incredible astronomers, including Edmund Halley, who discovered Halley’s comet.
The Royal Shoe-Wearer
Possibly the best idea ever?
Is there anything worse than a long night in high heels? It’s debatable, but probably not. As cute as they are, and as much as they perfectly accentuate any outfit, they’re always a pain. When you’re the Queen of England, we can imagine your day-to-day life involves tons of events that require less-than-comfortable footwear. Enter, the Royal Shoe-Wearer.
Yes, this is 100% a real job.
This position requires the mundane, but absolutely terrible task of breaking in uncomfortable shoes. According to the queen’s stylist Stewart Parvin, it’s essential so “she doesn’t get uncomfortable or painful feet while wearing them at events.” The position has been around since the early 2000s, and though it sounds tedious, we’d be happy to have someone pay us to wear expensive shoes. (We’re a size 7. Just saying.)
The Queen’s Bargemaster
One of the oldest royal jobs, and easily one of the most confusing.
The position has become somewhat ceremonial over the last several decades, since there are no official state barges on the Thames river. However, back when travel by water was much more frequent, the role was crucial.
So, what about now?
Today, they are still charged with escorting royals or greeting official guests and dignitaries who come by boat. They also oversee 24 royal watermen. Unfortunately, the annual salary is only 3.5o pounds ($4.31), so we imagine that whoever has this role isn’t quitting their day job.
Grand Carver Of England
Because we can all agree there is literally nothing more important than food.
So, depending on where you fall on the”‘If I were rich, I would never do anything spectrum,” this job might seem brilliant or completely absurd. To be honest, we’re not quite sure where we fall. The Grand Carver of England is responsible for carving all of the roast meat on an special occasion or official dinner.
What, you didn’t expect the queen to cut her own meat, did you?
Not only is the roast carving position taken very seriously, it’s actually an inherited position. The role has been passed down through a high-status family, and has been so for many generations. Currently, the role belongs to the Earl of Denbigh and Desmond. This might be the most intricate form of nepotism we’ve ever heard of. But, admittedly, we’re still super jealous.
Master Of The Horse
Off to the races, and the royal office.
The Master of the Horse is another position that has become somewhat ceremonial in nature. The role used to include being responsible for all of the horses for travel and their general wellbeing. Nowadays, that is handled by the Crown Equerry, though the position is still filled.
Currently, the job belongs to Lord Samuel Vestey.
He joins a long line of horse masters, since the duty has been around since the 14th century. He is still in charge of inspecting the royal mews and stables. He also is present at any royal occasion where the queen is on horseback or in a carriage.
These events include some of the most important functions of the year, like the Trooping of the Colour and the State Opening of Parliament.
Queen’s Flag Sargeant
One of the only roles that never crosses path with the queen.
The Flag Sargeant for the Queen has a rather straightforward role: he is in charge of raising and lowering the flag when she is not in the palaces. For centuries, the Union flag adorned on the palace has always indicated the location of the queen, though the position has only been in place since 1997.
However, there has been some controversy tied to the role.
When Princess Diana passed away, there was a huge amount of public outrage when Buckingham Palace did not fly the flag at half-mast (a traditional symbol of respect for the fallen). After the controversy, the palace had a change of heart. The Union flag continues to fly when the queen is not at home, and also when there is a period of “national mourning.”
Warder And Marker Of The Swans
Fun fact: the queen owns hundreds and hundreds of swans.
No, she doesn’t keep them all as pets, but technically any unmarked swans that dwell in open water around the country belong to her. Yes, this is a real thing. In order to keep track of all the foul, the Keeper of the Swans was created. However, the job was so important to England that they divided the role into two.
We know this sounds absurd, but it really happened.
The roles were divided in 1993 into the Warden of the Swans and the Marker of the Swans. Professor Christopher Perrins and David Barber are the current holders of the positions. So, what to they do? Well their main responsibility is to count all of the swans.
Otherwise known as the “Upping of the Swans,” they go around and not only count them, but track their health for conservation efforts. The document is then released to the public. You know, in case they are worried about the swans.
Master Of The Queen’s Music
Sort of like the queen’s official hype music playlist.
We can all agree that there are few things more important than music, and particularly a good playlist. It’s the soundtrack to our lives. So it’s not surprising that the queen has a music-related job. While the position doesn’t involve comprising day-to-day jams, it is reserved for composing new pieces for state occasions.
The role dates back to 1625.
For centuries, the role of Master of the Queen’s Music has been given every ten years to a prominent musician. Currently, the role is held by composer Judith Weir, but will be up for replacement in 2024.
Each composer isn’t required to create anything specific, but will often make rearrangements to classics like “God Save The Queen.” Hey, so, um, in 2024, may we suggest Beyoncé? Think about it.
Surveyor Of The Queen’s Pictures
A picture is worth a thousand words, and millions of dollars.
The entire Royal Collection for the United Kingdom is in Queen Elizabeth II’s possession. That translates to just over one million paintings and historical pieces. So, who presides over such a treasure? The Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures. The role has belonged to Desmond Shawe-Taylor since 2005, and we have a feeling he’s not going anywhere.
Seems like A LOT of pressure.
He is in charge of overseeing the entire collection, which includes everything on display to the public as well as anything stored in the archives. He also has full charge over the care and maintenance of any paintings or works of art that reside in any of the royal homes and palaces.
We’re guessing there’s no flash photography allowed? Rough guess.
Sculptor In Ordinary For Scotland
Aspiring artists, take note.
Do you know it was possible to not only make a living as a sculptor, but have it be an official title given by the queen? Yeah, art school is looking like a good option to us right now. The role started with Queen Victoria in 1838, but wasn’t a permanent position until 1921.
The most famous sculpture is “The Duke Of Wellington on Princes Street.”
However, there have been tons of famous works contributed all over the United Kingdom. The current Sculptor Ordinary for Scotland is Alexander Stoddart, who works primarily using clay to create different figurative pieces. They look so beautiful, so we’re hoping the queen will let him create a piece of two for us.
Royal Horological Conservator
A tale as old as time, and a job almost as old.
Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, and all of the other royal residences haven’t made the switch to digital clocks. It may seem like a mundane role, but this is where the Royal Horological Conservator comes into play. Their job is to wind, repair, and keep all of the clocks on site working.
And there are over 1,000.
Suddenly, this role is seeming a bit more time consuming, huh? Along with general maintenance of the clocks, they are responsible for changing over the clocks to British Summer Time. The task is so tedious, it can take over 50 hours to carefully re-adjust all of the clocks and timepieces.
Piper To The Sovereign
Have you ever wanted to just throw your alarm out the window?
Waking up to something more calming sounds ideal, right? Perhaps the soft sound of birds chirping, or you know, bagpipes playing outside your window. What? Doesn’t sound like your thing? Well, for the queen, it’s a daily occurrence. The Piper to the Sovereign has been around since Queen Victoria in 1843.
And it happens to be a very prestigious role.
So much so, there have only been 15 pipers since Queen Victoria started the tradition. Currently held by Scott Methven, his job is to play every weekday at 9 a.m. sharp for 15 minutes to wake her up. Reportedly, Queen Elizabeth enjoys it immensely. There was even a piper for the Queen Mother until 2002.
*checks phone settings for bagpipe sounds*
Keeper Of The Royal Philatelic Collection
Stamp collecting. All the cool kids (and the queen) are doing it.
The royal family have been avid stamp collectors since roughly the 1890s. It has been a hobby, and a collection that has been passed down for generations. Though she partakes, reportedly Queen Elizabeth II doesn’t care for the hobby as much as her father George V did.
But she still works to preserve the history.
Enter the Keeper Of The Royal Philatelic Collection. Helmed by Michael Sefi since 2003, he works to maintain and organize the vast collection of stamps that have become rare (and quite valuable). He is also responsible for traveling around the world to find new pieces to add to it. Sefi is currently working to make the collection visible to the public.
Royal Harpist To The Prince Of Wales
One of the few royal titles not surrounding the queen.
The Royal Harpist To The Prince Of Wales is a position that had fallen out of practice and was discontinued by Queen Victoria in 1871. However, Prince Charles is such big fan of the harp, he brought it back in 2000. Anne Denholm is currently his own personal harpist and often performs at royal functions where he is involved.
Her Majesty’s Botanist
The greenest thumb in the entire country.
Okay, so maybe not the entire country, but we think it’s pretty close. The role of Her Majesty’s Botanist was established in 1699. The role was originally more involved, but was changed in 1956 to an honorary position given to someone who displays exemplary passion and talent for gardening.
Royal Linen Keeper
Literally, “ensuring the cloth matches the magnificence of the banqueting table.”
Ready to apply?
This position may sound like you’re running the laundry room (accompanied by the fresh scent of clean laundry all day? Yes, please!), but there’s a bit more to it than that. And, yes, it comes with a heavy dose of pressure.
It’s hard to imagine the royal palace ever functioning without a linen keeper, though it’s hard to say when and how this position truly first came about. What we do know, though, it that the royal linen keeper is in charge of all things fabric.
The hardest part of the job? Handling old, historically significant linens.
And yes, they’re irreplaceable. So if the linen keeper, or someone on their team, happens to leave the Queen’s mother’s mother’s table cloth in the wash too long there’s really no way to get it back. According to the most recent job posting for the position, from 2016, “much of the linen is historic and irreplaceable, and so you’ll repair and conserve these unique items to ensure they are available for use by future generations. On occasion, you’ll also support the wider department with events, working front-of-house to ensure guests are welcomed and provided with an exceptional experience.”