What do you think it’s like to work at the British Royal Palace?
I’m sure some people ask themselves this question. Only those who did can answer it. Like non-fiction writer Alicia Healy, who worked for the Royals for four years. He now “wrote his experiences for”Wire“bottom.
After studying art history, after several unsuccessful applications, he received an advertisement for a summer job at Schloss Balmoral: a three-month position as a hospitality assistant.
“My main interest and ambition at the time was to work in the fields of art and architectural preservation, and I have always been interested in historic buildings,” Healy said.
A few weeks later I received an invitation to interview the Head Housekeeper at Buckingham Palace!
Surprisingly, he seduces Healy with the promise that the job isn’t just about the work. There will be “a staff bar” and “Scottish dance”. Working there is “like a university, only without lectures”. Author: “It seemed very tempting to me.”
The conversation should have been about a summer job, but according to Healy, the chief housekeeper immediately offered her a permanent job as a maid at Buckingham Palace. Healy agreed.
“On my first day in the palace, I was shown through the state rooms. As I walked through the picture gallery, I was amazed to see the famous Van Dyck and Canaletto paintings, Here’s a Constable, a Reynolds,” writes Healy.
The author continues: “I was excited that this was going to be my ‘office’ and I was allowed to walk down those golden stairs every day, surrounded by many priceless works of art.”
But then the bitter reality: work starts at 6:30 in the morning! Too early for the author. He: You might be happy “If you can keep your eyes open long enough to focus on your feather duster, let alone Van Dyke on the wall.”
However, it wasn’t just about cleaning expensive art. Healy dusts off expensive statues one minute and finds herself cleaning a royal toilet in another.
By the way, Healy was not the only one to graduate. There were many “unqualified servants”. Many housewives were also academicians and worked because of prestige.
Also, because of her studies, the maid was offered a volunteer job at the Royal Collection, the royal art and culture collection at St. James’s Palace. In her spare time, she also took care of ancient scripts. But just dusting the paper wasn’t for Healy.
It was “more enjoyable” and “more rewarding” to work with sculptures, antique furniture, gilded stairs and picture frames at Buckingham Palace.
Back at Buckingham Palace, which everyone called “The Office”, she resumed the role of the traditional housewife. Healy was there when the Queen traveled to her residences in Windsor, Sandringham or Balmoral.
The range of her duties “had changed a bit since the time of Queen Victoria. I felt like a time traveler,” Healy said.
Fortunately, work wasn’t everything here too. The maids were also allowed to enjoy. In Healy’s case, even with the husband of the Queen herself – Prince Philip (†99)!
Healy enthuses, “One of the off-duty highlights was dancing the waltz with the Duke of Edinburgh at the Gillies Ball at Balmoral Castle, a memory that very much lives on today.”
Perhaps it was because of such special moments that Healy served the Crown for four full years instead of the planned year. With her mega-experience on her resume, Healy then left the palace and “worked as a traveling maid, personal assistant and stylist for other high-profile families”.
She recounts her experiences behind the walls of the palace in her book “Wardrobe Wisdom” – a book about dress code, wardrobe management and clothing care.
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