Former Butler Gives Insider Secrets About Working for the Royal Family

family
November 14, 2017Nov 14, 2017

Many people are fascinated with the life of a royal family, filled with extravagant events, consistent public appearances, and both diplomatic and social responsibilities. Many of us, either secretly or not-so-secretly, are also curious about what it would be like to live in a palace or to work closely with the Royals. 

Now, a former butler of the Royal family has opened up about his experience. After finishing school, Richard Kerrigan went straight to work as a butler at the Buckingham Palace. 

In a recent interview, Kerrigan talked about his time in the palace, his royal duties, and the strict restrictions that were placed in his job. The British man said that rules were so strict that he was not even ever able to take any photos while in his official work uniform. 

He said, "It was a crazy time in my life. We'd lay the great table. When the plates are all set up, you've got to measure it with a ruler and make sure the plates are all in line."

Kerrigan went on to talk about the silver typically served at fancy events. 

He said, "A lot of these functions have 180 guests [around the] big horseshoe shaped table and you've got to make sure the glasses are polished, the silvers in the right line. Out of the 180 guests, there's probably about four staff per eight or 10 guests. So you can imagine how many the level of service we're silver serving."

The former butler also talked about the royal family and whether they would ever acknowledge their staff. 

He said, "[The Royal Family] do acknowledge you but they're busy with their guests. But they do acknowledge you and say 'hi.' They're so nice. It's amazing."

According to Kerrigan, there were specific signal lights that would indicate whether or not the butlers were allowed to enter whatever room the Queen was in. 

He said, "First of all, it was quite a cool little system as a traffic light system. We're behind the scenes, and there's a green and a red traffic light system. So we're not allowed to go into the room when the little red light is on. So when there's any speeches on or anything...they want us to not know about- and as soon as they press the green button, we go in."

When asked what Kerrigan's most "bizarre or unusual thing" he ever had to do as a butler, he responded with an experience in his early days in the palace. 

He said, "One of my first events, I went down to the kitchen to get what I thought was just food up to the main service hatch. I was on my own in the lift, and they gave me this thermos flask. I looked down and it says the 'Queen's soup' on the side of the thermos flask. And it was that moment I realised, I actually got the Queen's soup in my hands. We're actually not allowed to serve her. I had the Queen's soup in my hands. I didn't give it a taste, unfortunately."

Kerrigan also talked about working at Prince Charles and Camilla's wedding. 

He said, "I was lucky enough to be at the wedding, that was an amazing experience. The security was heightened through that because it was a prestigious event. But it was great, it was amazing to be running shoulders. But after a while, you kind of get used to it and you had to relax."

Kerrigan finished the interview by talking about the strict security measures that were taken for staff. 

He said, "We're obviously wearing the penguin suits, and I tried to get a little selfie but straight away, they deleted it off your phone. You can't have phones in there, you're taken into a metal detector each time you go through- so it's quite a high security process to go through there."

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