Many people dream of a lifestyle in which their every whim and desire is taken care of by a team of helpers. For the reigning monarch that squad is a reality. A lot of roles, from cooks to royal accountants, exist out of necessity. Others, such as the Queen’s Bargemaster, stand only as an honorary title. But there are some that can only exist in the quirky and unreal world of the royal family. From dining and housekeeping to philatelists and horologists, these are the more bizarre roles that keep royal life running like, er, clockwork.
1. Astronomer Royal – $115 a year
Charles II was the first king to appoint an Astronomer Royal in 1675. Back then, though, the job was vital to seamanship and guiding the Royal Navy’s fleet of ships while at sea. But now we have things like radar and Google Maps, so the role is largely redundant — if still incredibly prestigious. Current appointee Martin Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow is on hand to advise on all things celestial, y’know, just in case.
2. Royal linen-keeper – $23,000 a year
There’s not much that’s more annoying than when a tablecloth doesn’t live up to the magnificence of a royal banquet. Well, Queen Elizabeth II seemed to think so anyway. That’s why in 2016 the job of royal linen-keeper was advertised for the palace, to ensure that all tablecloths lived up to the occasion in terms of cleanliness, presentation and quality. Apparently that’s a full-time job, with the bonus of palace lodgings and free meals to soften the blow of crummy pay.
3. Keeper of the Queen’s Stamps – salary unknown
Stamps became a recognised way to prepay for postage back in 1840. Soon after, a royal collection was started by the then-Duke Of York, later King George V, or Elizabeth’s grandfather. When she inherited the library through her father, George VI, she insisted on keeping the tradition going. Michael Sefi was appointed to the role in 2003 and served until his retirement in 2018. He would travel all over the world in search of unusual stamps to add to the collection.
4. The Grand Carver – no salary
It probably goes without saying that Elizabeth never carved her own meat. But not just anyone gets to fulfil the duty, either. Master carvery for the royal family is apparently a matter of genetics. The position is permanently held by the Earl of Denbigh and Desmond, which is a hereditary title. So when the current Earl, Alexander Fielding passes away, the responsibility will fall to his son, Peregrine, to ensure the monarch’s meat is of identical shape and thickness while still piping hot.