10 royal jobs you didn’t know existed
The royal family employs more than 1,000 people across their many estates, which, at first glance, may seem rather excessive. However, when you learn of the plethora of jobs that have been part of royal tradition since the 1500s, you come to realise that this number isn’t that far-fetched. Whilst some assignments are pretty standard (such as the personal assistants, cooks and cleaners) there are a few that you may not be aware of.
For those who have a knack for money management, Keeper of the Privy Purse is a job for you, however if you follow the cosmos more closely, perhaps look at the Astronomer Royal position. It seems that if you can think of a job that needs doing, chances are the royals not only have a position for you, but can give you a fancy title to impress too. From the Royal Horological Conservator, who is in charge of clock upkeep, to the Grand Carver, who is there to evenly slice royal poultry, the list of royal jobs is both long and surprising. has rounded up 10 of the most bizarre royal jobs you didn’t know existed. Scroll on to read about our favourites.
Keeper of the Privy Purse
This role is responsible for the financial management of the Royal Household, and works alongside the Deputy Treasurer to The Queen for the management of the Sovereign Grant (an expense which is paid annually to The Queen from the government in order to fund the monarch’s official duties). The current Keeper is Sir Michael Stevens, who has been working for Queen Elizabeth II since last year. Over the course of her reign, Her Majesty has had seven different Keepers of the Privy Purse and the earliest Keeper on record, Henry Norris, worked for King Henry VIII from 1526 – 1536.
The Astronomer Royal
Since its official existence in 1675, the Astronomer Royal advises The Queen of her cosmos and all astronomical matters, as well as occasionally speaking at services. The current appointee to this role is Martin Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow, who spoke at a memorial service for British scientist Stephen Hawking during the burial of his ashes at Westminster Abbey. It was a position created by King Charles II as he set up the Royal Observatory, and has lasted ever since.
The Royal Linen Keeper
According to the 2016 job listing, the person in this role will not only live at Buckingham Palace, but is in charge of “ensuring the cloth matches the magnificence of the banqueting table,” making sure “all linen requirements are met to the highest standards,” and conserving linen for “future generations.” With a starting salary of almost $32,000 and meals provided, the job would be perfect for linen lovers and royalists.
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Keeper of the Queens Stamps
Michael Sefi has held this position since 2003, and his job includes travelling across the globe to find unique stamps to add to The Queen’s extensive collection. The Queen was given her father George V’s collection and is determined to keep the tradition alive and well. The royal collection of stamps began in the late 1800s by the Duke of York, who later became King George V.
With 775 rooms in Buckingham Palace, one can only imagine the amount of priceless artwork, and therefore frames, that need caring for. As per the 2018 job listing, responsibilities of the Frames Conservator include evaluating the conditions of the royal frames, as well as “joining a team of talented conservation and restoration specialists” to “care for and restore picture frames to the highest standard.”
The Grand Carver
With all the hand-shaking The Queen does, you didn’t expect her to then cut her own meat, did you? That’s the job of the Grand Carver. Their responsibility is to carve up the roast meat on special occasions, a role currently held by the Earls of Denbigh and Desmond. The position of Grand Carver isn’t available for anyone, but is instead hereditary. It’s believed the gift of evenly slicing poultry is a genetic one, so the sons and daughters of the Earls may be next in line for this position!
The Royal Horological Conservator
There are more than 1,000 clocks in Buckingham Palace, and as The Queen isn’t one to use digital clocks, the Royal Horological Conservator’s role is to “undertake detailed condition surveys, before employing a range of techniques to best conserve each (clock)” as well as “regularly check clocks in situ to maintain and keep items in the best working order.”
Master of the Queen’s Music
Judith Weir is currently appointed as the Master of The Queen’s Music, a role which entails composing music for any important royal events. Masters of The Queen’s Music are generally already renowned within the classical music world, and must also be the sovereign’s advisor in ‘all things musical’. The role is traditionally held by one person under a ‘lifetime appointment’, however Judith Weir is the first to have a contracted 10-year term, and is also the first female Master in history.
Warden of the Swans and Marker of the Swans
Traditionally this position was filled by a single person who was referred to as Keeper of the Swans. However in 1993 it became a multi-person job, and thus separate positions of Warden of the Swans and Marker of the Swans was created. The job of this group includes rounding up The Queen’s swans for health checks and census, however traditionally the Keeper of the Swans would also round up the animals for a large banquet feast.
The Furniture Conservator
With most of the furniture in Buckingham Palace being both very old and very priceless, it comes as no surprise that the royal family needs someone to maintain it all. The Furniture Conservator is a job for someone with a passion for restoring historic pieces and identifying trendy decor. A recent job listing explained that “preserving a table for another century of use” is one of the main responsibilities of this role.