There’s no doubt that The Royal Household is the most prestigious household in the country. From simply how it handles dinner service, to the literal red carpet it roles out to guests, many consider it a high honour to work in the Royal Household despite its reputation for less-than-royal pay to staff.
In a recent book we had the good fortune to read, entitled Not In Front Of The Corgis, a fascinating insight was given into the Royal Household like no other.
Firstly, simply the title of the book ‘Not in front of the Corgis’ has a whole backstory to it. The author of the book, Brian Hoey, describes how he was at Buckingham Palace one day and came across two footmen talking in a hallway. He stopped to ask them whether they were conspiring, to which one said, “Please sir, not in front of the corgis”. It then transpired that this is a phrase commonly used inside the Royal Household to signify that The Queen is coming, as the corgis always lead the escort.
Other interesting features include Buckingham Palace featuring a lift (elevator) which was designed for the Royal Family with the speed of its elevation slowed right down, Hoey describes how this was for Prince Charles and Princess Anne when they were children.
We also learn how Her Majesty sometimes doesn’t have to wait for television programmes to be broadcast and has an arrangement with the BBC for them to provide films to the Royal Household so Her Majesty can play them at her own leisure. Prince Andrew, on the other hand, is said to have a backlog on his TV Recorder of around a year’s worth of content which he insists on keeping and won’t let his staff delete.
The book is also filled with fascinating anecdotes about life ‘behind the green baize door’ as it’s described in the book. One story reads that the late Diana, Princess of Wales was once asked by a less-than-informed member of the public how her father Winston Churchill was doing, miss out the obvious mistake here and one still wonders how this member of the public came to this question, as Churchill had been dead for decades at the time.
Another boot-in-the-mouth incident was when Princess Anne was asked by a sponsor at a fundraising event in Houston, Texas to pass on their congratulations to Anne’s mother, The Queen, on being re-elected. In true Royal style, Princess Anne didn’t correct them and simply thanked them for their words.
We learn that Buckingham Palace is not always treated with as much affection by Her Majesty and the Royal Family as some of the other Royal residences. To the Royal Family, Buckingham Palace is known simply as ‘the House’. It is widely regarded that Sandringham House is one of The Queen’s favourite residences and that she sees Buckingham Palace as her kind of working residence, not quite fancying the central London location of it.