First appointed by Queen Anne in the 1700s, The Pages of the Backstairs were created as she wanted to distinguish between the Ladies of the Bedchamber and her closest male servant.
The Pages were thought highly of and were not considered in the same category of the other domestic staff. In fact they were paid what was a a hefty amount back then, an estimated £100.
The Queen employs four Pages of the Backstairs. They are a senior servant of the Royal Household, attending to The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh.
The office of the Page’s is located next to Her Majesty’s lift, which is at the entrance to the private apartments. A Page is with her at all times. On the rare occasion when a Page is out, a deputy will take his place.
The Pages serve the drinks and meals; deal with domestic arrangements, deliver the red boxes and even the Queen’s beloved corgis are under their charge.
They are also the only individuals who grant access to members of the Household into Her Majesty and Prince Philip’s private rooms.
The control of access dates back to the Stuart era when the Pages positioned themselves, literally at the bottom off the ‘backstairs’ or Privy Stairs, which led to the Sovereigns private apartments.
One of the Pages still working at Buckingham Palace is Paul Whybrew. Whybrew is considered to be The Queen’s favourite Page. In 1982, he spoke to intruder Michael Fagan. Fagan as one may recall, was the man who broke into Buckingham Palace and spent ten minutes talking to the Queen in her bedroom.
He was appointed Sergeant-at-Arms to the Queen in 2008. During the Diamond Jubilee Honours, Whybrew already a Member of the Royal Victorian Order was awarded Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order.
One may have seen Whybrew as he was included in the video opening for the 2012 London Olympics with Her Majesty and James Bond as played by Daniel Craig.