How Much Does The Royal Family Actually Pay You To Work For Them?

Plenty of people spend their days dreaming about a life marrying a prince and living within the walls of a royal palace. But now that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have tied the knot and flown very, very far away from the coop, there won't be another royal wedding for a while. So if you're interested in stepping through the doors of Buckingham Palace, your best bet is to get a job working for the royal family. 

As detailed on their employment page, a position with the royal family works just like any other job — if that job required you to curtsy to your boss, of course — and folks looking to work with the queen apply for one of the available jobs listed online. The royal household boasts 441 employees on LinkedIn, and while plenty of these "employees" probably don't actually work for the queen — somehow, it seems unrealistic that someone is employed by the royals when they're based out of Texas — there are plenty of real-life conservators, program managers, and building supervisors on the website that currently have the royal household on their resume. What, you might ask, does a royal salary look like? Without further ado, here is how much the royal family pays its staff.

Get paid to do the royal washing-up

Do you love a well-polished gravy boat? Does the sight of shining porcelain fill you with an overwhelming sense of joy? Do you silently judge the dishwashing prowess of everyone you know? If steam-cleaning antique china is your jam, perhaps you will find your niche in the royal dish pit. According to Mirror, a 2016 job opening advertisement for a "live-in pot-washer" offered a salary of around $24,000 plus room and board.

That's about what you'd make as a dishwasher in the United States, although you typically wouldn't receive any benefits. According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the mean annual wage for a dishwasher is $25,600. But for an American, that salary definitely does not come with a cushy spot in a massive historical building. However, there's a significant difference in responsibility when it comes to washing out a diner coffee mug and handling the queen's personal Champagne flutes — according to Kitchn, she partakes in three glasses of bubbly a day — so bulls in a china shop need not apply.

Keep the royal family organized as a personal assistant

In December 2020, the royal family put up an advertisement for a job as a personal assistant for the senior manager of the Private Secretary's Office. According to Observer, the job includes "managing requests, coordinating meetings and appointments, drafting correspondence and managing inboxes" and pay comes in at under $47,000 per year.

According to the job listing on the royal household's staffing website, the position will give the successful applicant "exposure across the organization" in "a fast paced and high profile environment." The listing also stresses that the position is one of great importance, warning the candidate that "you'll have responsibility from day one" and will need to "rise to the challenge."

The Buckingham Palace-based position requires the applicant to be a "highly experienced" personal assistant, which is perfectly reasonable given that the new employee will be rubbing elbows with higher-ups from all over the world. The gig presumably includes benefits and requires travel. And as the royal family often take royal tours and shift between residences, the right candidate is likely expected to be available for some exciting trips.

Trim hedges at Windsor Castle as a gardener

As of May 2021, The royal family's staffing website had a posting looking for a gardener at Windsor Castle. Qualified applicants need "a passion for horticulture" and a wide range of experience — duties include everything from "mowing and edging" to planting new flora to "conserving the garden's rich biodiversity." The job listing doesn't include the expected salary, but a similar posting for an "assistant gardener" advertised a rate of around $25,000 per year, according to Mirror. The pay would likely be a bit higher for a more experienced candidate.

Mark Lane, head gardener for Queen Elizabeth, talked about his life as a gardener at Buckingham Palace on Instagram in 2020 (via Hello!). When asked why he's stayed in the position for so long — Lane has been working in the royal gardens for twenty-eight years — he replied, "It's a lovely environment to work in and there is always something that needs doing in the garden." Are you ready to trim the royal hedgerows as a gardener at one of the most prestigious houses in the world?

Put on your livery and hang out with the royal horses

Ready to put "liveried helper" on your business cards? If you have a "passion for horses" and are a "highly capable and confident rider," there's a job listing on the royal family's staffing website for you at Windsor Castle caring for all the queen's horses. Job duties include training horses and participating in "ceremonial activities" in addition to "maintaining all the carriages and coaches." The pay in the job listing simply claims it is "competitive" and that board is included — but according to Mirror, a previous listing for a liveried helper included a salary of around $29,000 per year.

One liveried helper featured on the royal family's website says that his "day starts at 5:30 am or 6 am," when he begins taking care of the two horses in his charge. He then exercises the horses before spending the rest of his time "cleaning kit, equipment and horses, and then preparing them for the night." He also rides "for official occasions," including "collecting new ambassadors to present their credentials to The Queen, Royal Ascot processions, Trooping of the Colour, and State Visits." Not a bad gig if you prefer pals of the equine nature.

Answer regal calls as a telephone operator

"The queen isn't available right now, can I take a message?" Get used to repeating the same phrase over and over, because according to the royal family's staffing website's official job listing, the Telephone Operator handles around "4,000 calls every week." If you are a small-talk whiz, this might be the spot for you. The job listing says that a telephone operator for Buckingham Palace earns about $32,000 per year, plus benefits, and works flexible hours between 8 am and 10 pm.

The role includes more than just answering telephones. You will also act as a switchboard operator, directing calls to the appropriate office. Through this position, says the job listing, "you will quickly become familiar with this unique and varied organisation" — so if you are looking to become a buff on all the ins and outs of the royals and their crew, this is the perfect way to brush up on your knowledge.

Market the royal grounds to tourists

A 2017 job listing for a "Business Development and Communications Manager" at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Scotland offered applicants the opportunity "to encourage hundreds of thousands of people from around the world to visit the home of Scottish Royal history." That means you would be in charge of marketing and promoting "centuries of royal history to a worldwide audience." 

The ideal candidate has a degree and "proven sales and consumer-marketing experience, ideally in the Scottish cultural heritage sector" as well as "a keen interest in the arts and history." The pay for the position comes in at about $42,000 to $45,000 annually, depending on experience. It's a "fixed term contract," meaning that the position only lasts for a year. However, experience in such a high-profile heritage tourism position would probably give your resume a boost for years to come — as the queen's official Edinburgh residence and the crown jewel of Edinburgh's Royal Mile, the Palace of Holyroodhouse would definitely be a unique place to work.

Create princely posts as a social media manager

Do you think you have enough social media savvy to maintain the queen's personal brand? A 2019 job posting on the royal family's staffing website for a "digital communications officer," whose main job duty would be to "create content for social networking and digital platforms," offered the right candidate around $42,000 per year to post on behalf of the queen. No, the job does not involve teaching the 95-year-old matriarch how the backwards selfie cam works — all of the official tweeting is up to you.

Think you are the one to take on the task? Check out some of the work posted by David Watkins. As People reported in April 2020, Watkins acted as the social media manager for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle before he joined up with Prince William and Kate Middleton.

It's important to remember this is not your average social media management gig. With millions of Instagram followers, even the smallest mistakes — like deleting a clumsily-worded post and immediately replacing it with a new one — are likely to be snapped up by the press like the original version of this 2019 post, as reported by Marie Claire.

Show off your hospitality skills as a royal butler

If you're more of a Mr. Carson than a Lady Mary, perhaps you'll find your life's calling as a royal butler. In 2019, a "trainee butler" could expect to make a salary of around $29,000 per year, according to Devon Live. The job includes perks like a room in Buckingham Palace and full board.

In a 2018 interview with South China Morning Post, Gary Williams, the president of the British Butler Institute, said that the highest-paid butler in the world at that time worked in the United States and raked in over $2 million per year. Williams also says that a highly-paid butler living in the UK can expect to make up to around $168,000 yearly, putting the position in the upper echelon of royal salaries.

Just don't try to take the title with you when you go. According to Mirror, the queen decided to take legal action against Prince Charles' former butler Grant Harrold for using the title "The Royal Butler" in his marketing materials long after he'd left his position in 2011. Harrold even posed with a wax rendering of Queen Elizabeth for a photograph on his website, making it seem as if he was serving the queen herself. According to the Tatler, Harrold ultimately lost and was "ordered to pay £2,500 towards the Royal Household's costs in the case." Not a bad price for some decent marketing.

Hold one of the oldest royal gigs as Master of the Household

The position of "Master of the Household" was established in 1539 — although according to Royal Central the job "required little to no effort" until the 1840s, when Prince Albert restructured the department. The branches that comprise the Household include "Food, General, Craft, and Housekeeping," and the department employs "over 250" people. Currently, the job is held by Anthony Johnstone-Burt. In 2016, the Daily Mail reported he was bringing in around $207,000 yearly, making him one of the most well-paid employees of the royal family.

In an interview with Forces, Johnstone-Burt, who has a military background and no experience managing a household, said that his first meeting with the queen was "surreal" and "thrilling," adding that his military background helped him with the position, which primarily involves planning events and banquets: "In the military, we have a saying — 'No plan survives contact with the enemy.' In other words, stand by for change." Johnston-Burt also said that his position was open to anybody when he applied. So if you are a master organizer, perhaps you'll become the next Master of the Household.

Take notes for Queen Elizabeth as her private secretary

According to the Royal Family, the Private Secretary to The Queen is the "channel of communication between the Head of State and the Government, not only in the United Kingdom but also in the 15 other realms of which The Queen is Sovereign," and "liaises with the Armed Forces, the Church, and the many organisations of which Her Majesty is patron."

In 2013, Evening Standard reported that Sir Christopher Geidt, the queen's private secretary at the time, had his salary frozen at roughly $204,000 per year — one of the highest salaries for an employee in the royal household. The position is currently held by Edward Young, who stepped up to the role in 2017.

The position of Private Secretary to The Queen puts its holder in the public eye and line of fire for scandal and blame. According to Tatler, Geidt was removed from his position "after he expressed strong opinions and warnings about both Prince Andrew and the Sussexes." The Times also reported that Young was blamed by "senior courtiers and even members of the royal family" for "failing to prevent the civil war that has led to Harry and Meghan fleeing to Canada." 

Tidy up as a royal maid

An advertisement for a Buckingham Palace maid in 2018 offered a salary of around $23,000 yearly, according to Express. The job does not require any experience and offers a foot in the palace door, offering potential for advancement to a higher post. Maids have the option of living in the Buckingham Palace staff quarters, but there is a salary adjustment if you're taking room and board.

Janette Huskie, a former housemaid for the royal family, told K5 News that her two years spent working at Buckingham Palace were memorable. While she only had a couple of run-ins with royalty — she met Prince Andrew, Queen Elizabeth, and Princess Diana — she looks back on the time fondly: "Being part of the Royals' life, even though it was a very, very small part, it was really exciting." Her duties included sewing on a button for Camilla Parker Bowles, cleaning the queen's bedroom, and helping out at garden parties — not a bad gig if you're trying to rub elbows with the royals.

Run the royal accounts as the Keeper of the Privy Purse

Are you a whiz with spreadsheets? Can you balance a budget of royal proportions? Perhaps you'd be a good fit for the highest-paid position within the royal household — Keeper of the Privy Purse. Sir Michael Stevens, the current Keeper, reportedly made around $250,000 in 2013, according to Evening Standard. The compensation reflects a huge amount of responsibility, as the Keeper is responsible for maintaining all of the royal family's finances.

As Keeper of the Privy Purse, Stevens is essentially the head of the Firm's accounting department. His duties include publishing financial reports that let the public know where their tax dollars are going and giving briefs on the financial state of the royal household. That means that sometimes, he's the bearer of bad news — like in 2020, when he had to publicly announce that COVID-19 reduced tourism to royal sites, which will cut royal income by $19 million over three years (via BBC). As part of the same report, he announced a "pay freeze for royal staff" — while he is the highest-paid employee at the royal household, it's doubtful announcements like that do much to boost his popularity with the rest of the staff.

Spend your days fixing Queen Victoria's chairs

Some of us who don't consider ourselves very crafty might just fix our broken furniture with a little Gorilla Glue and some shoe polish. Queen Elizabeth, however, can't just throw some duct tape on a ripped chair and call it a day. The priceless antiques within the royal halls need a little more care than you might give to that old Ikea desk — and the royal family employs just the right people for the job.

As of 2021, the job of Upholsterer is up for grabs for the right conservator, according to the royal family's staffing website. The conservation department is looking for someone with a desire to work on an "irreplaceable collection" of "historically significant items," many of which are still in daily use by members of the royal family. Ready to apply? The job pays from around $32,000 to around $35,000 and requires experience repairing historical furniture, and the position is open until December 2021.

Plan royal tours for people from across the globe

Buckingham Palace isn't just the home of the queen — it's also a massive tourist site, drawing in curious visitors from all over the world. According to the royal family's staffing website, the Operational Support Coordinator helps guests "enjoy magnificent buildings and works of art at The Queen's Gallery, The Royal Mews, and the glorious state rooms at Buckingham Palace," focusing on "the operation elements of the visitor experience.

According to the job listing, the "biggest challenge" in the role will be in the summertime, when Buckingham Palace opens to tourists. This is when you'll be required to "recruit, induct and train a temporary front-line team of over 250." You'll also be responsible for coordinating with a myriad of people so that your tourist experience is planned around events in "busy working buildings."

Pay for the job is around $39,000 plus benefits, but comes with perks like an up-close relationship with some of the most famous buildings in the world. If you're an all-in-one history buff, master scheduler, and engaging tour guide, this is the job for you.