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Prince Charles: What his butler tells about life at court

Prince Charles does not lack anything, so he has a lot of staff, from the butler to the gardener
Photo: Getty Images

An invitation to the royals?

Grant Harrold (34) knows how to behave. And how it goes in royal circles. From 2004 to 2011 he served as butler in the service of Prince Charles (64) and his Camilla (65). Today he teaches and trains butlers himself.

Of course, someone like Grant Harrold can not talk up, but in conversation with us he gave a very interesting insight into life at court.

The Royals are above all good hosts, he says. At a dinner, care is taken to serve dishes that are reasonably easy to eat, so no shellfish, artichokes or even spaghetti. But even very small peas are prohibited, as they roll too fast from the fork.

The butler also admits the rumor that Queen Elizabeth (86) always brings her own cutlery and crockery when she is invited. She would never do that. "That would be an insult to the host."

Even among the guests, who were received by the Queen or Charles, Butler Grant has never seen anyone who would have stood aside. Or Grant is just too discreet to betray this.

An anecdote does make the rounds but at the court, because a guest recently revealed himself that something embarrassing happened to him at a celebration of the Queen. The man had seen the queen making use of a bowl on the table. He assumed the "biscuits" were meant for all guests and reached for them. Only then did he see that the queen gave the biscuits to her corgis. As the guest realized, he ate dog biscuits. But he continued to chew bravely. The queen had seen everything - and made no move.

Butler's daily routine includes ironing the newspapers before reading. This prevents printing ink from rubbing off. When it comes to clothing, Grant Harrold insists that everything be ironed, including socks and underpants. He asks, frowning: "Does not everyone do that?"

Butler's most beautiful experience: At a ball in Scotland he was once allowed to dance with the Queen during a round dance. He was afraid he would step on her foot. But everything went well. "That was just wonderful. I will never forget that."