What is a queen without her servants? The royal household currently employs an estimated 1,200 people. While many of these staff members hold typical jobs like food service or housekeeping, others serve Her Majesty in stranger ways, such as looking after the royal swans, winding up the clocks, or breaking in those infamous kitten heels. All the pomp and circumstance surrounding these jobs might make you forget what century we're in, and will definitely make you feel like pauper.
The Grand Carver
Well you didn’t expect the Queen to cut her own meat, did you? The royal household maintains the position of Grand Carver, which literally just designates someone to carve up the roast meat on special occasions. The role is currently held by the Earls of Denbigh and Desmond. Grand Carver is a hereditary position, because apparently the gift of evenly slicing poultry is a genetic one. There’s also the separate position of Master Carver of Scotland, because clearly it's just that important.
The Royal Shoe-Wearer
Okay, so it might not be an official position, but one of the Queen’s wardrobe staffers is responsible for breaking in her heels. And for such a burdensome task, surely an honorary title is deserved. Stewart Parvin, the Queen's dress designer, explained that it’s only necessary for the Queen to have her shoes broken in so she won’t grow uncomfortable during her many events. The woman is also 90 years old, so the world probably wouldn’t begrudge her the occasional ballet flat.
Piper to the Sovereign
A position created by Queen Victoria, the Piper to the Sovereign acts as the official bagpiper for special events. His main duty, however, is to play the bagpipes every morning at 9 am for 15 minutes under the Queen’s window. Which sounds... unpleasant, at best. Lest the queen escape this peculiar form of torture, the Piper to the Sovereign travels to her residences at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Balmoral Castle, and the Palace Holyroodhouse. Of course the position is a huge honor, a real who’s-who of the bagpiping community, and only fourteen pipers have held the post since 1843.
Warden of the Swans & Marker of the Swans
Historically, this position was filled by one person and was titled Keeper of the Swans. But in 1993 it was decided that swan duty was simply not a one-man job, and thus the separate positions of Warden of the Swans and Marker of the Swans were created. These two are responsible for the annual “Swan-Upping Ceremony.” Originally, this meant the swans on the River Thames were rounded up as a delicious banquet snack. But now the event is much more animal-friendly, and the Queen’s swans are simply gathered for a census and health check. Yes, another perk of being Queen of England is that you just automatically own all of the swans.