While the British royal family may seem polished and perfect, keeping this impeccable public image intact means hiding a few secrets behind palace walls. But from time to time some juicy tidbits leak to the press, and we get to learn more about how the royals truly act when no one is looking. Prince Charles, for one, allegedly has a very unusual request of his staff – and it’s all to do with his time in the bathroom.
Yes, while the public does get to see the royals in action when they attend events, walk red carpets and make official visits to other countries, the family keep their personal routines private. That is, until a supposed inside source makes allegations to the press. And this is precisely what happened to Prince Charles, who’s next in line to the English throne.
You’re probably thinking, though, that Charles’ household staff would simply help him with the chores that the rest of us have to do. After all, you wouldn’t expect to see the Prince of Wales making his bed or loading the dishwasher. But, apparently, his team have much more responsibility than that. And one particular request is especially outlandish – even if it’s on behalf of a future king.
Of course, for many of us, morning routines don’t require help; we roll out of bed, brush our teeth and get dressed without a personal assistant. But Charles has a full cohort of staff ready to make his waking hours as pain-free as possible, and that’s precisely what they do.
So, who spoke out about Charles’ strange daily requirements? That individual was none other than Paul Burrell – a confidant of the future king’s ex-wife, Princess Diana. He once worked as her butler, meaning he had close ties to the royal family. And, naturally, this gives him a better idea than most of what happens behind closed doors.
In particular, Burrell spilled all in an Amazon Prime documentary called Serving the Royals: Inside the Firm. There, he detailed what he claims is Charles’ morning routine – which encompasses the expected, the understandable and the altogether bizarre. And, in fact, the royal household itself is probably a lot more diverse than you think when it comes to responsibilities.
According to the royal family’s official website, their staffers “[provide invaluable] support to [them] – enabling them to fulfill their duties and serve the nation.” And while there are plenty of people in service-centric positions, there are also IT workers, human resources officials, financial experts, engineers and more on the team.
As of 2017, the Queen and the rest of the royal family had approximately 1,500 people working for them, according to the National Geographic London Book of Lists. And there are some more unusual positions in the mix. Among these is the Master of the Horse – a role created in 1340 and maintained to this day.
Simply put, the Master of the Horse has the responsibility of being next to the Queen and her horse. Yes, that’s basically it. Years ago, such a job would be much more important than it is today. Now, though, the Master of the Horse fulfills a mostly ceremonial role – although they do look over carriages and equines prior to public displays.
Another position that’s more honorary than hands-on is that of the Astronomer Royal. This job was created in the 17th century when King Charles II needed accurate maps so that British ships could navigate the seas with the stars overhead. Today, however, the Astronomer Royal mostly “[advises] the Queen on astronomical matters,” according to Royal Museums Greenwich.
And alongside their butlers, chefs, nannies and chauffeurs, the royals have a few other staff members with quirky tasks to perform. For instance, website The List claims that they have a food taster who eats a bite of the queen’s meal before she digs in. The family apparently also have an official composer, someone who slices their roast meats and a person to keep the over 450 clocks in Windsor Castle wound and ticking.
So, what it’s like to work for the U.K’s most famous clan? Well, a few former staffers have spilled the beans, and in general they have only positive things to say. That was the case when an ex-butler to Charles and his wife, Camilla, spoke to Town & Country in 2019.
Grant Harrold said, “One of the best things about working for the royal family is when you are recognized for your hard work. The family would show this by inviting staff to Christmas parties, tea parties and balls. A fond memory of mine is getting to dance with the Queen at the Gillies Ball in the Balmoral ballroom.”
But those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities come at a cost for many employees. Erstwhile royal protection officer Simon Morgan pointed out just how much was at stake when speaking to Town & Country, saying, “You are working for the world’s number one family, and there is nowhere in the world they can go without being recognized.”
Morgan’s role in security came, then, with a whole lot of pressure. He explained, “Anything that goes wrong has massive implications, which include the threat of life.” And the royals grow used to this type of care from their staff – from protection officers to butlers and beyond.
In fact, Morgan added, members of the family require an exceptional “cradle-to-grave” service. So, if a new employee fails to fit the bill, they’ll just have to find another job, and the clan will instead find someone who can fill the role as it is expected.
One person who may have this cradle-to-grave mentality is Charles – the first-born child of Prince Philip and the Queen. Owing to his mother’s record-breaking reign, he has become the longest-serving heir apparent ever of the British monarchy.
Over the years, then, the Prince of Wales has built a sizable staff around himself and his wife, Camilla. The pair reside in Clarence House – one of London’s last remaining aristocratic townhouses that lies just a stone’s throw away from Buckingham Palace. And, naturally, quite a few people are required to keep the property running.
Indeed, as of April 2020, Charles had at least 200 people working for him, according to the Mail on Sunday. And one alleged source claimed that the Prince of Wales can be a demanding boss. They told the Daily Express in 2018, “For some of those who serve in [Charles’] household, he’s difficult to work with. You’ve got to do what he says, [and] he is very hard work.”
In fact, some pretty interesting claims about Charles have come to light, and they seem to corroborate the suggestion that he’s got high standards for his staff. For his 2018 biography Rebel Prince: The Power, Passion and Defiance of Prince Charles, author Tom Bower interviewed more than 120 people from the future king’s staff and inner circle. And the revelations that emerged paint an intriguing picture of Charles’ life behind closed doors.
The biography claims, for instance, that Charles refuses to use pesticides on his property. Yet while this sounds a suitably planet-friendly decision, it allegedly comes at the expense of his gardening staff. Supposedly, four of them have to lay on a trailer transported by a gently driven car so that they can pick weeds from the grass by hand.
The book also states that Charles has his gardening staff working nights to pluck slugs from plants. And, apparently, the Prince of Wales doesn’t sit on unknown toilet seats when he travels; instead, he brings his own.
Then there are the supposed rules for Charles’ staff inside Clarence House. Apparently, guests to the lavish townhouse have footmen who take them to their rooms – which, by itself, is nothing unusual. But, strangely enough, the same employee will never bring a visitor all the way to their destination. Instead, the Prince of Wales is said to assign his footmen to cover only a small amount of space each, meaning they have to pass guests to another staff member once they reach the edge of their territory.
Charles’ employees have also claimed that he has strange – and sometimes inconvenient – eating habits. Reportedly, the prince follows a schedule that seems to mimic intermittent fasting, sitting down for a small breakfast in the morning and only eating one more meal after that in the evening.
And Charles’ busy schedule can be a bit of an issue for his staff members. In 2004, one purported employee told the Daily Mail, “It can be a problem sometimes. When we do day visits or foreign tours, [the prince] can go the whole day without stopping for a break, which means we all have to miss our lunch as well.”
Thankfully, Charles’ staff know what to do to compensate. The alleged insider added, “[Avoiding lunch is] good in a way [for Charles] because it means he has time to meet more people, but he doesn’t seem to notice all the rumbling stomachs around him. You just learn that you have to have a big breakfast on those days.”
What’s more, it seems that Charles may have some pretty strict requirements for life on the homefront. And arguably the strangest one of all revolves around his time in the bathroom. That said, he definitely wouldn’t be the only royal family member with a very stringent routine.
After all, the Queen’s mornings apparently follow a very regimented schedule, too. It’s reported that at 7:30 a.m. a staffer enters her chamber after a light knock. They bring with them a pot of the monarch’s favorite Earl Grey tea, which she sips for the next half an hour.
Workers then begin preparing the Queen’s morning bath while she takes her tea, as she prefers to have a soak at 8:00 a.m. on the dot. Allegedly, a royal staff member also checks the temperature of the water with a thermometer to ensure that it’s perfectly suited to the Queen’s needs.
It’s even said that an employee measures the water level in the bath to make sure that it is never above seven inches. Why the Queen requires this is unclear, but one thing is for sure: this attention to detail appears to have passed onto her son and heir apparent, Charles.
The claims about the Prince of Wales’ morning routine came to light in the Amazon Prime documentary Serving the Royals: Inside the Firm. And Burrell – who famously once served as the late Princess Diana’s butler – spilled what he knew about Charles. Firstly, he covered what he said were the future king’s clothing requirements.
According to Burrell, Charles requires that “his pajamas are pressed every morning.” After that, a member of the royal household allegedly turns the iron onto something unexpected: the prince’s shoelaces. And, of course, there’s the bathroom to get ready, too.
So, Charles’ staff grab the prince a towel and gather his clothing for the day ahead. But, of course, it’s not as simple as that. Burrell claimed, “[Charles’] underwear is folded in a certain way, and his bath towel has to be placed in a certain fashion.”
And Charles is allegedly just like his mother; he won’t just hop into any bathtub. Instead, Burrell said, “The bath plug has to be in a certain position, and the water temperature has to be just tepid.” But that’s still not the most specific – or strangest – of the Prince of Wales’ alleged requests of his personal staff.
Bizarrely, Charles supposedly has his team prepare his toothbrush in the morning – although they have to be careful about how they do that job, too. Burrell claimed, you see, that the prince “has his valets squeeze one inch of toothpaste onto his toothbrush every morning.” He didn’t specify, though, whether an employee had to measure this.
Yet Burrell went on to suggest that Charles’ royal upbringing had influenced his quirky demands. Diana’s one-time butler theorized, “The Prince of Wales has grown up in such a privileged lifestyle that he doesn’t have the mechanics to choose for himself anymore.” Apparently, he can’t even reach the things that he decides he wants, either.
In any case, it’s been reported that Charles asks his butlers to give him things that sit just a few feet away from him. And this allegation falls right in line with Burrell’s previous assertion as well as another statement that he made in the documentary. The former butler said of the prince, “Absolutely everything is done for him.”
Burrell even recalled one of the menial tasks that he claimed Charles had assigned to him. The former staffer said, “On one occasion, [the Prince of Wales] rang me from his library, and he said, ‘Oh, Paul, a letter from the Queen seems to have fallen into my wastepaper bin. Would you pick it out?’”
Burrell also alleged, “If anyone gets anything wrong, everybody is scolded.” And this – combined with his alleged laundry list of sometimes outlandish demands – has reportedly earned the Queen’s heir apparent a very apt nickname in some quarters: the “Pampered Prince.”
Yet Charles has previously denied these so-called insider tips. And in the end, only he and his staff know the truth. What we get is the polished royal image that the British royal family presents to the public, and that’s likely what we can expect to see for as long as the monarchy endures.
But just as details about Charles’ day-to-day routine have leaked, so too have tidbits about his relationships with his family members. And, apparently, Prince Harry’s decision to move his family across the pond has left the heir to the throne lamenting one thing in particular.
Yes, while Charles is heir to the British throne and possesses all the prestige and power that entails, he’s just like many parents in one respect. Now that his sons are grown, he can’t control what they decide to do – as much as he may like to, anyway. And after Harry made a monumental decision, it apparently left Charles with a major regret about his grandchild Archie.
Archie, of course, is the first child of Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle. And the couple, who originally met in the summer of 2016, have courted controversy in a way British royals rarely do. Practically every move that they make is scrutinized, too, in countless newspapers, magazines and websites.
But in some ways, Harry has been able to behave in a manner that his brother, Prince William, never could. And that’s down to the fact that William will almost certainly become king one day. As Charles’ eldest son, William will inherit the throne after his father, who himself will become monarch after his mother, the current Queen Elizabeth II.
However, as Charles’ second son, Harry – three years William’s junior – finds himself sixth in line to the throne. Indeed, Harry’s father, brother and brother’s children – Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis – are all ahead of him in the pecking order. So, in all likelihood, Harry will never be king.
Still, Harry has been highly thought of over the years, with his penchant for mischief making him one of the most popular members of the British royal family. Yes, in his younger days, the prince was well-known for his misadventures – behavior that was not typically associated with the formal reputation of the Windsors.
Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, was arguably as much of a royal rule-breaker as her son would come to be. This may explain, too, why she somewhat fell out of favor with her in-laws once she and Charles had divorced. And, famously, Diana was beloved across the world, with her death in 1997 prompting a practically unprecedented outpouring of grief internationally.
That said, Harry has been even more outlandish in his behavior. At 16, he reportedly used marijuana, while in 2005 he was pictured at a costume party wearing a Nazi uniform. He has also been photographed naked at a party in Las Vegas and has scuffled with a photographer on more than one occasion.
The prince seemed to grow up, though, after attending the U.K.’s prestigious Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst and eventually becoming an army lieutenant. Harry went on to serve in the armed forces for ten years, in fact, and saw active service twice in Afghanistan.
Since leaving the army, though, Harry has dedicated his time to charitable causes. And his patronages are varied, too, with the prince supporting organizations that focus on animal conservation in Africa, children’s education programs, mental health organizations, services that support ex-servicemen and women and sporting programs. Perhaps most famously, Harry became the founder of the Invictus Games – a sporting event for active or retired servicemen and women who have been injured during duty.
And Harry’s charitable work mirrors that of his father. Yes, Charles has long been passionate about such endeavors and has established many support organizations throughout the years. His website attests to this, saying, “For over 40 years, the Prince of Wales has been a leader in identifying charitable need and setting up and driving forward charities to meet it.”
Some media outlets have claimed, though, that Charles and Harry share a complex relationship as father and son. Reportedly, that’s also the case when it comes to Harry and his stepmother Camilla. Yet while Charles and Camilla are not seen as particularly popular members of the royal family, Harry has arguably been one of the British public’s favorites for a while now.
Indeed, in 2019 Harry was voted as the second most popular member of his family – behind only the Queen – in a survey conducted by market research firm YouGov. But things have arguably begun to change after the Duke of Sussex’s marriage to Meghan. As fans know, the two first met on a blind date back in 2016.
Harry and Meghan apparently became quickly smitten with each other, leading the prince to ask his love interest to accompany him on a holiday to Botswana. And the relationship blossomed from there, although it wasn’t until the Invictus Games of 2017 – more than a year later – that the couple were finally photographed together holding hands.
Unsurprisingly, the news that Harry had a serious girlfriend sparked a feeding frenzy in the British media. But from almost the beginning, the prince was critical of the perceived treatment of his new love. Upon confirming the relationship in 2016, he even went so far as to describe the behavior of some elements of the press as “a wave of abuse and harassment.”
Still, the media scrutiny didn’t stop Harry and Meghan from taking things to the next level. Yes, in November 2017 the prince proposed to the actress, presenting her with a ring made from diamonds that had once belonged to Diana.
Then, soon after announcing their engagement, Harry and Meghan sat down for an interview with the BBC. There, the pair revealed details of their courtship, the proposal and their plans for the future. It was announced, for instance, that Meghan would give up acting and instead dedicate her time to charitable causes.
And when Harry and Meghan finally tied the knot in May 2018, it became one of the biggest events of the year, with an estimated 1.9 billion people around the world tuning in to watch the ceremony on television. Further good news came five months later, when the newlyweds revealed that they were expecting their first child.
Naturally, the press continued to track Harry and Meghan, although the two made moves towards retaining some semblance of privacy. Unlike William and his wife, Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex wouldn’t be posing for photos outside the hospital with their new arrival.
Then on May 6, 2019, Meghan gave birth to a baby boy named Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. He became Queen Elizabeth II’s eighth grandchild and immediately entered the line of succession in seventh position. And it appeared that Harry was in love with his new son, describing Archie as “absolutely to die for.”
Yet while both the birth and Archie’s subsequent christening were totally private affairs, Harry and Meghan were apparently still experiencing unwanted intrusion from the press. During the 2019 British TV documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey, the prince even drew parallels between his experience with the media and what his late mother, Diana, had encountered during her life.
Harry said of his mom, “Everything that she went through, and what happened to her, is incredibly important every single day. And that is not me being paranoid.” He added, “Part of this job is putting on a brave face, but for me and my wife, there is a lot of stuff that hurts – especially when the majority of it is untrue.”
Separately, Meghan also took legal action against the Daily Mail over the printing of a personal letter. And Harry only added further fuel to the fire when he claimed, in court documents, that his phone had been hacked by several newspapers.
Then, during the holiday period in 2019, the couple jetted off with Archie to Canada to enjoy an extended family break. And while there, they may have begun hatching plans for the future. In any case, Harry and Meghan were soon to drop a bombshell that would take everyone aback – even, reportedly, the prince’s own family.
In a January 2020 press release, Harry and Meghan explained, “We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen. We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honor our duty to the Queen, the Commonwealth and our patronages.”
As royal announcements go, this one was up there with the most shocking. What’s more, it seems that neither Charles nor William had been consulted about any of it. With that, the couple packed up and headed off to Los Angeles weeks later, leaving the British media and public stunned.
And the official response from Buckingham Palace was telling. “Discussions with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage. We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through,” the statement from the Queen’s residence read.
But what of Harry’s father? Well, with all the drama surrounding the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Charles has somewhat been left in the shuffle. The Prince of Wales has long been the only parent of both William and Harry after the passing of Diana in 1997 – although they do have a stepmother in Camilla.
And whatever his private thoughts at Harry and Meghan’s decision to step aside from royal duties, Charles hasn’t expressed any dissatisfaction in public. Still, the Prince of Wales has reportedly admitted that he has one major regret when it comes to his son and daughter-in-law’s relocation to the States. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s all to do with his grandson Archie.
You see, when Harry and Meghan announced their intention to start a new life, Archie was less than a year old. And, naturally, when a baby is so small, a grandfather often wishes to be close by to see the youngster or lend a hand to their parents. Now that Harry and his wife and child are based abroad, though, Charles is said to “personally regret the fact [that] he won’t see his son and family.”
That’s according to Nigel Cawthorne, who is the author of Prince Andrew, Epstein and the Palace. And he believes that Charles had been accepting of what Harry and Meghan were trying to do. “I think [the Prince of Wales] genuinely made an attempt to support what Harry and Meghan were looking for as long as it wouldn’t upset other HRHs,” Cawthorne told The Sun in July 2020.
In addition, Cawthorne claimed, Charles acknowledged that any efforts to influence his son would have been in vain. “In truth, however, there wasn’t a lot he could do apart from offering moral support,” the writer explained. Ultimately, then, Charles would’ve had to accept the decision.
Nevertheless, Harry and Meghan’s move has likely affected Charles’ future plans once he becomes king. According to Cawthorne, the heir to the throne intended to “slim down” the British royal family – referred to colloquially as “The Firm.” And his youngest son and daughter-in-law would apparently have been key figures in the new setup.
While speaking to the Daily Express in July 2020, Cawthorne said, “[Charles] was delighted with Meghan and, undoubtedly, would have continued to draw the Sussexes in more. [He] would have tried to expand their role within the Firm as much as could be expected. Of course, when [Harry and Meghan] decided to emigrate, all that had to come to an end.”
Despite his apparent regret about not being able to see Archie so often, though, Charles reportedly maintains a strong relationship with Harry. “Harry is and always has been incredibly close to his father. And nothing that has happened in the last few months has changed that,” a source close to the father and son told The Sun.
The insider added, “Charles, in particular, felt that the work and causes Harry and Meghan were embarking on could be really served by remaining within the royal household. But like any loving father, now [that] Harry has made his decision, Charles is keen to support him.”
And during a recent trip to the U.K., Harry supposedly spent plenty of time with Charles. “Since Harry came back, he has seen his father, and they have discussed what Harry wants to do in the future. Harry hugely respects his father’s opinion and has welcomed the advice,” the Sun’s source further explained.
As a grandfather, it’s perfectly understandable that Charles will miss seeing Archie grow up for the most part. And while there may be plenty of visits to his grandson when time allows, the Prince of Wales will have to deal with the fact that he can’t just travel a few miles to get some family time anymore.
Harry and Meghan may well add to their brood in the future, too. And even though the couple have relinquished many of their royal duties, their every move will likely continue to be scrutinized – regardless of whether their frosty relationship with the press improves.
What this means for Charles, Harry and Archie is anyone’s guess. Yet only the hardest of hearts would wish to see a wedge driven between a grandfather, son and grandson. At least with the great wealth and prestige at their disposal, facilitating visits shouldn’t be too hard to achieve.
So whatever lies in store for Meghan and Harry, they’ll undoubtedly remain in the public eye. And as the public will undoubtedly be eager to look at contemporary photos of Archie as he grows up, it’ll probably mean that Charles is only ever a phone-click away from seeing his grandson.