The secrets of the royal household are usually as closely guarded as the gates of Buckingham Palace, with the events that happen between the walls of the royal residences remaining a mystery.
Now, thanks to a former royal housekeeper who worked at the Queen’s Sandringham estate for a decade, we have a small glimpse of what it is like within the grand halls of HRH’s royal retreat.
Barbara Allred was head housekeeper at Sandringham for 10 years, and now uses her years of experience to train future butlers and housekeepers for billionaires and celebrities alike at ‘The English Manner’.
Part of her job was paying very close attention to detail, as she explained to the Daily Mail that everything was considered including, “the space between bedside tables and bed should be identical” and, “all cushion stripes should go in the same direction”.
Barbara, a former Wren, ran the Queen’s country home meticulously, however even she made a few unfortunate mistakes! On one memorable occasion, the laundry had been sent out to be cleaned by a professional firm, and when returned was hard and stiff due to too much starch used, which caused the Queen to comment at dinner, “Barbara, the napkins seem awfully stiff. One could cut one’s lip!”
As Barbara knew all too well, “When you’re working for the top, standards have to be 110 per cent, not just 100 per cent” – especially when your boss is the Queen of England! Small details are what make staying at one of The Queen’s residences such as Sandringham sound like such a pleasure and what make up some of the practical secrets of the royal household. Beds are made so that they are, “so inviting you want to dive into it” with the bedcover folded carefully into a concertina, “so if you’re cold at night, you can pull it up easily” Barbara explains.
When asked by the Daily Mail what is was like to work for The Queen, Barbara fondly recalls, “she was a delight.”
We don’t know about you, but we’d certainly like Barbara to come over to our place and turn it into a royal residence! Are you meticulous about housekeeping or do you just do what you can, when you can? (like us!) Let us know on our Facebook page.