For the first time, Royal Archives staff records have been made available online.
Find My Past UK, in association with the Royal Archives, has launched the Royal Household Staff Lists. Find My Past says: “Previously only accessible at Windsor Castle by appointment, these rarely viewed records cover royal residences across the UK including Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and St. James’s Palace, and include 50,000 staff records from the reign of King Charles II to King George V between 1660 and 1924.
“With details such as name, occupation, age, length of service and salary, the records paint a vivid picture of life in a Royal court, revealing what it takes to run a Royal Household and the wide range of duties involved in serving the British Monarchy.
Pages, physicians and the ‘Chocolate Maker to the Queen’
“A reigning monarch typically had 1,000 staff in the Royal Household. The biggest department was the Lord Chamberlain’s Department, which had on average 700 staff and was responsible for the ceremonial and social life of the Court. Traditionally, employees in this department included the ‘above stairs’ servants such as pages, craftsmen, chaplains, physicians, musicians, watermen and Yeomen of the Guard. There are also a number of most unusual occupations listed among the Royal Household staff:
Extraordinary Job Titles in the Royal Household
- Chocolate Maker to the Queen;
- Yeoman of the Mouth to Her Majesty Queen Mary in the Pantry;
- Necessary Woman to the Corridor and Entrance Hall;
- Keeper of the Lions in the Tower;
- Master of the Game of Cock Fighting;
- Groom of the Removing Wardrobe;
- Groom of the Stole;
- Strewer of Herbs;
- Laundress of the Body Linen.
“The records reveal charming details of life in the Royal Household. Queen Anne, for example, had such a penchant for barley cream and posset, according to records from 1702, that she engaged two women of the Bedchamber to make them and other ‘spoon meats’ for £60 per annum. Examples like this provide a fascinating snapshot into royal tastes centuries ago.
Inside the Royal Kitchen
“In the run up to The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, it is also interesting to compare how the Royal Household prepared for previous Jubilee celebrations, including that of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee 115 years ago.
“According to the records, Gabriel Tschumi was Master Chef to three monarchs: Queen Victoria, King Edward VII and King George V, having joined the Royal Household as a cook’s apprentice at the age of 16. For Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee banquet in 1897, 24 additional chefs were brought over from Paris to help with the cooking. What’s more, the younger apprentices in the kitchens attempted to grow their moustaches to resemble those of their French superiors!
“The Royal Family and their guests, including several crowned heads of Europe, dined on a banquet of Normandy sole, lamb chops, roast beef, quail and tongue, with pineapple fritters and meringue for dessert.”