Young Royals the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, or just Kate and Wills as they are mostly known, were left shocked when their much-loved housekeeper and personal assistant quit because the work was "too demanding." The $40,000 a year position looked on paper like the dream job - you can live in a palace, travel around the world, and rub shoulders with one of the most respected families in the world. However, reality clearly has a different story to tell.
Now with a third child due in summer, Kate and Wills have a nanny working overtime but will she stick it out or run out the door like their former staffer? One source told the Daily Express, "Sadie is a hard worker but the jobs got too much, even for her. She wasn't having a normal life outside of work." So what exactly is expected from the person who is in charge of looking after the next heir to the throne?
Former staff members, nanny experts, Royal insiders all give their account of the dark secrets that take place on the other side of the palace gates. Knowing everything we do now, all we can say to the new nanny in charge - best of luck, you might need it.
Rosemary Albone, a nanny expert who trained at the prestigious nanny school told Care.com that due to privacy issues the appointed nanny will have to give up her own personal life. Or, to stop these awkward conversations, a nanny who has a single status and is child-free herself might be selected. This is to avoid any breach of confidentiality as we are most likely to spill dark secrets to a significant other - something the Royal family fear the most.
Albone explained, "As the nanny has the most contact with the royal baby, she will need to be particularly tuned into issues of confidentiality and privacy. The nanny’s own private life will be closely looked at and observed and so she may need to put her own personal life on hold for a while.” Or at least until the children grow up.
Royal nannies might look like the perfect Mary Poppins but they are assassins when it comes to hostile situations thanks to their intense combat training. At Elite Norland College, they train how to drop kick, chop and punch potential attackers alongside specialist driving lessons in case a high-speed chase every takes place. (And we thought it was just shaking a rattle and changing nappies.) The $16,000-a-year school also gives lifeguard training and first aid practice.
A spokesperson for the school said, "We teach our students that the safety and well-being of the children is their priority. All of our training is about equipping our students with the knowledge and skills they need to care for children in a modern age." So don't approach Prince George or Princess Charlotte or you can expect a karate chop from the nanny.
According to documents unearthed by The Observer, it was revealed that the Queen Mother was "ruthless" to Queen Elizabeth's nanny, Marion Crawford. Crawford, or "Crawfie" as she was called by Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, was by the side of the future monarch for 17 years. Then she was cast out for allegedly selling intimate stories about the royal family to the press - however, the truth was eventually revealed that it was actually the Palace itself that leaked the stories because they believed it would show the Royals in a good light. Crawfie was just the scapegoat.
Crawfie was so devastated that she was forced out the job she attempted to take her own life - twice. Royal writer Anthony Holden told The Observer, "Crawfie was extremely badly treated by the Queen Mother and by all the royals. It is symptomatic of the ruthless and brutal cold-heartedness of that family and of the way they treat the victims they leave in their wake who, including Diana, have generally done them great service."
Sure a uniform that hasn't been updated in 125 years might be uncomfortable to wear but the good news is that Kate and Wills' nanny only has to dress up for very special occasions. During the wedding of Pippa Middleton to financier James Matthews, nanny Maria Borrallo looked like something out of the 1950s in her beige dress complete with a Norland bowler hat and pristine white gloves. Secretly behind closed doors, she can slip into something more comfortable and throw on a pair of jeans.
Maria was born in Madrid and she has much better taste when it comes to fashion as she's already introduced Kate to Spanish childrenswear labels, including Pepa & Co and M&H, according to Tatler. She was first appointed as the nanny for Prince George when the young heir was just eight-months-old and she lives at Kensington Palace with the family.
If you read a job description that allowed you to travel - fully paid - around the world, you'd likely be very excited. However, the jet-setting lifestyle of a Royal nanny isn't as glamorous as it sounds. Telegraph reporter Gordon Rayner, who has attended 20 royal tours, revealed, "Touring the world meeting heads of state and being shown cultural treasures sounds like a wonderful life. Yet I have no envy. Their visits to world-famous sites rarely last more than 40 minutes, and the chances are they will never return."
Aged just 4 and 2-years-old, Prince George and Princess Charlotte have visited the Caribbean island of Mustique, Germany, Poland, Australia, New Zealand and the French Alps. The young Royals are so used to flying that a hilarious video made its way online of them both physically pulling their parents onto a plane in a hurry.
Not just anybody can be a nanny to a prince and a princess, which takes three years of training before you're even considered for the role. Norland said the process is "tough and realistic" adding "we put (the nannies) under as much pressure as we can." That's why they are known for producing some of the most sought-after childcarers in the world.
Also, everyone who wishes to attend Norland must be there for the right reasons; they must love children and not want to just grab a job to live the high society life. Norland graduate, Hannah Brown, told The Telegraph, "You have to write an essay on why you want to go to Norland and read a children’s story. The interview is designed to make sure you’re in this because you love children, not for any perks that might come with the job."
Behind closed doors, there's quite often a wild party or two taking place at the palaces which is a well-kept secret amongst the Royal staffer. In court documents, former Royal Protection Officer Paul Page made a series of shocking allegations about a culture of heavy drinking and corruption amongst the Royal employees. He also revealed that the staff thought it was "natural" to turn up to work feeling less than fresh and use one of the 775 bedrooms at Buckingham Palace to sleep off the effects.
It's even known that the Royals keep secret stashes of alcohol hidden away. Telegraph reporter Gordon Rayner revealed, "Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall (Camilla Parker-Bowles) sometimes take their own alcohol (when they travel). Their police bodyguard will discreetly carry a bag of their drinks - gin and tonic for him and red wine for her." Looks like everyone is in on it together.
When it comes to discipline, using a stern voice with the children is fine but there should absolutely not be any physical contact. Borrallo's training at Norland forbids it as their motto is: "A child is never naughty." Writer Louise Heren, who wrote the book British Nannies and the Great War, revealed to the Daily Express, "(The nanny) will never ever smack. They will be struck off if they do. A child is never naughty but the behavior is.”
Royal insiders and the security team have managed to keep much of Barrollo's personal history out of the press - as far as they would like everyone to believe is that she just popped up from nowhere. However, the Daily Express did manage to track down her own mother who said of her daughter, "I am very proud, that’s all I can say.”
If you think that the Royal staff go to bed each night in a four poster bed with the finest silky bedsheets then you couldn't be more wrong. Former Palace employee, Ryan Parry, told the Daily Mirror that the rooms provided were "basic” and “like a university hall of residence; a single bed, a wardrobe and a sink.” For the honor, the staff has to pay for accommodation from their own salary, and the BBC reported it'usually anywhere between 20-30% of their take-home pay. Due to tight security measures, it's either this accommodation or nothing at all.
Parry also revealed that he was shocked at just how easily the staff is instantly trusted once they are handed the job. He said just two days into his employment, he was told to grab his passport and jump on a plane with the Royal family. Well, at least there are some perks to the job.
As a Royal nanny, you have to be 100% dedicated to the job and that means 24/7 childcare when needed. They even have the important job of teaching the baby how to start crawling. Author Louise Heren told the Daily Express, "If (Prince George) is crawling, she will have worked out what has attracted his attention and move that beaker or toy a couple of yards further away each time.”
When these big moments in the child's life happen, the nanny has to make sure she shares with the parents every detail so they don't feel left out. Nanny expert Rosemary Albone told Care.com, "It is as important to share the news of a snail discovered in the garden on a walk as it is to talk about meals eaten and naps taken. Whether a family is made up of working parents or royal parents, it can be tricky to find time together."
Prince George and Princess Charlotte are never short of staff ready to look after their every need. Alongside their devoted nanny, they also have a chef to prepare their meals, a team of nursemaids looking after the health care duties, domestic staff to clean up after them and deal with the day-to-day running of the nursery, a security team, a travel team for their tours (and even the school run!), a publicist (yes, really), and an event planner for their birthday or any other special occasion.
When Prince William was asked about his Royal heir's most recent celebration - his 4th birthday - he replied candidly, "He's far too spoilt.” It's reported that the toddler had received more than 700 presents from well-wishers. We wonder if he managed to open them all?
Kate and William are considered young parents in the Royal family as she had her first child at 32-years-old. Prince William was 31. Although the Queen gave birth ten years younger than her granddaughter-in-law did, times have changed and Royals are expected to wait before they begin producing potential heirs to the throne. That said, Albone told Care.com that it will be their nanny's role to teach them everything she knows. She explained, "Former royal nannies have been able to offer their views, make suggestions and use their professional skills, but today's modern nannies are freer to play a more significant part in the equation - drawing on their experiences and qualifications."
This even comes down to what plates the children eat from as former Kensington Palace chef, Darren McGrady, told Today, "I’m sure Kate will have input into what dishes the baby will have, but the nanny will have the ultimate say.”
When Kate first announced her pregnancy, she had her heart set on mother Carole Middleton being the nanny. The Mirror reported at the time, "Carole may even move in with them when the baby’s born so they don’t have to rely on a nanny." However, these plans were ditched as it's clearly against Royal protocol, as much as Carole is a devoted Gran - she hasn't had the intensive training needed to manage trips with the future King in public.
Carole already was left unimpressed when she wasn't allowed to assist in organizing her daughter's wedding. An insider told The Daily Mail, "Carole was so frustrated with Kate's wedding. Organizing your daughter's wedding is the high point of a mother's life. She didn't have so much to do with Kate's so you can imagine how she is loving being involved with Pippa's." Now, with the majority of the childcare handed over to the nanny, we're guessing she's seeing red once again.
Buckingham Palace was originally built as a large townhouse in 1703 and eventually expanded to become the grand building that it is today. With more than 300 centuries of history between the walls, it's no wonder there might be a few ghosts of the past still stalking the hallways. If you are taking on a role in the Royal household then prepared to be spooked.
Royal Central reported that a monk haunts the rear terrace at night, the spirit of a former tortured soul who supposedly died in his cell. Another sighting was of King Edward VII Private Secretary Major John Gwynne. The story is, the Major divorced his wife but this caused a scandal at the palace. He then, in desperation, took his own life in his first-floor office and this is where his ghost haunts at night.
Like most employers, the Queen also hands out Christmas gifts to her staff but the trick to getting your hands on something valuable is sticking with your job for many years. Royal Central revealed, "The longer the member of staff has served, the higher in value their present is. This tradition has been sustained throughout the Queen’s reign." Kate and Wills will likely follow this tradition and reward loyalty in such a way too.
Another secret behind the palace gates is the free gifts the Royals receive, which are often worth thousands, are handed over freely to the staff. Former personal butler to Princess Diana, Paul Burrell, told reporters, "It was not unusual for Prince Charles to return from a polo match with a prize from one of the sponsors - Cartier, Rolex or Dunhill - and toss the unwanted gift in my direction - if a royal protection officer hadn't collared it first." Let's hope the Royal nanny gets just as lucky when Wills returns from the polo.
If they are looking for an easy life, the nannies should learn rule number one of the household very early on - the Queen's beloved corgis are top dog. For many of the staffers, certain places within the Palace are off limits, but if you have four paws and a wet nose those rules don't apply.
Royal journalist Brian Hoey wrote in his tell-all book, Not In Front Of The Corgis, "The Queen's Corgis are allowed unrestricted access to any part of any Royal residence; nowhere is off-limits. They also are not fully house-trained so a supply of soda water and blotting paper is kept at hand just in case of any ‘little accidents.'" Borrallo will see a lot of the families spaniel Lupo and she might have to answer to this pooch too.
Sources: bbc.com, royalcentral.com, theguardian.com