How to Work for The Queen of the United Kingdom Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

How to Work for The Queen of the United Kingdom

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Party decorations inside the palace

This Entry provides a set of guidelines for getting a job at Buckingham Palace, London, UK, and having fun while you are there. Follow the steps (there are ten of them, rather like AA but without the religiosity and the DTs) and get involved....

Great Britain is a monarchy. Its current monarch, Her Royal Britannic Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, was a bit short of cash one year after one of her houses (Windsor Castle) caught fire, and so to drum up some income to renovate it she decided to let people visit one of her other houses, Buckingham Palace - for a price, of course. Tourists were so happy about this that they demanded it be a regular event, and now Buckingham Palace is open for two months of the year, every year.

Buckingham Palace is a big place which doesn't run itself. Every year, Her Majesty sends out an appeal to the great unwashed, seeking able young men and women to staff her house while she swans off to Scotland for the summer.

Step One - Apply for a Job

Apply for a job as a warden for the Buckingham Palace summer opening, organised by Royal Collection Enterprises. The Palace is open through August and September, and recruits at the beginning of the year, bizarrely enough advertising in the staunchly republican Guardian newspaper. This is best attempted if you are a student, reasonably good looking, personable and with a decent line in banter. These attributes will make you better at your job and will also make it more likely that one of the other palace wardens will want to get into your pants/knickers/fishing waders.

Step Two - Attend the Interview

This takes place at the Palace around May, and is a doddle. All you have to do is show up, basically, and as long as you have no hideous physical deformities you are pretty much assured of the position. You will be asked what area of the Palace you want to work in. The question is irrelevant, as your choice has no actual bearing on where they put you, but as a general rule of thumb, working in the shop is fun, whereas working in the state rooms is not. At all. Unless of course you are a particularly masochistic individual with a taste in gilded awnings and bad Dutch portrait artists. While being fitted for your uniform, be aware that it may look funny now, but you will hate the starched polyester like an old school bully by the time September rolls around. This is a good point to earmark potential colleagues whom you find attractive and take them to the pub, as a precursor to trying to take them to bed in later months. The interview is not a good time to mention any latent anti-monarchist tendencies you may have.

Step Three - Get Security Clearance

Again, a doddle, unless of course you or your family are in any way connected with the IRA, Islamic Jihad, or the Black Panthers.

Step Four - Kill Time

Kill time for a few months until August. Enjoy. This is a great opportunity to get a tan in readiness for the unbridled fun and games that is Buck House.

Step Five - Turn up for your Training

Partake in the team-building exercises and attempt not to scoff as you listen to the talk of 'the immense responsibility on your shoulders to uphold the good name of the Queen'. Find out where you are working and whom you are working with, and if they are all ugly, dull and stupid, get transferred. Afterwards, it will be too late. Exchange the typical cagey initial introductions with your fellow employees, size up the competition and work out who you need to befriend in order to have the most fun and get most sex. This may sound shallow, and indeed probably is, but it's a jungle in there - don't be fooled by the gold leaf and posh accents. You are not there to be a valuable employee of the Queen. You are there to have fun, and all activities from this point in must be geared towards achieving it. There will be casualties. You have been warned. Enjoy your free tour of the Palace. Laugh behind your back at those who are duped into paying overinflated rates to see the gaudy excesses of an almost incestuously tight-knit family. Snigger childishly at the way all the men in the portraits dress to the left (it's a fact, check it out). Shudder as you receive your rota and realise that weekends are now pretty much a thing of the past. Console yourself with the thought of the free sandwiches at lunchtime. Weep softly into your tea as you taste the bilge-filled mess that is the Buckingham Palace sandwich. Wonder what you have let yourself in for.

Step Six - Get Involved

This is the fun bit; you are essentially doing a hideous, menial job, so your task is to enliven it in any way possible. Discuss risqué topics with guests, tell atrocious jokes, master Japanese1, ask for tips2, and irritate the hell out of your supervisors. Above all, banter with the customers, with each other, or with yourself if nobody else is at hand. It will make or break your experience. The work is mind numbing - you are either a shop assistant, or you are a security guard. They give you fancy titles, but they're meaningless. Do not, under any circumstances, expect to learn any useful career skills in your two-month tenure.

Step Seven - Get Drunk

Not on the job, of course - heaven forbid. No, after a hard day of obsequious toadying to tourists you will have a whole gut full of spleen to vent, and the best place to do this is at a pub - such as the Phoenix, just a short three-minute walk from the Palace. Every night it is packed with palaceites3, unburdening themselves of their woes and getting plastered. It is a nice pub, and an excellent place to indulge in a spot of Step Eight.

Step Eight - Meaningless Fling

If you can't have a meaningless fling here, you are probably dead4. In a young, drink-fuelled atmosphere with a 50/50 male/female ratio, there is much rudeness. Many try and have sex in the Throne Room; it's an exclusive club, and you'll have a surefire winner in that 'I have never...' drinking game.

Step Nine - Palace Party

A party is held for all staff at the end of the opening, ostensibly a reward for all the 'effort' you have put in over the two months. Do not be fooled into thinking this is a sedate affair. Oh no. This is a hellish vision of mass drunkenness of Dantean proportions, fuelled by free wine and very salty canapés, in which tempers fray and voices are often raised. Many people sneak off to the Throne Room in pairs. If you have made enemies in your time at the palace, and doubtless you will have, this is where you are likely to find out about it. Be on your guard, and enjoy the wine5. Oh, and do not under any circumstances attempt to thieve anything. They are watching, and they do prosecute.

Step Ten - Leave

Tearfully. Your body racked with malnutrition, your liver wrecked and your young face showing the first tell-tale yellowings of jaundice, you can return to the normal world with an inexhaustible supply of royal anecdotes, and a summer job that cannot fail to get you employment in America6. If you have performed well enough you will be asked back next year. If this happens you obviously have not enjoyed yourself enough, and you therefore owe it to yourself to return in ten months time to repeat the whole sordid process. Enjoy.

1You would not believe how grateful the Japanese are for even the most inept and mangled rendition of their staggeringly complex tongue.2This probably only works if you work in the shop - it's unbelievable how many people when asked 'do you want your change?' will ponder the question and then decide that they actually don't.3A slang term for people who work at the Palace.4You might not want to, of course, which is entirely your prerogative. Be worried if you don't get the odd come-on, though.5Although frankly, the choice of wine is a little suspect - don't expect anything too palatable.6'Bucking-ham Palace? Didjoo meet the Queen?'

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