Queen left sitting ‘virtually in the dark’ after Royal staff made a mistake

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In an exclusive interview with Slingo, former Royal footman Steven Kaye has shared his experiences of working with royalty. He worked for the Queen for three and a half years after personally writing to Her Majesty to enquire about a role within the Royal household.

Describing what happened on one occasion when things didn’t go according to plan for the Royal staff, Kaye recalled: “These sorts of things do happen quite a lot, with any job where there has to be perfection, there’s always going to be a lot of mistakes.

“But, as long as you correct those mistakes quickly, I don’t think the Queen really minds.

“She doesn’t like sloppiness, so given that it’s an accident and not deliberate, she’s usually OK.”

Recalling the incident, Mr Kaye said: “There was one occasion where the under-butler had forgotten to put candles out on the dining table.

“As it so happened, for some bizarre reason in the dining room at Windsor the lights were flickering on and off, so the Queen ordered that the lights be turned off and we’d just have candlelight – well, there were no candles.

“We were then running down to one of the pantries to find some candles and bring them up while the Queen was virtually sitting in the dark.”

Mr Kaye started working as a footman after watching a documentary that inspired him to write to Buckingham Palace and enquire if any jobs were available.

He said: “There was a documentary on TV and it was the first documentary that had ever aired about life inside the palace, it was like a backstage tour.

“I was absolutely fascinated because we’d never seen anything like that before, the state rooms hadn’t even been opened by then.

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He said: “I thought it would be a thank you, but no thank you. I opened up the letter and it said we’re interested in meeting you. I rang this number and arranged to go down to Buckingham Palace and have what they described as an ‘informal meeting’.

“The only question asked that was kind of formal was whether I was a Royalist or not – obviously, I am.

“I was shaking like a leaf all day, went home on the train thinking there was no way on earth I was going to get a job there and they rang me a day later and said we’d like to offer you two positions; the role of a footman or the role of an under butler.

“The footmen are a little more senior, an under-butler is literally looking after the silver or the glass, you don’t get to travel around much and you don’t get to see the Royals much.

“I thought if I’m going to dive in head first, I’m going to join as a footman and before I knew it I was moving into Buckingham Palace, which nothing can prepare you for.”

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