Prince Charles employs 133 staff to look after him and Camilla, more than 60 of them domestics: chefs, cooks, footmen, housemaids, gardeners, chauffeurs, cleaners, and his three personal valets—gentleman’s gentlemen—whose sole responsibility is the care of their royal master’s extensive wardrobe and choosing what he is to wear on any particular day. A serving soldier polishes the prince’s boots and shoes every day—he has 50 handmade pairs each costing over £800 by Lobb of St James’s—and a housemaid washes his underwear as soon as it is discarded. Nothing Charles or Camilla wears is ever allowed near a washing machine. Particular attention is paid to handkerchiefs, which are monogrammed and again all hand-washed, as it was found that when they were sent to a laundry, some would go missing—as souvenirs. HRH’s suits, of which he has 60, cost more than £3,000 each, and his shirts, all handmade, cost £350 a time (he has more than 200), while his collar stiffeners are solid gold or silver. Charles’s valets also iron the laces of his shoes whenever they are taken off.
We’ve been on a mad Downton Abbey-watching kick of late (it’s the real deal) but I had no idea that anyone, even the ridiculous British monarchy, still lived anything like aristocrats of the 19th century. Strange.