Listings from the royal job site suggest that staff wages are still troublingly low, with one paying less than US$30,000 per year
The royal family is currently hiring for a number of open positions—but if you think that their estimated net worth of US$28 billion means their employees are all earning high six figures, think again. While being on the support staff for The Firm is undoubtedly a rigorous role that requires stringent discretion and peak performance — after all, the world’s eyes are on any potential mistakes—staff salaries, as listed on the royal job board, still look troublingly low.
Forbes listed the royal family’s net worth as US$28 billion in 2021, an estimate largely based on the institution’s real estate holdings, but the royals get plenty of revenue to cover expenses, too. The 2021-2022 fiscal year saw over US$377 million in profits for the Crown Estate, 25 per cent of which goes to the Sovereign Grant, a fund designated to cover official expenses (personal expenses are paid out from a different fund). Those official expenses include payroll for royal family staff as well as the cost of security, housekeeping, travel and more. For 2021-2022, the Royal website reports over US$62 million designated for funding “operating costs of The Queen’s household,” with additional Sovereign Grant funds set aside for the reservicing of Buckingham Palace.
All this brings us to the current vacancies on the royal family job site, of which there are 20 with titles ranging from Windsor Castle retail assistant to Kensington Palace programme co-ordinator to Buckingham Palace senior project manager. Nearly each of these vacancies has a salary listed alongside it, though some listings note that pay is “dependent on experience,” and listed pay ranges from the equivalent of US$13.15 in hourly pay to an annual salary of roughly US$42,000
The roles with an hourly pay of US$13.15 include retail assistant and warehouse operative, both of which describe themselves as full-time roles with 37.5 working hours over five work days.
The highest-paid role listed is that of senior project manager, South Wing – reservicing, a position involved in the ongoing renovations to Buckingham Palace. This position lists a salary range of up to US$72,000 annual pay, dependent on experience, and is a full-time, permanent position. Most of the other vacancies listed by the royals offer annual salaries ranging between US$27,000 and US$42,000 for roles such as recruitment and HR assistant, archives cataloguer and senior editor.
One of the most shocking listings is for the role of senior attendant at Windsor Castle, a full-time, live-in role with a listed annual salary equivalent to a little over US$28,600. The salary line also references that pay may be “dependent on experience” and that there is a “salary adjustment” due to this being a live-in role, but it’s not clear whether the US$28,600 salary is the adjusted salary, or whether they intend to further adjust the listed pay.
Needless to say, it’s hard to believe that less than US$29,000 annually is a competitive salary for a role that requires you to live on-site for your employers, even when said employers are as prestigious as the British royal family. The royals have been criticised for their staff wages before, with Insider previously reporting in 2022 that their job postings included salaries “starting below the living wage recommended by the Living Wage Foundation.” (As of 2022, the Living Wage Foundation lists £10.90 as the UK living wage, and £11.95 as the London living wage; the royal family lists roles at both of these rates.)
The royal family responded to Insider‘s reporting at the time with the following statement denying their claims: “It is disappointing to find glaring inaccuracies and outdated information being relied on for a series of ill-informed and baseless claims about the operations of The Royal Household.” They did not respond to Insider’s request for further clarification on where these inaccuracies lay.
The roles that don’t list associated salaries on this job board may pay more than what’s described here, but the overall message of the salaries they do include is clear: Just because you’re working in a palace doesn’t mean there’s anything royal about your paycheck.
This article was first published on Robb Report USA