Former royal butler opened about peculiar distraction on meeting Queen

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King Charles III’s former butler, Grant Harrold, worked for the new Monarch for seven years. During this time, he saw many key events close up such as the then Prince of Wales and Camilla’s wedding, and met many of the Royal Family, including Queen Elizabeth II, who died at the age of 96 in September. Mr Harrold has now revealed what struck him most when he was introduced to the late Monarch. 

Now a British etiquette expert, Mr Harrold had dreamed of meeting the Queen since he was 11 years old. After watching a documentary about the late Monarch two years later, he dreamed of seeing her dance and wondered how he could possibly ever make his dreams a reality. 

Then, as an adult, Mr Harrold managed to land a job with the new King in 2003 as a butler after six months of interviews. 

His role of serving meals, drinks and acting as a personal assistant meant he met many of the Royal Family, including the Queen, and finally managed to dance with her at the late Monarch and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh’s 60th wedding anniversary. 

In an interview with Slingo in August, he said: “There were lots of things over the years that I was lucky to be a part of and I even got to dance with the Queen at one of those balls I had watched on television 12 years before. Thinking about it, 12 years isn’t that long of a time to actually make those dreams a reality.”

Mr Harrold was just 26 years old when Charles first introduced him to the Queen. Although it is often thought one should never meet their heroes, Mr Harrold was delighted to be in the late Monarch’s presence. 

However, the 44-year-old was slightly distracted by the Queen’s height and kept thinking how “small” she was when they first met. The Queen, at the time of her death, is believed to have been just 5ft 3inches tall. 

Mr Harrold said: “I remember thinking how short she was, you don’t realise how short she is — that was the first thing.”

But the other thing Mr Harrold noticed was how the late Monarch did not have a “regal or royal” way about her, instead, she was “hysterical” as she made jokes. 

But Mr Harrold explained that because the Queen was the Monarch, those around her were hesitant to laugh. 

He continued: “The other thing I remember is the wonderful kind of way she had about her, she wasn’t very regal or royal, but we had a really nice conversation and I felt really relaxed around her.

“The other thing the Queen does, she would do something that was hysterical and nobody would laugh because they wouldn’t know if she was being funny or not. And you’d all look at each other like, ‘did the Queen just make a joke?’

“Then eventually somebody would laugh and you’d all go [laughs]. She’s wonderful at that and that is something that I absolutely loved. Our Queen has got a wicked sense of humour.”

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Mr Harrold said his favourite thing about being a royal butler was spending time with the Royal Family, adding that he now feels incredibly lucky to have known both the current Monarch as well as the future heir to the throne, Prince William.

He said: “There’s not a lot of people who can say they looked after three monarchs. I feel very proud to have done that, to have looked after them and to have known them.

“I’ve been gone 11 years now and yet I’m still really lucky that people still want to hear the stories. I think it’s nice for people to hear that the Royals are nice people, they are down to earth and it’s a fun place to be.”

Mr Harrold now runs the Etiquette School UK, which trains butlers for both royals and VIPs as well as private students. 

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