If You Want to Work for the Prince and Princess of Wales, You Have To Pass a Truly Bizarre Test First

We, um, were not expecting this.

Prince William, Kate Middleton
(Image credit: Getty)

Whatever you might expect to take place in a job interview to work in the Royal Household—specifically for the Prince and Princess of Wales—this is likely not that: The Mirror reports that “standards are, in royal palaces, incredibly high, but the test that staff have to pass to become employees in Princess Kate and Prince William’s home is not what you might expect from a royal job interview.”

If you’re specifically applying to be a housekeeper for William and Kate, the outlet reports, you must have a good eye for detail. They’re not the only members of the royal family who value this trait—“King Charles, for instance, is very particular about the way he takes his tea,” The Mirror reports—but to work in William and Kate’s home, the job interview takes testing this skill to another level. 

Prince William and Kate Middleton in Scotland

(Image credit: Getty Images)

In the documentary Sandringham: The Royals at Christmas, the royal family’s head of staff recruitment Tracey Waterman said that “one of the tests I like to do to see if a candidate has a potential eye for detail is to place a dead fly either in the fireplace or on the carpet,” she said. Once the trap is set, Waterman waits to see if the candidate will notice it, and if they do, their chances of landing the job skyrocket.

“Once the dead fly is placed, I then bring the candidate into the room,” Waterman said. “It’s a great test.” She added that only “one out of 10 [candidates] will actually bend down and pick [the fly] up.” And the ones that go the extra mile to pick up the dead fly are the standouts: “That’s the special housekeeper,” she said.

Prince William and Kate Middleton attend an event

(Image credit: Getty)

Once hired, William and Kate have other rules for members of their staff, “but many of these are actually said to ensure informality and a good work atmosphere rather than adhering to rigid royal traditions,” The Mirror reports. An example? The Waleses have a “zero tolerance” policy for gossiping amongst their staff, and prefer a more informal dress code, especially when aides are around the couple’s kids Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.

“The kids run around the office, and [William] does not want it to be stuffy,” Valentine Low wrote in his book Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind the Crown. That said, if there are important meetings on the schedule or if the staff is going to Buckingham Palace, suits and more formal workwear is worn. 

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.