Hello, and welcome to today’s edition of weird things we didn’t know about the Royal Family.
Between the Queen’s secret ‘booze tunnel’ beneath St James’s Palace (yep, it’s officially a thing), Prince Charles’ plan to live in a ‘flat above a shop’ when he becomes King, and Harry and Meghan’s Thanksgiving invitation from Snoop Dogg, safe to say that when it comes to the royals, nothing really surprises us anymore.
Except, maybe, the super pedantic test the Queen makes potential royal staffers undergo before she hires them.
Yep, turns out landing a job on the Royal cleaning team is about as difficult as landing one at MI5 (though we’ll have to defer to Prince William’s spy experience on that), and involves a super rigorous recruitment process.
Speaking on Channel 5’s Sandringham: The Royals at Christmas documentary, Tracey Waterman, the Head of Royal Recruitment, revealed that her team even use a special test to ensure candidates are at the top of their game.
Called the ‘dead fly test’ it involves, well, the recruitment team hiding a dead fly in one of the Royal rooms to test a candidate’s attention to deal.
“One of the tests I like to do, to see if a candidate has potential eye for detail, is to place a dead fly, either in the fireplace or on the carpet,” Tracey explained. “Once the dead fly is placed, I then bring the candidate into the room.”
You can probably guess what happens next.
“I lead them into the room quite slowly, just giving them a chance to glance at the room, have a little look at what we’ve got inside the room. Bringing them to the fireplace, maybe highlighting that we’ve got a beautiful fireplace,” she continued.
“At this point I’d expect them to see the dead fly, and hopefully pick it up.”
The royal staffer added: “It’s a great test, maybe out of 10 people half the candidates will notice the fly. One out of ten will actually bend down and pick it up, that’s the special housekeeper.”
But just what do candidates get in return for the high standards expected of them?
According to OK! a housekeeping apprenticeship position advertised last year paid £19,100, and included free accommodation in the Palace, as well as meals, travel expenses and a qualification in housekeeping at the end.
Worth it in exchange for picking up a few dead flies? Maybe.