Five Questions for The Royal Butler
1. We’re you a well behaved little boy? …Was being polite important to how you were raised?
This is maybe a question for my parents, however I think I can safely say I was a well behaved child and taught from an early age about the importance of being polite and understanding how to behave and treat others. From an early age, I was taught to respect ladies and my elders; please and thank you was a big part of this lesson and one which I think many parents need to remind their children is an important part of their upbringing in the 21st century. My parents are strict about fine dining and laying up the dining table for meals which was a great education for me. This was the introduction to dining etiquette to me from a very early age.
2. What was your first job that directly involved social etiquette?
I believe it was when I started working at a private highland estate in Scotland in 1997. We would have many VIP guests visit and I was taught from this point the importance of etiquette. For example, the correct way to dine, seating plans and conversations. I was only 19 but this was a fascinating subject which I was eager to learn more about and to understand why we do things in a certain way. Something I have been learning and teaching for almost two decades.
3. How did you get your position with the Prince of Wales? Were you the first in your family to choose service as a career or is there a service history in your family?
I heard through my parents that the Prince of Wales was looking for a butler and since I was 15 I had an ambition to work for the Royal family and decided in 1997 that one day I would work for him. From applying in 2003 to getting the position took around 6 months of many interviews and meetings at Clarence House, the Prince’s London home and Highgrove House, which is the Prince’s country home in Gloucestershire. I will never forget getting the official letter from the Prince’s office in London offering me the position with the Royal Household. My family does indeed have a history in private service going back 60 years with certain members in my family. My great grandparents actually had their own staff so my family have served and been served over the decades.
4. Tea or coffee?
Coffee is a must for me in the morning followed by tea at 11am (elevenses). I of course love my Earl Grey in the afternoon! So therefore I am a lover of both. I would also add that I enjoy grinding my own coffee for the perfect cup!
5. Talk a bit about all of your different etiquette related businesses….plus, how do you see Social Media and how it relates to those businesses.
In 2012 I created Nicholas Veitch and began officially teaching etiquette and training butlers. We run these courses all over the country and the world with my recent teaching in Australia. My clients include Royals, VIP’s and some of the world’s most elite hotels. Our course includes our etiquette dinner parties, Royal etiquette talks, afternoon tea workshops and wedding etiquette classes and much more with these run at our unique venues which include Blenheim Palace, The Ritz Hotel, Thornbury Castle. Our Butler course which includes etiquette training are offered as One day, One Week, Two Week and One Month courses. I teach the above with HRH Princess Katarina, the cousin to HRH Prince William The Duke of Cambridge.
Social Media is a vital part of my business. I am on Twitter @theroyalbutler, Facebook Facebook.com/theroyalbutler, Instagram instagram.com/the_royal_butler to name a few and this is growing weekly as recently we added Medium to the list of 11 social media platforms. Our audience is between 1.5 and 5 million world wide and without question is vital to the success of what we do.
The Royal Butler’s top 5 things to avoid, keep in mind, or do when at a cocktail party.
Always wear what the dress code states, let’s not wear swimming shorts and flip flops when it should be black tie and cocktail dress for the ladies.
Don’t arrive more than 15 minutes late for the party without warning your hosts in advance.
Always remember to hold glasses correctly: by the stem.
Always take a napkin when handling finger food: refer to this as a napkin not a serviette!
Follow up your visit with a hand written thank you letter to the host. Not an email or a text!