The Princess of Wales was very friendly and polite around the royal household when she and Prince William were dating, Grant Harrold has said.
A former royal butler has revealed what Kate, the Princess of Wales, was like around the Royal Family and staff when she was first introduced to the royal household and before her engagement to Prince William. Grant Harrold, who worked for the Palace for several years, has said the Princess was “polite, friendly, and fun” and kept engaging with the staff by making jokes. Grant Harrold, 44, worked for the Royal Family for seven years, between 2005 and 2011. During this time, he got to know Prince William and Kate closely and was there when the couple first met and started dating.
Asked what they were like during this time, Mr Harrold said: “Oh, like any boyfriend and girlfriend. “Not any different to anyone else, it’s mad saying that when you think about who they are, but there wasn’t anything different.” He added: “What I liked was that Kate, being a girlfriend and obviously not a member of the family, would be with me and the other staff and she was so polite, friendly, and fun and making jokes. “I remember there were days I had off where I’d be running an errand or I’d left something up at Highgrove [House] and they were around, so you’d just catch up with them.”
William met Kate while studying at the University of St Andrews in Scotland in 2001 and started dating her in 2003. They were engaged in October 2010, while on a private holiday in Kenya, with William giving Kate the same engagement ring that his father had given to Princess Diana – an 18-karat white gold ring with a 12-carat oval Ceylon (Sri Lankan) sapphire and 14 round diamonds. The former butler said he was “lucky” to have developed a very close relationship with the Prince and Princess of Wales.
He noted: “It was always fun and it was always nice that I got on so well with them because they’d then ask me to travel the country with them. “When my phone used to go off and it was William, all my friends would be like that’s so cool, but to me it was normal. That was the relationship I had with them. “I think it was really special and not unusual, actually, because in a private home you’re expected to get on with the family. “As for the younger members of the family, you’re not employed by them, but you end up having a relationship with them as well.
“There are very few people that the Royals actually get to know, so you do feel lucky that you were trusted with that.” Mr Harrold had a dream of marrying Queen Elizabeth II when he was a child, he admitted in his interview. He said of his admiration for the late monarch: “I’d had a dream from the age of 11 or 12 of meeting the Queen and I’d watched a documentary about the Queen back in 1992 when I was about 13.
“I remember seeing the Queen dance and I thought, ‘How do you get to dance with the Queen?’ – I thought you either meet the Queen or you marry the Queen and the funny part of this was I honestly thought we were going to marry. I thought it’d be easier than getting a job. I then later thought wouldn’t being a butler be an amazing job.”
And he went on to describe how he chased the job until he eventually got hired: “I thought if I did it for two years that would get me into private households, so I first had a butler job in Scotland and I started actually meeting Royals there, that was obviously a step closer. “In the meantime, I wrote to the Queen a couple of times, then in 2003 for whatever reason they finally came back to me saying there was a position. “I had six months of interviews, I got to meet Prince Charles at the end of it and they offered me a job. I stayed with Charles for seven years. “Some people say seven years isn’t a long time, but in the world of being a butler, seven years of having somebody in your house living with you, it’s quite intense.”