You rang, my lord? Marc West tries his hand as a butler in the splendid surroundings of Blenheim palace. This is what he saw...

For over 300 years Blenheim Palace has maintained a household of elite staff who tend to the everyday needs of the Marlborough family and their guests. Downstairs there’s a rabbit warren of tunnels and back passages filled with a veritable army of cooks, cleaners and bottle washers scurrying around to ready the Palace for yet another day for those upstairs.

It’s only 7am, but there’s no time for a cuppa and natter on this watch. For the modern day Jeeves, a seemingly never-ending list of daily duties is about to begin - so, I roll up my sleeves and prepare for up to 16 hours on my feet.

As the former personal butler to HRH The Prince of Wales, Grant Harrold has 20 years experience in this niche field and is therefore the only man who stands a chance of scrubbing up this scruffy hack into a respectable servant. His armoury of time saving tips and time-honoured traditions ensures we’re soon ticking off the chores, but never at the expense of complete precision and perfection each and every time.

Laying up the table for lunch in the State Dining Room is itself a meticulous and time-consuming process - that even involves a ruler!

A galleon’s worth of silverware, monogrammed crockery and crystal glasses requires the Midas Touch to maintain the highest possible standards…and symmetry.

As guests arrive, their heavy cases require unpacking in the Palace’s many bedrooms - and this too is part of the butler’s remit as head of the domestic household. Even their pyjamas are neatly placed under the pillow to ensure they don’t have to so much as lift a finger after an evening’s entertainment in the polite company of fellow aristocrats and high-society movers and shakers.

A butler’s priority is to be one step ahead at all times and to pre-empt absolutely any request - from valeting clothes to cleaning brass, stock take to shoe shining.

With Grant’s experience, an old toothbrush and some elbow grease we soon have the Duke’s Oxford brogues spit ‘n’ polished to a mirror finish - all this whilst trying to keep up (my own) appearances too.

It is relentless work, but as the bell tower strikes 11pm, it’s finally time to clock off. I’ve barely had time to so little as catch my breath all day, but I feel satisfied with my (albeit small) contribution to the well-oiled machine that’ll keep Blenheim ticking for centuries more to come.

Blenheim Palace has partnered with world-renowned training company Nicholas Veitch to offer the chance to qualify as a service professional for corporate, domestic or commercial settings.

Over the course of a month’s rigorous training with “The Royal Butler” candidates will perfect the art of good housekeeping for the next generation.

For all details visit