Independent On Sunday: Super-rich vie for £100,000 butlers trained by the Palace.
The art of “butling” is enjoying an unprecedented renaissance. Not since the days of the landed gentry have butlers been such hot property, providing the ultimate bling in the Beckham household as well as offering media-shy dotcom millionaires and Russian oligarchs that extra bit of personal service.
An assortment of wealthy private-equity executives, hedge-fund dealers, entrepreneurs and celebrities, with personal fortunes to match their desire for the ultimate personal assistant, are fuelling the trend.
In response to the rocketing demand, City & Guilds is launching Britain's first accredited qualification for butlers in conjunction with Buckingham Palace. Graduates can look forward to a starting salary of around £30,000, although for the best that wage will rise rapidly to £100,000 or more.
Ivor Spencer, from the International School for Butler Administrators, who recently sent one of his butlers to Prince Charles's official residence at Clarence House, said: "In the old days, butlers didn't get paid very much and they didn't have much to do.
"Today, we call them a butler, administrator, personal assistant or estate manager. Some clients have a bigger budget than some small businesses. Russian and Chinese millionaires have come to London and other parts of the country and they've no time. They like our butlers because of our heritage."
A butler has to anticipate his master’s every whim. The American rapper Sean “Puffy” Coombs would make his butler, Farnsworth Bentley, follow him around during hot spells with a parasol to shade him. One whim Farnsworth failed to predict saw him having to jump straight back on a plane to New York from the Côte d’Azur after failing to pack the rap star’s favourite ties.
COMMENT: From 1 Timothy 6:6-19, one of the readings appointed for today, the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.