Queen's former chef told off for being "Tour Guide"!

In a story that comes as no surprise to us, it has been reported that a former member of the Queen’s kitchen staff has been accused by wardens at the summer opening of Buckingham Palace of being an illegal tour guide.
Apparently the pastry chef who worked for the royal family in the kitchens for eleven years was with a group of friends showing them the places he used to work. As he was pointing out a photograph and telling his friends that it wouldn’t be laid out exactly that way in the case of a banquet, one of the wardens shouted out that it would be. Of course the chef was actually correct, as although the ballroom is laid out in a similar way to a state banquet, changes have been made in order to accommodate the fact that 400,000 visitors will have to file through the room.
To add insult to injury once he entered the ballroom and was answering a question from one of his friends about some of the china that is being displayed as part of the exhibition, a warden told him off for being a tour guide. In order to ensure that the visitors are able to move through the Palace easily, tour guides are not allowed during the summer opening. If you visit some of the larger palaces in Europe where this is allowed, you will find that it is often very difficult to move around the group because they are very large.
However Buckingham Palace has gone to the other extreme, where anyone who answers anybody else’s questions is accused immediately of being a tour guide. This has happened to me before where I innocently answered a bystander’s question about the door leading into the White Drawing Room from the Royal Closet. I did this because the warden in the room was busy with somebody else. Before I’d even got to the Minister’s Staircase, the person in charge of the summer opening was up the stairs and telling me off. I was told in no uncertain terms that tour guides are not allowed.
One of the issues at Buckingham Palace summer opening is that because it is only open two months a year, staff do not necessarily have a good knowledge of the history of the palace. Visitors who ask questions of the wardens often find the warden simply goes to the official guide and comes up with an answer that doesn’t add anything to your knowledge. I did encounter one particularly knowledgeable man, but by and large the wardens are there to protect the palace as opposed to inform visitors.
For more details see: http://www.monstersandcritics.com/people/royalwatch/news/article_1424275.php/Queen_Elizabeths_chef_reprimanded

If you really do want to learn something about the palace, the Buckingham Palace Virtual Tour is the best place to go. You can download an evaluation version from: Virtual tour of Buckingham Palace.

Posted on Wednesday 20 August, 2008
Filed under: Buckingham Palace
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