Buckingham Palace’s two clock changers face ‘busiest weekend’ winding 350 clocks

Daylight savings time is finally upon us, prompting folks across the country to set a reminder to tweak our clocks forward an hour on Sunday night.

For most, it’s a case of winding forward the kitchen clock, and maybe one in the living room.

God bless our mobile phones for doing the hard work for us!

But spare a thought for the Queen’s two clock changers who, on two days a year in March and October, face a hectic shift running around Buckingham Palace’s 775 rooms.

Time really is of the essence for these busy bees, who have just a few hours to make sure every clock tells the right time for Her Majesty and her guests.

Here’s what we know about these essential workers…

It takes a lot of people to run a royal home. There are over 800 staff at Buckingham Palace, while Balmoral has 50 full-time staff and 150 casual workers, including farmers, foresters, gardeners and gamekeepers.

A similar number are employed at Sandringham, while Windsor Castle has 150 full-time live-in staff.

Alongside the essential cleaners, cooks and office staff, and the more well-known footmen and ladies-in-waiting, there are some unusual occupations.

Certain staff keep things ticking over, quite literally – the Queen employs a full-time clock maker and two “horological observers” who make sure the palace’s 350 timepieces are correct, otherwise one could be late for a very important date.

There is also a Windsor Castle “horological conservator”, Robert Ball, who has a particularly hectic day at work twice a year.

“The two clock-change weekends are the busiest time of year for us, as we take on the challenge of adjusting hundreds of clocks over two days,” he has said.

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There’s also a family of fendersmiths, whose niche job is to clean and repair the metal fenders behind fireplaces, and a flag sergeant, who is tasked with making sure all the flags flown are shipshape.

The Royal Standard is raised and lowered with military precision the second the Queen is on or off the premises.

Some members of the royal household are always based in one home, while others travel wherever the Queen goes.

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It explores exactly what it takes to run a royal household, with experts and former staff revealing how they prepare to host state dinners and celebrations.

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“Some staff are permanent in the different homes but it would be mad to have, say, Balmoral, fully staffed all the time.

“A lot of the staff are moveable, and they will go ahead and prepare ahead of the Queen’s arrival,” says royal expert Ingrid Seward.

There's an important job for everyone at the palace. From dressers to embroiderers, coachmen, carriage cleaners and pantry staff – they help run the residence of the most famous woman in the world.

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