If you have developed delusions of royal grandeur after binge-watching “The Crown” — or just want to spend some time with the queen of England in Buckingham Palace — then Prince Harry might have just the gig for you: a Royal Household Hospitality Scholarship.
While in Grenada on Monday during an official visit to the Caribbean, the prince announced nine scholarships. Their recipients will spend six weeks in the royal family’s orbit, going to Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle and attending Royal Ascot week, an annual elite horse racing and human hobnobbing event in June.
There are a few caveats, however.
First and foremost, the scholarships are only available to residents of the nine British Commonwealth realms in the Caribbean where Queen Elizabeth II serves as the head of state — Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent, and the Grenadines.
That means Americans, Canadians or anyone else hoping to live out their Disney prince or princess fantasy are not eligible to apply. That may be for the best, however, because a royal scholarship may not exactly be the fairy-tale opportunity that its name might imply.
The six-week program is designed for professionals in the hospitality industry, a backbone of the Caribbean economy, to learn new skills while serving in the Master of the Household’s department, which plans royal parties and events.
To put it in language that fans of “Downton Abbey” or “Upstairs, Downstairs” (its 1970s predecessor) might understand: The scholarship appears to be a decidedly downstairs affair.
The royal family’s website said the duties of a royal scholar will include “catering in the royal kitchen, housekeeping and caring for artwork and furnishings and front-of-house duties such as greeting guests and serving food and drinks.”
“They will all undertake a six-week project to advance their skills in their chosen area of expertise,” it said. “This could range from learning complex chocolate and sugar craft, performing duties for Her Majesty’s guests at Windsor Castle during Royal Ascot week or shadowing the service team at official and private events during this busy period.”
The announcement offered no details on compensation for the scholarship, but local media reports said the recipients would be provided with staff accommodations, and meals and travel would be covered.
Prince Harry is in the middle of a two-week, eight-country tour of the Caribbean on behalf of his grandmother, the queen. On the schedule: lots of meet-and-greets, official tours and receptions, and discussions about the threat climate change poses to the islands of the Caribbean.
On Wednesday, the prince also met Rihanna, a Barbadian national, during an event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Barbados’s independence from British rule. He will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of Guyana’s independence and the 35th anniversary of Antigua and Barbuda’s independence during the trip.
His attendance at independence celebrations has not deterred social media protests by critics unhappy with their countries’ continued participation in the British Commonwealth, an association of independent states that succeeded the British Empire.
Queen Elizabeth still serves as head of state for many of its members, including the islands visited by Prince Harry as well as larger countries such as Canada and Australia.
On Twitter, critics of the prince’s visit organized around the hashtag #NotMyPrince, where many demanded reparations and an official apology for centuries of British colonialism. One Twitter user who registered the account @NotMyPrince criticized the prince’s visit as a “reliving Empire tour of the Caribbean.”