From former Olympians to ex-servicemen: The alternative jobs the royal family have had

Danielle Fowler
Freelance Writer
Pilots, actors, buyers Olympians and more: the royal family boast a fairly diverse skill set between them [Photos: Getty]

The royal family has a lot going on. In addition to thousands of engagements a year, overseas visits and charitable endeavours, a number of them have also held down taxing day jobs, too.

From Princess Anne’s history-making career to the Duchess of Cambridge‘s fashionable beginnings, these are the alternative jobs the Windsors had before taking on royal engagements full time.

The Duke of Cambridge

As a consequence to being second in line to the throne behind his father Prince Charles, the Duke of Cambridge has struggled to have a ‘normal’ life outside of the media spotlight.

But in a bid to experience life outside of the Kensington Palace gates, the 36-year-old worked with the Royal Air Force’s Search and Rescue Force for five years with from Queen Elizabeth II.

The Duke of Cambridge completed his final shift with the East Anglian Air Ambulance on 27 July, 2017 [Photo: Getty]

The royal later spent a further two years with the East Anglian Air Ambulance before retiring in order to focus on his regal commitments and growing family full-time.

Now, Prince William splits his days between royal tours and charity work. In 2017, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge founded the Heads Together mental health campaign with Prince Harry in partnership with eight charities.

The Duchess of Cambridge

Before becoming a full-time royal, the Duchess of Cambridge had a career in fashion.

The 36-year-old – who graduated from St Andrew’s University with a degree in Art History in 2005 – previously worked as an accessories buyer for high street chain Jigsaw.

The Duchess of Cambridge is now the royal patron of Place2Be – a charity which offers emotional support to school pupils and their parents [Photo: Getty]

After wedding Prince William in 2011, the fully-fledged royal took on her own regal responsibilities. In her current role, the Duchess of Cambridge is expected to represent the family at both UK-based engagements and on overseas tours.

She also dedicates a large amount of her time to charity work in partnership with The Royal Foundation and is a patron of Place2Be and Action on Addiction.

The Duke of Sussex

Prince Harry joined the British Army in 2005 and served in the Armed Forces until 2015. During his decade-long service to the nation, the royal conducted two tours to Afghanistan with the troops.

Prince Harry served the British Army for a decade between 2005 to 2015 [Photo: Getty]  

The 33-year-old now dedicates his time to fulfilling his royal duties and charity work. In 2006, the Duke of Sussex founded Sentebale – a charity designed to help orphans in Lesotho, Southern Africa.

He also dedicates much of his time to the Invictus Games which he launched in 2014. The sporting event was created to give former injured servicemen and women an opportunity to compete in various events from wheelchair basketball to indoor rowing.

The Duchess of Sussex

After graduating from Northwestern University in 2003 with a degree in Theatrical Studies, the Duchess of Sussex interned at the American Embassy in Buenos Aires.

She later embarked upon her successful acting career working as a calligrapher between roles for extra income.

The Duchess of Sussex starred as Rachel Zane in hit US series ‘Suits’ from 2011 to 2017 [Photo: Getty]

Just a matter of months before tying the knot to Prince Harry on 19 May 2018, the Duchess of Sussex was a familiar face on our Netflix feed.

From 2011 up until 2017, the 36-year-old starred as Rachel Zane in hit US television series, ‘Suits’.

Now, the fully-fledged royal dedicates her time to royal duties having undertaken her first overseas engagement to Dublin on behalf of the UK government in July 2018.

The Duchess of Cornwall

According to several reports, Camilla Parker Bowles worked as a secretary for a series of companies in London’s West End before becoming a receptionist for decorating company Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler.

After marrying Prince Charles in 2005, she began to join the heir on public engagements. The Duchess of Cornwall is now Patron of over 90 charities which raise awareness on everything from mental health to animal rehoming.

Princess Anne

Princess Anne made royal history in 1976 when she became the first member of the family to compete in the Montreal Olympic Games as an equestrian.

Princess Anne competed in the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games [Photo: Getty]

She has since gone on to become the President of the British Olympic Association and a Member of the International Olympic Committee.

Zara Tindall

Following in her mother’s footsteps, Zara Tindall also competed in the Olympics as an equestrian.

Zara Tindall competed in the London 2012 Olympic Games [Photo: Getty]

Despite having to pull out of the 2004 and 2008 sporting events due to her horse Toytown’s injuries, the mother-of-two eventually competed in the 2012 Olympic Games held in London.

The royal has since gone on to launch her own jewellery collection before putting her name to an outdoor clothing line for Musto.

Prince Edward

Prince Edward has long been a fan of musicals and regularly starred in productions held at Cambridge, while he studied there.

After graduating, he worked as a production assistant for Andrew Lloyd Webber at the Really Useful Theatre Company during the late ’80s.

Prince Edward meets members of the National Youth Theatre in May 2016 [Photo: Getty]

Prince Edward now dedicates his time and attention to his royal schedule.

Shortly after wedding Sophie, the Countess of Wessex in 1999 the couple founded The Wessex Youth Trust – an organisation which offers grants and support to charities helping young people.

So far, the royal trust has helped to distribute £1.3 million to over 150 charitable causes.

Prince Andrew

The Duke of York served in the Royal Navy for almost 22 years – a stint that saw him gain the title of Commander in 1999.

Prince Andrew later held the position of the UK’s Special Representative for International Trade and Investment for almost a decade at the request of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

Prince Edward took on the role of Special Representative for International Trade and Investment in 2001 [Photo: Getty]

The royal reportedly stepped down during the Libyan Civil War in 2011, as a consequence to his close relationship with Saif al-Islam Gaddafi.

Princess Eugenie

After graduating from Newcastle University with a combined degree in Art History, English Literature and Politics, Princess Eugenie moved to New York to work for online auction firm Paddle8 as a benefit auctions manager.

Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie also spend their free time working for charities such as WE Day – an organisation which celebrates young people making a difference in their local community [Photo: Getty]

When the bride-to-be moved back to London in July 2015, she took on the role of associate directer at prestigious art gallery, Hauser & Wirth.

Princess Beatrice

Beatrice attended Goldsmiths College in London and graduated with a degree in History and History of Ideas.

The 29-year-old later went on to work as a production analyst at Sony Pictures before taking on a role at Sandbridge Capital –  a retail-focused firm in New York.

Now, the royal – who is eighth in line to the throne – reportedly works at US technology firm Afiniti as an outsourcing strategist. 

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