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    The British butler coming back in style

    12:32 PM, Jan 17, 2013   |    comments
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    LONDON, UK (CBS) - What could be better than going home after a hard day to find a butler waiting? Demand for British butlers has more than doubled, thanks in part to a certain PBS drama.

    If you live in a large place, you're going to need a little help around the house. But not to fear, the great British butler is back with a vengeance, buffed to a high sheen and ready for action in the modern world.

    Grant Harrold, former butler to Prince Charles, says, "I think people are getting to see life in these big old houses from a hundred years ago and they want that, they want to get in to that whole way of Britishness."

    He used to be a butler for Prince Charles. He remembers meeting the prince for the first time. He says, "Suddenly to walk in this room and he was standing there and you think 'Wow this is amazing.' And he was so, he put me at ease, made me feel completely relaxed.

    He goes on to say, "You've got to be able to be loyal to the person; loyal, trustworthy and discrete."

    But nowadays buttling, yes, it's called buttling, goes a lot further than folding napkins though he's a past master at that too. Harrold says, "A modern-day butler is very much like a personal assistant. Buttling isn't like what you see in the old movies when a butler just does one thing. They need to be flexible."

    Recruitment agencies say demand for the British butler is being driven by the new-money elite in China, Russia and the Middle East. Exact numbers do not exist, but back in the 1930s, it's thought there were around 30,000 butlers in service in Britain. That fell to about 100 in the 1980's.

    Today there are thought to be around 10,000, but that number is now going through the roof with many butlers going abroad for the best pay and perks. Director of Bespoke Bureau Sara Vestin Rahmani says, "They get cash bonuses, sometimes cars, sometimes watches."

    Rahmani runs a butler academy and says she's seen demand skyrocket tenfold in two years. She recently opened six academies in China, where women butlers accounted for almost a third of the trainee intake. Rahmani says, "So the British butler has finesse, etiquette. People from the emerging markets, they love the queen's English. They love the British accent."

    A good butler can make upwards of $200,000 a year, plus a few fringe benefits like living in the lap of luxury or next to it, anyway.

    In addition to buttling himself, Steve Ford trains would-be butlers. There's a lot to learn such as how to get a stuck zipper loose or how to get sweat stains out of fabric.

    But besides the day-today know-how, there's real sacrifice. Ford says, "What peole don't recognize in this industry is that your family will always come second. Your employer will always come first. Honestly."

    Being waited on hand and foot takes a certain character too; status symbol, personal assistant, maybe a little of both. But as one butler put it, the super rich are only looking for something the wealthy have sought for centuries: someone to do their dirty work for them.

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