Claire Edwards, Press Officer
I am a Press Officer and work with a team of 13 people in the Royal Household Press Office, based at Buckingham Palace.
How did you get your job with the Royal Household?
While working in the Press Office at a large heritage institution, I developed a good professional relationship with the Palace Press Office, having worked together on the media aspects of a number of events attended by Members of The Royal Family.
As a result of this I was offered a secondment opportunity to cover whilst one of the press team was on maternity leave, my employers were very supportive and the move over here was quite seamless. During the secondment a permanent position arose, which I applied for and was offered a full-time position within the press office, and was very pleased to be able to accept it.
What did you do before joining the Royal Household?
Before working in a heritage press office for three years, I was an Account Executive at a small Business to Business PR company in central London.
How would you advise someone looking for a job in this area?
It is helpful to have a university degree, but certainly not essential, and a degree in a general subject which offers broad experience (such as English Literature or Geography) is just as useful as a specific PR or media degree.
PR/media experience can be gained on the job very quickly and is a must for any non-entry level position. Experience gained as a journalist can be as useful as that gained in a PR environment. The qualities needed to be a press officer are; being organised, quick-thinking, calm under pressure, creative, sociable and most importantly having a sense of humour! It’s also important to have an interest in current affairs and be up-to-date with what is happening in the news.
What training and support is available to you?
I am lucky to be part of a really close and supportive team in the Press Office. In a wider sense, the welfare support available for employees includes a confidential employee assistance programme which can provide counselling and information confidentially on request. The training options at the Royal Household are also excellent and extensive, with a Training section being dedicated to meeting the development needs of such a diverse organisation.
What’s it like working for the Royal Household?
I really enjoy it – it can be very exciting. It’s incredible to be involved, even in a small way, in the business of the Head of State, and of course there’s something magical about coming to work every day in a Palace. It’s also a very rewarding place to work. Everyone is highly committed and there is a definite sense of a team spirit within the Household.
Describe a typical day.
Typical days rarely happen in the Press Office! If it is a day based in the office, we have a morning team meeting, after which we are usually working on the media aspects of forthcoming engagements for The Queen and other members of the Royal Family. Throughout the day we regularly receive phone calls and emails from journalists from the UK, Commonwealth and around the world, all with wide-ranging enquiries; from Corgis to Finances.
When out of the office, we could be facilitating documentary filming, on a recce for an engagement; looking after the media on a regional, Palace-based or overseas engagement, or working at another location such as Windsor Castle or the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
What is the best thing about your job?
The variety; one day is never the same as another, and with the 24-news agenda things can change considerably hour to hour. I also really enjoy travelling throughout the UK and visiting places I might never think of going, like a dairy, or wouldn’t usually be able to experience, such as an air base.
What opportunities do you get that you would not get elsewhere?
For many people meeting The Queen can be one of the best days of their lives. It is a real privilege to know that, even in a small way, I have played a part in making that happen.