Frère Jack met up with Francois Michel who used to work for Prince Charles as his butler. Today he works for an overseas royal family, keeping their Chelsea mansion in shape…
That’s not actually him above. That’s the model Francois Schoder. I just wanted to catch your attention. No, our royal butler Francois looks like this:
Being a royal butler means Francois has to be utterly discrete, so sadly there will be no naked photos of him! Right, let’s get cracking:
Name: Francois Michel
Profession: Royal Butler
Moved to London: 2007AD
Residency: Notting Hill
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So Francois, thank you for talking to TÊTU. I guess the first question should be what was it like being Prince Charles’ butler?
It was great, and such an honour to work for the Prince. I also worked with William, Harry and the Duchess of Cornwall too. The position was based in Clarence House but I also worked in Buckingham Palace sometimes.
Did you also work with Princess Diana?
No, no – I started working for the Prince of Wales about ten years after Princess Diana’s death.
So you must have attended the Royal Wedding last year?
No actually, I had to concentrate on organising the evening meal at Buckingham Palace that day. I had a team of people and we were covering Prince Charles and guests on the Royal couples’ table. It was a fantastic but very challenging evening. We told that anything that anybody wanted they could have.
I’d certainly have a few unique demands for you.
Thank you Jack. Well, luckily Prince Charles and his guests didn’t look at me in the same way that you might!
Does he know that you’re gay?
Yes I think so, I mean you find these things out through polite conversation, but it’s not like I would socialise with His Royal Highness. You are there to provide a service and to do a good job. They call you when they need you, it’s not like you’re best friends with your boss.
It sounds like such a quintessentially English job…
It’s funny you say that. People imagine butlers to be like Alfred in Batman or Ask Jeeves but actually in this industry English butlers are frowned upon a little. They have a reputation for being lazy and inattentive. The agency who placed me in Clarence House, and who placed me in my current role, often receive notices saying “We don’t want an English butler”. The job involves long hours, lots of energy and a multitude of tasks.
So what is your current role?
I can’t say too much about it. I work for another Royal family from a different country, looking after their house in Chelsea and running around after all their kids!
You’re very well defined Francois. Does the lady of the house ask you to wear anything kinky like, I don’t know, just an apron?
The lady of the house? An apron? No, it’s really not that kind of family! Being a butler in 2012, it’s really quite a modern job. You deal with tradesmen, you do a bit of driving, you help organise holidays and ends of term, you ensure that everything is kept in its place. We don’t stand around with a white cloth on our arm! With this new family I do live in their house during the week which is new to me. I never stayed overnight at Clarence House once. I’ve stayed on yachts before though.
So presumably you have your own place in London too?
Yes, I live with my partner of five years and we have our own flat in Notting Hill.
Is he French too?
No, he’s a good old classic Yorkshire banker!
It is at this point that I have to ask you the classic Frère Jack question. Who is better in bed, the English or the French?
You know what, I am actually going to say the Spanish. I lived in Barcelona for a few years and… WOW… yeah! Spanish boys are really good at sex!
Can I put that in the interview?
Yes of course!
So you won’t get into trouble with your master by giving an interview to a gay magazine?
My master? You have such an old fashioned idea of what being a Butler is! No, I don’t mind. No offence to you, but I don’t think my boss is an avid reader of TÊTU or is going to come across your blog any time soon! They’re royalty remember!
I’m pretty sure Beatrice and Eugenie follow my work.
I still think it’s suspicious how you’re so strong and attractive. Are you sure “Butler” isn’t a code word for something else?
I promise you. But there are some people like that in the industry. Some wealthy gay men expect benefits off their butlers or they have to be present and at service in strange situations.
So have you turned work down before?
Before this job I was offered a job by a major fashion designer but I turned it down.
Because he’d want favours from you?
Actually no, it was mainly because he had all of these dogs and I could just see myself running around airports with two little dogs, one under each arm, and I thought “that’s not me!”
You could fit 101 dalmatians under those arms!
Anyway, we have to be careful Jack. My current employers know this fashion designer that I speak of. Everyone knows everyone in those circles!
Circles as in daisy chains?
Ok. Let’s have a cigarette. No more interview!
And that was my encounter with Francois Michel!
It’s a shame he wouldn’t let me use a topless photo or anything a little more revealing because his body looked very sexy! (I found quite a nice one while having a little Facebook stalk) However, here is another sexy Francois, the rugby player Francois Steyn:
I’ve been looking for an excuse to share a photo of him for years!
A bien tôt!
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