No more booze for royal staffers
London - Britain's Queen Elizabeth has reportedly closed down the in-house pub at Buckingham Palace.
The monarch is said to have become so concerned by the amount of alcohol staff at the palace were consuming, the pub has been converted as part of plans to re-organise the staff's serving quarters - and the employees' restaurant will now only serve a glass of wine on the queen's birthday and that of her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.
Many footmen and under-butlers in royal service are bachelors, who live in staff quarters, and work in an environment where they have seen drinks flow fairly freely, especially as there is much more entertaining happening at the Palace now, due to receptions and charity events, which have seen a 50% rise in hospitality in five years.
The queen is said to be privy to all the gossip of the palace through her senior dresser and confidante, Angela Kelly, who has forged a close relationship with her in her years of service, which has seen her rise through the ranks from a housemaid upward.
Robert Hardman, author of Our Queen, explained in his book: "Some employees brought from London to look after the Royal Family are unashamedly urban creatures who preferred to spend their off-duty moments in the bar rather than look at the Highlands scenery. They are now encouraged to try things like kayaking or riding the estate ponies."
All staff at Buckingham Palace are offered counselling if they have drink problems.
A Palace aide told the Daily Express newspaper: "It's part of an employee assistance programme. The counsellors are there to help nip any drink, or drug, problems in the bud."