The Many Similarities Between Buckingham Palace And Trump's Mar-A-Lago Club

At first glance, the Trump family and the Windsors might not seem to have all too much in common. While the British royal family might seem obsessed with propriety (they don't follow protocol for nothing!), the Trumps are all about throwing convention to the wind. The Windsors, of course, are apolitical. Meanwhile, the Trumps seem keen on becoming the United States' next big Republican dynasty. 

In a historical sense, these differences are hardly surprising. After all, the royals are, in many ways, the definition of old-school landed gentry. They accumulated their fortune through centuries of military struggles and conquests. The Trumps, on the flip side, are largely thought of as all-American new money. Indeed, they made their name New York real estate, although their money does have roots in the "Wild West." In fact, the family can trace their financial success to a business run during the Canadian gold rush — in a town that was very much worlds apart from the royals. 

That being said, the Trumps and the Windsors are, at the end of the day, spectacularly wealthy, and they both have properties to prove it. Indeed, the British royal family maintains its traditional residence at Buckingham Palace, while the Trumps prefer to get comfortable at their enormous Mar-a-Lago Club. Both are unusually large, difficult to run, and full of staff that keep things afloat. And, interestingly, the way that the Trumps and Winsdors run Buckingham Palace and Mar-a-Lago are eerily similar. 

Both Buckingham Palace and Mar-a-Lago have proven challenging to maintain

Although both the Trumps and the Windsors boast magnificent homes, neither family has found their respective residence particularly easy to maintain. In fact, both Mar-a-Lago and Buckingham Palace have occasionally dipped into a state of disarray over the years — with the palace facing structural issues and the Florida golf club struggling more with cleanliness. 

Indeed, according to the journalistic book, "The Grifter's Club," by Caitlin Ostroff, Sarah Blaskey, Nicholas Nehamas, and Jay Weaver, Mar-a-Lago received thirteen different health violations back in 2017. Apparently, the kitchen at the club was in a complete state of dishevelment. As the book revealed, "Meat coolers were not functioning properly, so chicken, duck, beef, and ham were all being stored at dangerously high temperatures ... Fish intended to be served raw or rare had not undergone proper parasite destruction." Of course, these issues were eventually resolved under the careful eye of the Florida Department of Health, but, nevertheless, they do show just how challenging it can be to run a large property.

Compellingly, the Windsors have found it just as trying to maintain Buckingham Palace. In fact, the queen's private bathroom partially collapsed during a 2015 plumbing job due to a lack of structural maintenance. There are also stories of exterior wall material breaking off and falling to the ground below as well as unsafe balconies. These are just a few instances over the years that show how the palace is deteriorating and in need of some major refurbishing. 

Staff training at Buckingham Palace and Mar-a-Lago is intense

One of the biggest challenges of running a large household is ensuring that daily tasks — like setting the table or mopping the living room — are done correctly. Consequently, the Trumps and the Windsors have both been known to hire a large staff, who keeps their respective residences in tip-top shape. Of course, that does not mean that just anyone can work at Buckingham Palace or Mar-a-Lago. On the contrary, both establishments require staffers to undergo an intensive training process that prepares them for the challenges of maintaining either household.

At Mar-a-Lago, this means that staff must learn not only how to serve but also who to serve. As explained in "The Grifter's Club," much of the staff training at Trump's Floridian residence is about recognizing important people. The book explains, "Staff go through a preseason boot camp, where they're expected to learn the names and faces of all members, especially those closest to Trump. They're also taught about Mar-a-Lago's VIP list: anyone with the last name Trump."

Meanwhile, at Buckingham Palace, staff training is said to be similarly intense — although palace aides are believed to focus more on maintaining order all around them. Speaking to Silver Swan Recruitment, one anonymous footman (referred to as "Thomas" out of concern for his privacy) revealed, "It's probably the closest thing to military training without actually carrying a gun ... We spit polish shoes, and we press our own uniforms..."

Buckingham Palace and Mar-a-Lago chefs must remember the family's food restrictions

Once a staffer is approved to work at Buckingham Palace or Mar-a-Lago, the real challenge begins. Both the Windsors and the Trumps are said to have high expectations for the way their households are run, and their employees work hard to deliver. This is especially true for chefs that work at each residence, as they must always keep their employers' dietary preferences in mind. And, apparently, when it comes to food, both the Trumps and the Windsors have a whole lot of preferences.

Indeed, according to "The Grifter's Club," most Mar-a-Lago chefs know that Ivanka Trump will not touch anything with mushrooms and that her coffee cannot be made with whole milk under any circumstances, as she prefers skim. Donald Trump, meanwhile, must always be served shrimp of a respectable size. Per the journalistic report, Trump once "had been displeased by the size of the shrimp served during his final meal at the club. Nearly six months later, it was still bothering him." Apparently, he even confronted the chef, "You changed that shrimp, right?"

Across the pond at Buckingham Palace, the Windsors are rumored to have just as many dietary restrictions. Graham Tinsley, who once catered for the royal family, told Hello! that King Charles III is something of a picky eater. Tinsley divulged that the monarch, "doesn't like chocolate, he doesn't like coffee, nor does he like garlic" and he "requires a side salad for every meal."

Cooks at both residences are required to prepare special doggy meals

Chefs at Mar-a-Lago and Buckingham Palace don't just have to worry about feeding their employers — they also have to put some time into preparing the perfect meals for their boss' pets. Indeed, the Trumps and the Windsors have both been known to expect high-quality meals for their dogs. And, no, a simple bowl of kibble will not cut it for either family.

According to formal royal chef, Darren McGrady, the corgis at Buckingham Palace were regularly treated to food that was, well, fit for a king. As McGrady told Hello! in an interview, "When I worked at the palace, we actually had a royal menu for the dogs ... It would list each day what the dogs were to have. One day it would be beef, the next day chicken, the next day lamb, the next day rabbit and it alternated through those days." Apparently, McGrady and his team were required to prepare the corgis' meat in an extra special way. The chef recalled, "The beef would come in, we would cook it, dice it into really fine pieces, and then we did same with the chicken."

Fascinatingly, the Trump family is said to expect that Mar-a-Lago chefs dedicate just as much attention to their own dogs' meals. As reported in "The Grifter's Club," these culinary professionals must, "prepare chicken breasts for Eric Trump's dogs, which they deliver to his cabana near the Intracoastal."

Staffers at Buckingham Palace and Mar-a-Lago aren't well-compensated

It's no secret that staffers at both Buckingham Palace and Mar-a-Lago are expected to give it their all. However, neither household is particularly well-known for paying its workers generously. If anything, these establishments have a reputation for under-compensating their employees. 

As reported by Insider, the vast majority of palace job openings offer salaries "within pennies" of the minimum standards recommended by the Living Wage Foundation. What's worse, a small percentage of these vacancies offered salaries that fell below these recommendations. Unfortunately, this failure to provide generous compensation to palace aides has given the Windsors a bit of a reputation for being Scroogelike. As royal expert, Norman Baker, told Insider, "The queen pays in a very tight-fisted way. It's been apparent to me for some time that when [job] adverts come up that they are not advertised at a generous salary. It's just shocking that one of the richest people in the world pays some of the lowest wages."

Compellingly, it is said that Mar-a-Lago staffers are not paid much better than their Buckingham Palace counterparts. In fact, "The Grifter's Club" reports that Trump's employees receive salaries that are, ostensibly, much lower than what would be expected at similar South Florida establishments. The book explains, "Mar-a-Lago has a reputation in the service industry for being a difficult place to work. Pay is lower at Mar-a-Lago compared to other Palm Beach country clubs, and workers are sometimes promoted without pay raises."

Staffers at both residences are rewarded at Christmastime

While the staff at Mar-a-Lago and Buckingham Palace are not particularly well-compensated, there is one moment when both groups are rewarded for a job well done: Christmastime. Every December, the Trumps and the Windsors have been known to give their employees gifts — whether that be food, cash, or contact with "the boss."

According to the book, "Christmas with the Queen," by royal expert, Brian Hoey, the staff at Buckingham Palace can generally expect to receive some combination of Christmas pudding, book vouchers, and — at least in Queen Elizabeth's day — a personalized letter, which was oftentimes signed by Her Majesty herself. Interestingly, Hoey wrote that the palace likes to recognize its most dedicated servants with an extra bit of cash. Indeed, the longer that a staffer worked for the royal family, the more money that they would receive on their book voucher. 

This tendency to reward loyal staff members during the holidays is hardly unique to the Windsors. Apparently, the Trump family also has a history of distributing cash bonuses to Mar-a-Lago employees at Christmastime. "The Grifter's Club" reports that, "For years, Trump hand delivered annual bonuses to his staff. He would walk into the kitchen with a wad of cash in hand and...ask how long each one had worked for him." Like the queen, Trump would grant more money to those who had worked for him the longest.

Both establishments have faced rumors of being toxic workplaces

Although the holiday season is certainly a joyful time for many Buckingham Palace and Mar-a-Lago staffers, not everything for these workers is always pudding and snowballs. In fact, several of Trump's and Windsor's former employees have come forward to report workplace harassment. To make matters worse, some of these aides have alleged that neither the palace nor the Florida country club did enough to stop it.

At Buckingham Palace, this dynamic became especially clear when several female staffers accused Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex of bullying. As reported by the Daily Mail, Harry and Meghan denied these allegations. But, according to these complainants, Meghan committed several instances of "emotional cruelty" against her workers, leaving them in "tears." While the palace did look into these claims, it chose not to make the results of this investigation public. 

Unfortunately, this issue is not unique to Buckingham Palace — at least one former Mar-a-Lago employee has claimed that the country club ignored his own allegations of workplace harassment. As per the Associated Press, former Mar-a-Lago chef, Graham Randall, claims that he was fired from his position after telling his superiors that two of his female colleagues were receiving inappropriate text messages from country club managers. According to Randall's account, his complaints were brushed aside, and he was fired for retaliation. The Trump Organization denied these claims.

Buckingham Palace and Mar-a-Lago guests are expected to follow a dress code

Buckingham Palace and Mar-a-Lago would be nothing if not for their ultra-chic ambiance, and one of the best ways to maintain this ambiance is by enforcing a strict dress code. Because of this, both establishments ask their guests to dress to the nines. After all, our clothing choices can set the stage for how we are seen.

At Buckingham Palace, this means that both men and women must don more traditional clothing. Men must wear a suit and tie when wandering the grounds. Meanwhile, women are expected to wear a dress or a skirt — which absolutely should not reveal any skin above the knee. What's more, neither men nor women are permitted to wear hats or flip-flops at the palace, as these accessories are believed to show disrespect to the crown. 

Meanwhile, at Mar-a-Lago, members are also expected to look nice, although the club's dress code varies considerably depending on the time of day. According to the 2020 club compendium, visitors can wear "informal, casual sports attire" at breakfast or lunch, especially because these meals are served on the patio (via Issuu). Folks who want to enjoy a formal dinner in the Main Dining Room, however, must remember that "a suit or a jacket and tie are required. No exceptions."

Both residences receive big-name international visitors

Part of the reason that guests at Buckingham Palace and Mar-a-Lago are expected to dress so well is that both establishments have been known to receive some of the most famous people on the planet. When Donald and Melania Trump tied the knot back in 2005, the couple hosted a number of celebrities and big-name politicians at Mar-a-Lago. Although some of these guests, like Elton John, were certainly there in an apolitical context, others yet were destined to become Trump's enemies. Indeed, both Hillary and Bill Clinton celebrated the future president's nuptials at the blow-out Palm Beach event.

Of course, many of these same names have appeared at Buckingham Palace over the years. In 1995, the Clintons toured Buckingham Palace with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. Additionally, Elton John was also understood to have a reasonably friendly relationship with the Windsors. According to the famous pianist and singer, Prince Philip even felt comfortable criticizing him at private events. As John wrote in his 2019 memoir, "Me", the prince once went so far as to tell him to scrap his Aston Martin. Apparently, Philip confronted him at a dinner party by saying, "What the hell are you thinking? Ridiculous. [That car] makes you look like a bloody fool. Get rid of it" (via Express). In the end, though, this interaction did not preclude the artist from giving a fantastic performance at the Platinum Party at the Palace in 2022. 

The Trumps and the Windsors both greet guests from the balcony

The British royal family has long been known to greet their people from the balcony of Buckingham Palace. And, interestingly, this is a tradition that the Trumps have also put into place at Mar-a-Lago. According to "The Grifter's Club," Donald Trump has enjoyed greeting club members and guests from the Mar-a-Lago terrace for years. Apparently, the former president particularly liked strutting out onto the terrace with the song "Hail to the Chief" playing in the background — even before he took his presidential oath. What's more, it is said that this ritual has been used by country club staffers to help Trump feel better after a difficult day. As one former employee told the book writers in a private interview, "He loves it. He loves all the fuss made."

At Buckingham Palace, of course, this tradition of posing on the balcony has even more significance. These days, it is understood that not all royals will be invited to participate in this exclusive activity. As such, the balcony greeting is very much the firm's way of communicating which royals are in favor and which are not. Active members of the royal family, like Prince Edward and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, are usually included in this ceremonious event. Meanwhile, those who have taken a step back from their duties, most notably Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, are not invited to participate.