Before they became known for carrying out engagements, making courtesy calls, and founding charities, the members of the British royal family had regular jobs. While most of them joined the British Armed Services, some had more “unconventional” jobs that weren’t at all connected with their status.
Queen Elizabeth II
Before she became Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, Elizabeth served as a mechanic and truck driver during the Second World War through the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service. She is notably the only living head of state to have served in the Second World War, and is the only female member of the royal family to have served in the armed forces.
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, with involvements in the Battle of Crete and the Battle of Cape Matapan, among others. He excelled in this field (or should we say “in the seas”), having graduated as the best cadet in his course and been promoted to first lieutenant at the age of 21, one of the youngest in the Royal Navy. He had just been promoted to commander in the Royal Navy when he had to step down from his active role to focus on royal obligations in 1951.
Charles, Prince of Wales
Following tradition, Prince Charles started his career in the Armed Services in March 1971, where he trained with the Royal Air Force to qualify as a jet pilot. In September of the same year, he joined the Royal Navy when he entered the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, and continued his active role until December 1976 as Acting Lieutenant.
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
After serving for almost five years as a Royal Air Force search and rescue pilot, Prince William joined the East Anglian Air Ambulance service in March 2015. After over two years of service, he stepped down from his active role in July 2017 to take on more royal duties, which also required him and his family to move back to London.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Before she became the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton was a photographer, website designer, and marketing officer for Party Pieces, her parents’ event planning company. Prior to that, she was an accessory buyer with British retailer Jigsaw.
Prince Harry served in the British Armed Forces for ten years, where he notably went on two tours in Afghanistan—first as a Forward Air Controller and second as an Apache Pilot. He left operational service as Captain in June 2015.
The newest almost-member of the royal family, Markle is an actress known for her role as Rachel Zane in Suits. She was also the founder and editor-in-chief of her lifestyle blog The Tig from 2014 to April 2017.
Anne, Princess Royal
Princess Anne is the first member of the royal family to have competed in the Olympics. A trained equestrienne, she rode the Queen’s horse Goodwill in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Canada. She has also competed in multiple European Three-Day Event Championships, where she won a gold medal in the 1971 individual discipline and silver medals in both the individual and team disciplines in 1975.
Prince Andrew, Duke of York
Just like his father, Prince Andrew joined the Royal Navy in 1979. He trained as a pilot and was notably part of the crew of the HMS Invincible, which fought in the Falklands War in 1982. He was promoted to Vice Admiral in 2015.
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex
After a short stint with the Royal Marines, Prince Edward began a career in theater and television as a production assistant at Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Theatre Company. In 1993, he formed the TV production company Ardent Productions; he stepped down as production director and joint managing director in 2002.