Beatrice: the royal workie

Princess Beatrice is to take work experience at the Financial Times. That could prove an eye-opener.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

The Duchess of York’s 19-year-old daughter is understood to be set to write for Alphaville, the FT’s financial blog, and is also rumoured to be contributing to the paper’s fashion coverage.

It’s also been suggested she’ll contribute to the FT’s glossy How To Spend It mag, which targets ‘affluent men and women of distinguished taste’. This is a somewhat strange assignment for a workie, who usually make their first foray into office life to learn how to earn it. It’s usually years before they’re in a position to advise others how to fritter it away.

Beatrice, of course, isn’t your typical intern. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine the FT staff feeling comfortable dishing out all the classic media workie jobs – the coffee run, taking suits to the dry cleaners, or buffing the editor’s shoes – to someone who’s fifth in line to the throne.

But the young royal, who recently spent time at Selfridge’s tasting life as a personal shopper, may still be in for an experience. An internal FT memo leaked last month revealed how some women were being paid less than men for equivalent jobs. A piece in MediaGuardian then highlighted how there was a lack of senior women at the newspaper since editor Lionel Barber took over. One ex-FT staffer was quoted as saying: ‘Lionel is the sort of man who, if he sees a woman standing around, asks her to fetch him a glass of water.’ He may have to put the word ‘ma’am after such requests soon.

Another FT insider described how editors liked to criticise stories as needing ‘more bollocks’. ‘You have meetings of eight or 10 men with one or two women and all the blokes are banging on about bollocks,’ he said. So as an introduction to the world of work for the young royal, it may well prove insightful after all.

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