The Queen’s Official Handwasher

We thought we knew it all when it came to our dear HRH. But what keeps us fascinated in the royal family, is the complexity of customs that come from their thousand-plus year history. Especially after we learned this week that the Queen’s official handwasher has kicked the bucket.

Official handwasher?! In his capacity of Washer of the Sovereign’s Hands, a certain Peter Houison Craufurd, had to offer his services – and have “a silver ewer, bowl and salver holding a linen towel on permanent standby” – whenever her maj visited Hollyroodhouse. Over to The Daily Telegraph for all the details. After weeks of public Royal laundry washing, we certainly welcome this good, clean regal titbit.

The Queen loses her hand washer

Peter Houison Craufurd, the Washer of the Sovereign’s Hands, dies at the age of 82.

Tim Walker. Edited by Richard Eden

7:30AM BST 22 Sep 2012


It is one of the more unusual roles occupied by the Queen’s courtiers, but Washer of the Sovereign’s Hands is a post that must now be filled.

Mandrake learns that the holder of the title, Peter Houison Craufurd, died on Monday, at the age of 82. He always had a silver ewer, bowl and salver holding a linen towel on permanent standby.

“We used to have to write to Buckingham Palace to offer to wash the monarch’s hands every time they were in residence at the Palace of Holyroodhouse,” said Houison Craufurd.

“In his day, my father had to make that offer virtually every year, although it was very seldom accepted.

“More recently, we have been told by the Queen’s office that, as we have already washed her hands once, that is all she requires us to do. So now we have to wait until Prince Charles takes the throne before we do it again.”

Read more here.

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