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Here’s What It’s Like to Get Paid to Be a Royal Look-Alike

The perks of looking like a British royal really do pay off in major way! Where can we sign up?

'This Morning' TV Programme, London, Britain. - 03 Jul 2015Steve Meddle/ITV/Shutterstock

You can get paid thousands of dollars

Each gig’s fee varies based on the type of event but many royal look-alikes can make a generous wage! Patricia Ford has been posing as Queen Elizabeth II for 11 years and charges about $780 for a three-hour event. Simon Watkinson, Prince William’s doppelgänger, pockets anywhere from $650 to $1,300 for a corporate event or party. Dot Findlater, founder of Mirror Images, a celebrity look-alike agency in California, says her look-alikes earn $800 to $1,200 for up to three hours of work. That’s a pretty penny for playing dress-up for a few hours! In fact, many of them have turned the look-alike business into a full-time career, Heidi Agan from the United Kingdom went from waitressing to walking and talking like Kate Middleton full-time. “[This job] has let me travel the world and spend more time at home with my children,” says Agan. Check out how much every person in the British royal family is actually worth.

Alresford Watercress Festival, UK - 20 May 2018Geoffrey Swaine/Shutterstock

Some of them have talent agents

That’s right—business is booming for talent agencies that specialize in celebrity look-alikes. “Our business is illusion—not to trick anybody, but to make sure if a client is hiring a lookalike that they get the closest thing possible,” Findlater told TIME.. “It’s hard. Look-alikes aren’t on every street corner.” Susan Scott Lookalikes, a celebrity look-alike agency in the United Kingdom, boasts an impressive portfolio of 19 Markles, 20 Harrys, seven Queen Elizabeths, 22 Kate Middletons, 20 Prince Williams, nine Prince Georges, and three Princess Charlottes.

'Lorraine' TV show, London, UK - 18 May 2018Steve Meddle/ITV/Shutterstock

They work at some pretty bizarre gigs

Aside from the usual parties, weddings, TV commercials, and talk show appearances, no event is too insane for the fake royals. In April 2018, HotTug and GoDaddy hired Prince Harry, Prince William, and Prince Charles look-alikes to throw a fake bachelor party on a hot-tub boat to celebrate the royal wedding fever surrounding the real Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The pretend princes donned Union Jack-themed swimsuits, popped bottles of champagne and sang the National Anthem. And if you thought that was silly, the look-alikes have even been filmed doing a royal family rendition of the popular dance, the Harlem Shake on YouTube. It’s safe to say that the royal look-alikes have broken royal protocol dozens of times. The fake royals may get hired for some oddball jobs, but there are also some bizarre perks of being an actual British royal.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle lookalikes, Westminster, London, UK - 14 May 2018Rob Pinney/LNP/Shutterstock

They have to invest in a second wardrobe

As if walking and talking like a British royal wasn’t hard enough, you also need to dress the part too. Olivia Marsden, a Meghan Markle impersonator with Ofavision Management in England, told TIME. that she had to assemble a second wardrobe modeled after Meghan’s entire closet. But finding these outfits can be quite the feat, especially when you’re a royal who still likes to shop on a budget like Kate Middleton. Many outfits Kate has worn from Zara and Topshop have quickly flown off the shelves. For instance, her $80 white and black polka dot dress from Topshop sold out online instantly after she wore it to the Harry Potter studios. “I had to scour the ends of the earth to find the polka dot Topshop dress she wore,” Agan told People. “But I got it in the end.”

'Let's Do Christmas Lunch with Gino & Mel' TV Programme, London, Britain - 22 Dec 2013Ken McKay/Shutterstock

The royal look-alikes are like one big happy family

The royal doppelgängers spend so much time working and traveling together that they’ve grown just as close as the real British royal family. “I have a whole other family. A faux husband, kids, sister, grandmother, in-laws. We are all really close friends,” says Agan. “I travel more with my fake husband than my real one!” Besides being close to family, don’t miss the 14 unlikely royal friendships that will surprise you.

Australian Prince William lookalike Simon Watkinson, London, Britain - 02 Apr 2011John Alex Maguire/Shutterstock

Internet trolls are the worst part of the job

Just like the real royals, the look-alikes have their fair share of critics too. “When I’m working as a look-alike, people will be quite blunt to my face about what they think of me,” Watkinson told INSIDER. “It’s like people just see you as an object or a waxwork and not a real person.” Agan says she’s even received comments as horrifying as death wishes! These are the 18 etiquette rules every royal must follow.

I.am Foto.sosho Camera VIP Launch party, One Marylebone, London, Britain - 16 Dec 2012Richard Young/Shutterstock

They meet as many celebrities as the royals do

Not only has Harry Styles from One Direction met the real Kate Middleton, but he’s also met one of the many fake ones too! Watkinson’s professional portfolio princewilliamlookalike.com shows him and his other fake half, Kate Middleton photographed with will.i.am, Sharon Osbourne, One Direction, former rockstar Alice Cooper, and many more. In 2008, the Jonas Brothers paid Ford to act as Queen Elizabeth II in several comedic sketches including one titled, “Jonas Brothers Meet The Queen.” “They were such nice lads, with sensible parents, who always traveled with them,” she told INSIDER. Here are the 13 reasons why Queen Elizabeth II will never give up the throne.

'Let's Do Lunch with Gino and Mel' TV Programme, London, Britain - 24 Jul 2013Steve Meddle/Shutterstock

They get to travel all over the world

The look-alikes jet set across the globe like real royals too! Prince William and Kate Middleton look-alikes, Watkinson and Agan, have flown to India to act in a Bollywood movie. She was even sent to Australia for a TV commercial. “I was sitting on a plane in business class to Australia and literally pinching myself,” says Agan.

'Daybreak' TV programme, London, Britain - 01 Apr 2011Ken McKay/Shutterstock

They frequently get mistaken for real British royals when they’re off the clock

“I’m used to people pointing and staring or wanting selfies,” says Agan. “It’s funny to see the initial shock on their faces and then the realization.” Watkinson also catches people doing double takes of him out in public. With his blonde hair, blue eyes, and same distinct smile, it’s no wonder he’s been dubbed by the U.K. airline, easyJet, as the “most convincing Prince William look-alike from across the whole of Europe.” Next, take a look at the 50 things you didn’t know about the British royals.

Ashley Lewis
Ashley is an Assistant Editor at Reader’s Digest. She received her Master’s Degree from CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in 2015. Before joining Reader’s Digest, she was a Jason Sheftell Fellow at the New York Daily News and interned at Seventeen and FOX News. When Ashley is not diligently fact-checking the magazine or writing for rd.com, she enjoys cooking (butternut squash pizza is her signature dish), binge-watching teen rom-coms on Netflix that she’s way too old for, and hiking (and falling down) mountains.