Tim Bornholdt

What it’s Like to be a Billionaire’s Butler

While it’s easy to assume that anyone who willingly becomes a butler must harbor a notion of his own inferiority, none of the butlers I met were slavish doormats or even particularly humble. From Ford, who thought Claudia Schiffer’s lifestyle beneath him, to Govender, the self-described "ultimate servant," to Bonell, who’s bringing five-star service to the newly moneyed East, all have healthy egos buttressed by a belief that their way is the best possible way. A happy butler is a Buddhist monk in tails, taking pleasure in the duty itself. Serving, but never servile.