Why the Butler is Still Relevant in Modern Society


Published on May 17, 2020

When you think of a Butler, you will probably think of television shows and movies from a different era. The traditional butler in a full formal butler suit, with white gloves, serving people. And although those butlers do still exist, times have changed. And the Butler profession has developed and evolved with it! You might be surprised to hear it, but a Butler is still very relevant in modern society. They might look a little different, and have some different tasks. But the heart and soul of old fashioned butlering is, and will remain always there. Just in a more modern coat!

So why is the Butler still relevant in modern society?

What is a Traditional Butler

To understand what the role of a modern butler in society nowadays is, let’s first have a look at the traditional Butler, its tasks, and how they now differ.

The traditional Butler is the classic image that comes to mind. The Downton Abbey-style butler. A traditional butler is very much a multi-skilled service professional. This Butler stands out for his ‘invisible presence’. Understanding the needs of the principals before they realise them and providing service accordingly. In some cases, the traditional Butler can be seen as the highest servant of the household. Being left in charge of the male staff and junior butlers.

Mostly classically trained at a Butler or Service School, this butler is similar to the ones portrayed in British television series and films. In most cases, this butler will be male, wearing a classic Butler suit.

The Traditional Butler will have excellent knowledge of silver service and etiquette. And therefore will be the first person the principals, and their guests will be greeted by when entering the house. He will be in charge of service for more formal occasions and parties, as well as the day-to-day service of food and beverages.

With an excellent knowledge of wine-pairing and spirits, the Traditional Butler will oversee the wine cellar and pantry. The Traditional Butler will also have knowledge of clothing and wardrobe management and can act as a Valet when needed.

Is the Traditional Butler Completely Gone?

This type of Butler has not completely vanished! They still have a place and are relevant in modern society. There are quite some households – although nowhere near as many as years ago – that prefer a Traditional Butler. This could be a more traditional British family. But a traditional English Butler is also increasing in popularity by international families who aspire to a lifestyle of Britain in times like Downton Abbey.

Another place where you can still see a traditional style Butler nowadays, is parties and events. Many people like to hire a traditional style butler for a special party, presentation, or weekend getaway. It can really uplift any event and the butler in its traditional butler suit is a real talking point. Not only that, but this butler also brings all the knowledge and skills to make sure that your event runs smoothly, providing your guests with impeccable service and attention to detail.

What is a Modern Butler

The Butlering profession has needed to adapt to modern times. First technology has played a big part in modernising society, leaving some of the more traditional butler tasks no longer needed. Also, many people nowadays do not prefer the sometimes stiff, and extremely formal outlook of the traditional butler.

But fact of the matter is, many people still require service, help around the house, with guests, and managing staff. So here comes the Modern Butler.


The modern Butler can come from many different backgrounds and does not wear the traditional butler suit. Different from the traditional Butler, who will mostly come from a hospitality and service background. The modern butler has a wide variety of skills and can take on many different roles – household manager, domestic staff manager, payroll, chauffeur, etc.


The modern Butler can manage and organise the maintenance of the house, be in charge of complete building projects, book flights, and book holidays. With different backgrounds, some modern Butlers come from a military or professional sports background – with skills they can apply in their day to day Butlering role.

Exciting sports events and adventurous trips are often organised and led by the modern Butler. He can source the best restaurants, bars, and nightclubs and will have a wide network they can source to make sure the Principals are getting entrance to the right events at the right times.

Besides this, Modern Butlers will be trained in and knowledgeable of silver service. They can organise events and parties and make sure that on the night everything is running smoothly – including being part of/head of the service team.


The biggest difference – at least by looks – between a traditional and a modern Butler is the butler suit. The traditional Butler would never be seen without their full butler suit including white gloves, and take presentation extremely seriously.

A modern butler does not have to stick to such strict uniform rules. Normally a modern butler would be formally dressed, but not to the level of a traditional Butler. It can completely depend on the household they are working for. Some people would prefer their modern Butler to wear a suit, others might be more relaxed and tidy jeans and a shirt might even be possible. But do not expect to see the white gloves with a modern Butler!

Service still at the heart

There is one thing in the butlering world that will never change. However modern the role of the Butler may become, and however much this will evolve. The true heart and soul of butlering will always be service. A Butler’s true aim is to serve their employers, their principals, or whoever they are working for on that day. So whatever role the Butler has, from traditional, to modern, to whatever it might evolve into in the future. The Butler will always have a place, and continue to be relevant in modern society. The Butler will always be the ultimate service professional you can rely upon!

How Can Polo & Tweed Help?

Would you like to have a Butler, modern or traditional, working in your household? Or maybe consider having a Butler just for a party or event. It can transform the day and really impress your guests!

Polo & Tweed have a great selection of amazing, experienced Butlers, traditional and modern, on our books available for short term and long term bookings. Give us a call to find out more!

If this inspired you to become a Butler or take some more Butler training – contact us now!  You can even do this from the comfort of your own home, in your own time. Our Butler training is available in face to face as well as online E-learning format.

 To find out more about what options work best for you, do contact us here now and we look forward to speaking to you!


  1. Al says:

    Looking for a modern female butler in Wexford, Pennsylvania

  2. Dalston Jules says:

    Interested in learning more information about the virtual butler service training

  3. Judith Osborne says:

    I am very interested in learning the skills to become a butler. However, I am 58 years of age and wonder if I am too old? I would be very grateful if you could give me some honest advice.

  4. Harissa says:

    I thought like with the evolution of the modern Butler, the name “Butler” should have changed to a better name. What else could it be called?

    • Aafke Meelen says:

      Thank you for your comment – the usage of the title ‘Butler’ is indeed an interesting topic of discussion. Many, more formal, traditional, households still prefer to use the title of Butler. Having said that, the role of the butler has developed and changed so much over the years, that many are now called ‘House Managers’ or even carry the title of ‘Estate Manager’, even though they might still do some of the more traditional Butler tasks, too.

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