Devonshire's Paula Rich Is Still Treating People Like Royalty

As the world awaits the impending arrival of the next Royal Baby, Devonshire at PGA National staff member Paula Rich shares her experience working with the Royal Family as a teenager

Paula Rich

(Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) - Paula Rich, a Royal Palm Beach, Fla., resident and staff member at Devonshire at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., grew up in Old Windsor, England.  Her childhood home was located by the back gate of the entrance to the home park of Windsor Castle.  Both her mother and sister worked for the Royal Family as banquet servers and were responsible for looking after the Queen, her family, and visiting heads of state.  At the age of 13, Rich began working on the weekends as a polo groom at the Guards Polo Club in Windsor.  She learned to ride and manage horses at a very young age and marched in a Horse Ranger troop at state functions.  The ponies she worked with at the Guards Polo Club were kept at the Royal Mews at Windsor Castle. 

“I would ride the ponies down to Smiths Lawn to the polo grounds and help the Army officers get onto  the ponies for polo matches,” said Rich.  

Over the years as a polo groom, she grew familiar with James Hewitt, Major Parker Bowles, Major Ronald Ferguson, and watched Prince Charles play with Princes Andrew and Edward.  Rich also had interactions with Prince Philip, stating, “He was a very nice man to chat with.”

At age 16, Rich began a full time polo groom position and moved into an apartment in the Royal Mews. 

“I remember my gate key was made of wrought iron and must have been five inches long,” said Rich. 

Shortly thereafter, she began dating a soldier in the Army whom she met at the grounds; they married and for a deployment, the two moved to Germany.  After two years abroad, Rich returned to England and resumed work as a polo groom for The Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club.  There, her boss was a music producer and through those connections, Rich encountered many celebrities from Kenney Jones of ‘The Who’ to David Cassidy, best known for his role in The Partridge Family.  At age 23, Rich left her position at The Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club while pregnant with her first daughter.

After moving to the United States and settling in West Palm Beach, Rich was employed in the television production industry for 25 years and worked in hand modeling and voice overs, as well as appeared in television commercials and a short indie film.  Having received a diploma in Stage and Character Makeup, Rich also did the makeup for many celebrities over the years including Burt Reynolds, Rush Limbaugh, Bob Newhart, Fareed Zakaria, and many more.  She even spent one day in the recording studio with John Denver as he sang “Annie’s Song” and “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” before joining him at The Kravis Center that evening for his concert. 

In 2008, Rich began working at Devonshire at PGA National, a retirement community in Palm Beach Gardens.  There, she spent six years working as a front desk concierge before being promoted to transportation supervisor in 2014.  Rich likens her position at Devonshire to air traffic control; she manages Devonshire’s transportation fleet, the community’s personal valets, and coordinates guest accommodations.  She’s also prepared and ready to help with any personal transportation needs the residents of the community may request.

“I enjoy working at Devonshire,” said Rich.  “The residents are like an extended family; I’ve come to appreciate and understand the relationships that can be formed with older generations.” 

When she is not working, Rich enjoys traveling and residing on her two acres in Royal Palm Beach, where she cares for her 240-lb, pot-bellied pig, Willis. 

About Devonshire at PGA National:  Devonshire at PGA National, one of 18 Erickson Living retirement communities, sits on a 26-acre campus in Palm Beach Gardens.  Devonshire offers distinctive retirement living complete with spacious apartment homes, valet services and concierge support, premier dining venues, and convenient access to health services, all located just minutes from Southeast Florida’s best shopping, dining, and cultural activities. More information about Devonshire at PGA National can be found at: http://www.ericksonliving.com/devonshire/.