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Off with their heads! Queen’s staff vote on strike

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Max Mumby/Indigo | Getty Images

Workers at one of the Queen's palaces are royally cross about "appallingly" low wages – which could mean that some of Her Majesty's staff could go on strike for the first time ever.

Of course, the era when she could say "off with their head" is over.

The staff, wardens at the castle, are employed by The Royal Collection Trust, a charitable wing of the Royal Household. They are on a starting salary of £14,400 ($21,288) a year, which the union representing them, the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), argues is below the national living wage. Part of their grievance is that they often undertake extra unpaid duties, such as tours of the castle.

Members of the PCS who work at Windsor Castle are being balloted between March 31 and April 14 over whether they will take industrial action, which could affect tours of Windsor, one of the Queen's official residences, from the end of April – not long before the U.K.'s busy summer tourist season is about to start. The castle is the oldest and largest occupied castle in Europe, and is used as the Queen's weekend home.

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS, said: "These workers are loyal to their employer and absolutely committed to ensuring visitors are given the royal treatment.

"It is scandalous that staff are so appallingly paid and expected to do work for free that brings in money for the Royal Family."

- By CNBC's Catherine Boyle