Get inspired by Simon Morgan and his journey. Check out his insightful Five-Star interview on Rich Woman and discover his secrets to success.
Table of Contents
Simon Morgan- the greatest lesson
My guest on Five Star Insights is Founder and Director of Trojan Consultancy, Simon Morgan. Simon has enjoyed an illustrious career where he served as a personal protection officer to Her Majesty The Queen and other members of the British Royal Family, former Prime Ministers like David Cameron and other high profile dignitaries, leaders and individuals.
He started in the Metropolitan Police Service working both in SO19 as a specialist Firearms Officer before moving on to the prestigious SO14 in Royal Personal Protection.
From 2007 – 2013 he was always on guard as the Royal Family went about their duties and he played a big role in the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding in April 2011.
While he enjoyed working in the public sector, the transition to the private sector with his business, Trojan Consultancy has been a new challenge as he had to quickly learn how to develop, run and expand a business.
The greatest lesson he has learnt is lots of people hear but don’t listen.
Music-‘Rush Hour’ by Jane Wiedin
Simon says the nineties was an important decade for him and hearing music from that era brings back lots of memories for him, “I was growing up, learning about life, university, joining the police, met my wife.” He remembers the first time he walked into a nightclub, ‘Rush Hour’ by Jane Wiedin was playing and he said it was like “a whole new world opening up to you”. He reveals that he wanted to be a DJ but ended up being a doorman. “Couldn’t even get past the front door!”
Even now, he thinks if he had more time he would love to be a DJ mixing tunes on the decks. “Actually, I applied and was accepted to join the Royal Marines but a serious leg injury sent me to university instead… After three years and life experiences I started my career in the police force” Given that music from that decade was very varied everything from REM, Deee-Lite and Groove Is In The Heart, Santana, MC Hammer and even the Spice Girls, does he have a favourite artist? “No, just what sounds good at a given moment in time and that could mean when I am training or relaxing in the car.”
Literature-get it right every day
We move on to literature and I know Simon doesn’t enjoy reading but in his previous role as a Royal personal protection officer, he had to keep up with both the broadsheets and the red tops incase the principal wanted to have a conversation.
“You’ve got to know when that conversation is finished… and, you have to be a little bit apolitical at times and not get kind of carried away with your views; it may just be a sounding board. It may just be a throwaway conversation that they want to have whilst they’re waiting, for a telephone call to kind of come in or something along those lines”
He has also been interviewed in the media as a subject matter expert “because people want to know various things about the policing of the Royal family.” Given my experience, I’m well placed to speak about “how that protection package or what that security detail looks like.”
I recently did a documentary, Secrets to the Royal Palaces where I spoke about some of the security breaches that have taken place and how security has evolved since then.
I mention to Simon that books and manuals must come into play in his role as a trainer and instructor. I’m curious to know about the balance between theory v’s practical.
“You have to know why you are doing something and that comes from the theoretical base, after that it becomes very much a practical skill.” He goes on to say “of course you are trained to drive, fight, shoot but communication both the spoken word and body language, listening, the ability to walk and talk at the same time and assess a situation is key to the role.”
Simon remembered the first time he was on duty as the Queen did a fifteen minute walkabout. “I was absolutely drained when I sat back in the car…” Not surprising when Simon says “as a protection officer, you have to get it right every day, the bad guy only has to get it right once.”
Cuisine– keep things real
We continue with the theme of his work as a Royal protection officer for our third section, cuisine as I ask Simon if his role enabled him to eat in top restaurants? “Yes, but you don’t enjoy it…you are there working with a principal…you have to be alert. You eat food very quickly, which is a terrible habit to have, you are always trying to be ahead of the game, you are working yet, people are engaging with you. You need to have that 360 vision.”
Simon says it is important to keep things real. “…for every time you’ve gone to a Michelin restaurant, driven home in a Bentley, gone into a £10 million pound house to drop off a principal, you know the following day, you’re back at the school gates talking to all the other dads. And the next meal you might eat is at Nando’s with a couple of those dads.”
I want to know more about the clear divide and mindset that goes with what looks like a glamorous and exciting role giving access to environments that ordinary people wouldn’t get to see and the reality of being a husband, father and life back at home.
‘I learnt the lesson the hard way and its not one they teach you in training! Sometimes when I was away, I would be speaking to my wife and telling her about a Michelin star restaurant I ate at and not knowing what to choose on the menu. Meanwhile, she was at home, with our two young children who had probably thrown their food all over the floor and trying to juggle lots of other things…not what she really wanted to hear’
And there is another side to this as well because “you could be out on the road for 10 days, three weeks or longer and when you get back home, my wife would want to go out for a meal but all I wanted to do was stay at home and eat beans on toast!”
Are things different now?
“Yes. We enjoy going out to eat as a family and I like to introduce my three children to the wide variety of food on offer, lots of different dishes and flavours. I enjoy pan-Asian food and prawns – hot or cold!”
Location– Tenerife, Spain
I couldn’t agree more, there is nothing like meals out with family and friends. My fourth section brings us to location. On this Simon is very clear about his choice as it’s a regular holiday destination and one he would eventually like to retire to – Tenerife, in Spain.
“I’ve been very fortunate to travel the globe with work… my brother lives in Australia, and I think Sydney’s a fabulous city and I love everything on offer in the Australia mentality around lifestyle and work life balance but for me, I come back to one place and again, going back to the nineties, that first lad’s holiday that I went on in 1990 to Tenerife…It’s somewhere that I feel really comfortable I like the environment, I like the cuisine. We take the children there now and they enjoy it and they look forward to it.”
And I think ultimately almost probably when the time is right. I’ll retire out there because I just love it so much out there.
I ask Simon, as a protection officer what his biggest concerns are when working abroad in a different country? “…there’s a lot of negotiation. Because protection is done differently, ultimately throughout the world and different agencies have different responsibilities and frame of references.” Furthermore, he says on a daily basis the job can be rather mundane with lots of preparation, for things that should never happen.
“You know, that visit, that opening something, closing something that could have been potentially six months in the planning.”
So what happens when Simon is on holiday with his family? Can he really switch off and relax?
“You have that thought process because it’s constant and that’s what you’ve been trained to do. So, you know, I never walk into a room that I don’t know how to walk out of…I look at environmental changes, you look where kind of the exits are, that is subconscious but most probably you do notice things that other people wouldn’t pay any attention to.“
Art– the history behind that building
On that note we move on to my final section, Art. Simon says he has become more cultured as he has grown older and he likes architecture “I look at buildings and think, wow, what’s the history behind that building.” But if he had to choose one thing, it would be photography “…because I think photography captures something at that particular point in time. And, certainly sport most probably ranks quite highly, when you see some of the images that get captured” Simon says his wife gave him a camera one Christmas, but he hasn’t used it as much as he should. Could it be that Simon always wants to do everything properly?
“Yeah. I mean, again, that’s probably a character trait or character flaw, whichever way you want to look at it, but you want to get it right. And you want to give it a hundred percent.”
We both do agree that the perfect camera moment can not always be planned.
I ask Simon, what are in the picture frames around his house?
“Family, just where we’ve been, what we’ve done. When we go to Tenerife we have a photograph taken in a particular spot every year so that we can see how the children change, how we change. So yes, lots of photos of the children.”
Have you got any pictures of you at work, with high profile individuals or people?
The answer is very few because people haven’t come to see you. When I left royalty protection and set up the team, then you realize you want those pictures of you with a member of the Royal family, to show a client this is what I used to do…I could find plenty of my watch, plenty of the back of my head, plenty of my left foot and all these things…”
Of course, Simon says “I realise how valuable those photos are to us now but at the time, you are doing the job that you are there to do and ultimately, that is to preserve life.”