London, Feb 14 (IANS) The UK’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle were reportedly sacking all of their 15 staff members in the country and also closing their Buckingham Palace office as part of the couple’s transition away from royal life, it was revealed on Friday.
According to a Daily Mail report, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex broke the news to the staff members in person last month following the announcement that they were stepping down as senior working royals.
While one or two may be absorbed back into the royal household, most were now negotiating redundancy packages, the report added.
However, the Buckingham Palace on Thursday night said it did not comment on staffing matters but according to the report, it was understood senior royals, including the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William were aware of the office closure and redundancies.
“Given their decision to step back, an office at Buckingham Palace is no longer needed. While the details are still being finalised and efforts are being made to redeploy people within the royal household, unfortunately there will be some redundancies,” a source told the Daily Mail.
“The Duke and Duchess have a small team, less than 15 people. The team are very loyal to the Sussexes and understand and respect the decision they have taken,” the source added.
Among those to lose their jobs were the couple’s newly appointed private secretary, Fiona Mcilwham, their hugely experienced communications chief Sara Latham and Prince Harry’s long-standing programme co-ordinator Clara Loughran.
The other press officer to lose her job is Julie Burley, who worked for Harry, William and Kate on their successful mental health campaign Heads Together, said the Daily Mail report.
David Watkins, poached from British fashion house Burberry last August as the couple’s social media expert, was also sacked.
The Sussexes are currently living in Canada with their baby son Archie as they prepare to drop their ‘HRH’ styles and quit the monarchy in favour of financial freedom, the Metro newspaper reported.
They had initially hoped for a dual role, supporting the Queen, the Commonwealth and Harry’s military associations, but the idea was deemed unworkable.
Buckingham Palace has said the Sussexes’ new life away from royal duties will begin this spring.