Harry and Meghan's decision to axe Buckingham Palace staff 'was sad but inevitable'

Robert Jobson
Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex: REUTERS

The decision by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to “let go” their entire UK-based staff was “sad but inevitable”, sources said today.

Harry and Meghan, now based in Canada with son Archie, broke the news to their 15-strong team following January’s announcement that they are stepping down as working royals.

It is being seen as the clearest signal that they do not intend to return to Britain for long periods to work.

Their Buckingham Palace office is to be shut and redundancy negotiations are now “ongoing” — although one or two have been offered alternative roles within the royal household.

A source said: “Given their decision to step back, an office at Buckingham Palace is no longer needed... unfortunately there will be some redundancies.”

“There was a sense of inevitability about staff having to be let go

Another source said: “There was a sense of inevitability about staff having to be let go. But there is sadness too.”

Among those to lose their jobs is the couple’s newly-appointed private secretary, Fiona Mcilwham, who is on secondment from the Foreign Office and is expected to be found a Whitehall role.

Friends of Marnie Gaffney, the couple’s assistant communications secretary, said that the 10-year veteran had been offered a new role at Buckingham Palace but decided she would leave and negotiate a redundancy.

"She had the option to go back to Buckingham Palace, and they wanted her to stay. But she decided it was a natural ending after a decade with the royal household," said the friend.

"She will receive payment for leaving and is looking forward to taking on some new and different challenges."

Apart from the staff who are leaving, a small separate team will remain in place to manage the Sussex Royal Foundation.

They will continue to focus their efforts on The Duke’s sustainable tourism initiative, Travalyst - launched last year.

The team will continue to be independently funded and not paid for by the Royal Household.

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Harry and Meghan 'to close Palace office and sack 15 UK staff'