Household staff who served King Charles when he was heir to the British throne have already been told they could lose their jobs, drawing criticism from a union who called the move ‘heartless’ even before until Queen Elizabeth is buried.
Charles, who succeeded his mother when she died last Thursday, and his wife Camilla, the Queen Consort, will move from Clarence House, his London residence for decades, to the monarch’s main official residence, Buckingham Palace.
A Clarence House spokesperson said operations there had ceased and a process of consultation with staff over the redundancies had begun.
“Our staff have given long and loyal service and while some layoffs will be unavoidable, we are working urgently to identify alternative roles for as many staff as possible,” the spokesperson said.
The Guardian newspaper reported that up to 100 staff had been told they risked losing their jobs, some of whom had worked there for decades. They include personal servants such as footmen, valets, dressers and cooks, as well as office staff.
The notifications were issued even as they worked to help the new king through the accession process – including while a service of thanksgiving for his mother was underway in Edinburgh, he said . Monday will be a bank holiday for the Queen’s funeral.
The Public and Commercial Services Union condemned the decision to announce layoffs during the mourning period as “heartless”.
“While some household changes were to be expected, as roles in the Royal Family change, the scale and speed at which this has been announced is insane in the extreme,” said the general secretary of the union, Mark Serwotka.
The Clarence House spokesperson said the law required staff to be informed of the situation as soon as possible.
“Despite all efforts to delay until after the funeral, the advice remained the same,” he said. “Any staff made redundant will be offered enhanced severance packages.”
No staff would be affected for at least three months, he added.
Reporting by Angus MacSwan Editing by Peter Graff