King Charles planning ‘major shakeup’ to Royal Household staff

The monarch and Queen Camilla are reportedly not in favour of ‘too many people doing the same jobs’

Kate Ng
Sunday 27 August 2023 13:10 BST
Comments
Watch King Charles's coronation day in 360°

King Charles III is reportedly planning to axe 20 per cent of his middle-management staff in the Royal Household in order to increase efficiency.

The monarch and his wife, Queen Camilla, are understood to disapprove of what they believe are too many members of staff doing similar jobs, according to The Mail on Sunday.

The staff cuts will reportedly affect “dozens” of employees at Buckingham Palace, Sandringham, Windsor Castle, and Balmoral.

Charles has long been understood to want to slim down the monarchy and modernise the way things work in the Royal Household. He is reportedly very conscious of how much the royal family is costing the taxpayer, with the taxpayer-funded Sovereign Grant totalling £86.3m in 2020 to 2021.

The newspaper quoted a source as saying: “There is a real feeling that the staffing at all the palaces is too heavy. There are far too many assistants to assistants. The King and Queen would prefer to pay people proper wages top to bottom but have less people.

“For instance, there are chefs for them and chefs for the staff. Why, they ask, can’t there be one lot of kitchen staff for everyone?”

It has been reported that Camilla will have a key role in overseeing the changes in royal staffing, with the source adding that the Queen “cannot abide too many people doing the same jobs”.

The matter has been apparently raised with Vice Admiral Sir Tony Johnstone-Burt, the Master of the Household.

The Independent has contacted Buckingham Palace for comment.

The King’s plan to slim down the monarchy began with the eviction of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex from their UK residence, Frogmore Cottage, it has been said.

Earlier this year, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were asked to vacate the home, three years after they stepped down from their roles as senior royals. The couple live in Montecito, California, with their two children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet.

It was reported at the time that the King wished to end subsidised rents for members of the royal family over the next five years, an expectation that extends to working royals, including the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Princess Royal, and the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh.

Sir Tony and Sir Michael Stevens, keeper of the privy purse, were put in charge of the period of transition following the coronation, it was understood, with Camilla ensuring the royal household adheres to the “Clarence House way” of operations.

A senior figure told the Evening Standard: “It is not about cuts, it is about getting the best value for money from those on the payroll. Sometimes less is more.”

The King has been preoccupied with streamlining the royal household ever since he took on the role of monarch. Last year, shortly after the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the succession of Charles to the throne, household staff who served the King before his ascension were told they could lose their jobs.

The Guardian reported that up to 100 employees, some of whom had worked at Clarence House for decades, were told they could be made redundant. They included personal servants such as footmen, valets, dressers and cooks, as well as clerical staff.

The Princess of Wales and the Prince of Wales with the King and Queen (Andrew Milligan/PA)

At the time, a Clarence House spokesperson said “some redundancies will be unavoidable”, adding that they were working to find “alternative roles for the greatest possible number of staff”.

However, Charles’ desire to have a smaller monarchy that will comprise of himself and Camilla, Prince William and Kate Middleton, Princess Anne, and Prince Edward and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, has had doubt thrown on it by his only sister.

In an interview with Canada’s CBC News ahead of the coronation in May, Anne defended the role of the monarchy in the modern world.

Asked about the proposals for a slimmed-down monarchy, she replied: “Well, I think the ‘slimmed-down’ was said in a day when there were a few more people around. It doesn’t sound like a good idea from where I’m standing, i would say. I’m not quite sure what else we can do.”

The royal family, along with the rest of the nation, will mark the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s death next month. King Charles, who is currently in Balmoral for his summer break, is reportedly planning to observe the anniversary quietly and in private.

William and Kate are expected to lead tributes to the late monarch and will reportedly deliver a message to the country in honour of her legacy.

Grant Harrold, former royal butler to Charles and Camilla when they were still the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, told The Independent that any commemorations will be “more reflective” and he expects there to be “videos and posts” on social media to mark the sombre anniversary.

Meanwhile, Harry is expected to be in the UK on the eve of the anniversary, when he is due to attend a charity event. He may remain in the country to mark the day itself, before traveling to Dusseldorf, Germany, for the start of his Invictus Games and to meet Meghan there.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in