Harry and Meghan help 15 employees and close their office in Buckingham Palace.
It is the surest sign so far that the couple and their son Archie will probably never return to the UK to live.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex personally brought the news to their team in January following the announcement that they were resigning as senior working royals.
Although one or two can be returned to the royal household, most are now negotiating dismissal packages.
They are the last victims of Harry and Meghan’s bomb decision to move to North America and make their fortune outside the royal family.
Meghan Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry are portrayed during a creative industry and business reception in Johannesburg, South Africa on October 2, 2019
Last night Buckingham Palace said it did not comment on human resources issues, but it is understood that senior royals, including the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William, are aware of the closure of the office and fired.
A source told the Mail: “Given their decision to step back, an office in Buckingham Palace is no longer needed. Although the details are still being finalized and efforts are being made to rearrange people within the royal household, there will unfortunately be some layoffs. “
Among those losing their jobs are the newly appointed private secretary of the couple, Fiona Mcilwham – although she is seconded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Commonwealth and is likely to be found in a position in Whitehall – and their hugely experienced communications head Sara Latham .
Fiona McWilwham, private secretary of the Duchess of Sussex, is depicted in an undated photo. Among those losing their jobs is the newly appointed private secretary of the couple, Fiona Mcilwham – although she has been seconded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Commonwealth and is likely to find a role in Whitehall
Head of Communications, Sara Latham during a visit from Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex to Canada House to meet Janice Charette, High Commissioner in the UK, UK, as well as staff to thank them on January 7, 2020
Harry’s years of program coordinator Clara Loughran, who was so well appreciated by the prince that she was asked to give Meghan her bouquet in church on her wedding day, will go.
In addition to Miss Latham – who previously worked for the Obamas and was Hillary Clinton’s senior campaign consultant – her deputy assistant secretary Marnie Gaffney is expected to leave.
As a much-loved and long-standing member of Buckingham Palace’s press staff, she played an important role in supporting Harry in his military work and he and Meghan organized hugely successful official trips to Australia and Africa,
The Queen made her a member of the Royal Victorian Order for her dedicated service.
Project manager of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Clara Loughran née Madden at Trinity College during the royal visit to Dublin, Ireland. Harry’s many years of program coordinator Clara Loughran, who was so well appreciated by the prince that she was asked to give Meghan her bouquet in church on her wedding day, will go
Marnie Gaffney from Kingston-Upon-Thames is a member of the Royal Victorian Order of Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on an undated photo. Deputy Assistant Communications Secretary Marnie Gaffney, is supposed to leave
The other press officer who loses her job is Julie Burley, who worked for Harry, William and Kate on their successful mental health campaign Heads Together.
David Watkins, poached by fashion house Burberry in August as an expert on social media, is also out.
The source insisted that although “Megxit” had come as a complete shock to the team, most of them accepted their destiny. “The duke and duchess have a small team, fewer than 15 people. The team is very loyal to the Sussex people and understands and respects the decision they have made, “the source said.
“They are all close by and support each other. The team is busy helping their Royal Highnesses for the future and is working on a series of final assignments. “
It is understood that this includes the Mountbatten Festival of Music at the Royal Albert Hall on March 7, which will be Harry’s last engagement as Captain General of the Royal Marines. He and Meghan are also expected to attend the Commonwealth Day service on March 9.
A picture from Twitter shows Royal Assistant to Harry and Meghan, Julie Burley. The other press officer who loses her job is Julie Burley, who worked for Harry, William and Kate on their successful mental health campaign Heads Together
One or two other engagements are planned before the couple returns to Canada to begin their new life. When they announced their decision to step back in early January, Harry and Meghan insisted on dividing their time between the UK and North America. But this last step suggests that travel back to the UK will be limited. A source said: “I think they will be back a bit. They really intend to keep their patrons and keep that work in the UK. “
Some of the departing staff began to work with Harry long before his marriage to Meghan.
A royal source told the Mail: “I don’t think it will come as a surprise to anyone that these have been incredibly difficult circumstances for their team, who have been through very difficult times lately. They are all good people, very loyal and brilliant in their work, and everyone has incredible compassion for them. “
Another insider made it clear that the couple’s decision to hire a team of US-based agents and publicists, many of whom worked for Meghan when she was an actress, had made the life of their Palace staff incredibly difficult .
The couple organized private assignments and briefings with the American team and hired a Canadian designer to create a new website without the involvement of the royal advisers.
David Watkins, social media advisor to Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, walks through the gardens of Buckingham Palace in London on January 16, 2020. David Watkins, poached from fashion house Burberry in August as the couple’s social media expert, is also out.
This has led to a number of embarrassing blunders. “There are several cases where clear advice from the Palace team was given and not listened to,” the source revealed. “They have done their best against a background of several international advisors, publicists and high-profile friends.”
“The team of Harry and Meghan is so loyal, probably a mistake sometimes. They fight for the couple while they know they are losing their jobs. Attempts are being made to re-employ some people. But that is actually a small fraction of the total staff. “
A small team continues to work privately in London to promote Harry’s new environmentally-friendly travel initiative, Travalyst, launched last year.
It is thought that the layoffs will be completed by the time Harry and Meghan’s “transition” resign as senior royals are formally closed
This is probably around mid to late March when they return for their final official duties.
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Richard Kay: So far the ties with Great Britain
Nobody can really say that they have not seen this coming. After all, the die was cast at that historic Sandringham summit when it was announced that Harry and Meghan were leaving their royal lives for a future that might prove elusive.
Yet there was a ruthlessness in the news that they had given marching orders to almost all of their palace staff whose only crime had been to serve the Duke and Duchess of Sussex with nothing less than absolute dedication.
How hollow are those reassuring words that were issued just a month ago on behalf of the couple that they would divide their time – and their responsibilities – between the UK and Canada, now healthy.
The only interpretation that can be drawn from the revelation of the Daily Mail is that the idea of a half-in-half-existence – choosing with them what they would do to help the queen and when they would do it – nothing less than half was fried.
It now seems little more than a piece of royal deception that has been sold to us to make their departure from these shores somehow tastier.
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leaving Canada House on January 7, 2020 in London, England
Individually, many in the royal household asked how practical such an arrangement could be possible. For the employees, who remained on fire on behalf of Harry and Meghan even yesterday, in particular about reports that the Prince was having fun with Goldman Sachs, the world’s most powerful investment bank, their dismissals are of course a personal tragedy.
Many were recruited in the exciting excitement surrounding the couple after their wedding in 2018, attracted by their promise to be the most progressive and modern members of the royal family ever.
Some had given up other posts, and it is likely that only a few could be included in other palace roles. But although they have every reason to be bitterly disappointed about how their loyalty has been rewarded, the implications of these substantial domestic changes are profound.
Richard Kay: For the only interpretation that can be deduced from the revelation of the Daily Mail, it is the idea of a half-in-half-existence – choosing with them what they would do to help the queen (pictured in June last year) and when they would do it – was nothing less than half-baked.
Courtiers believe that they not only put an end to Sussex’s ties with Great Britain, but also a “power shift” towards Meghan. In just over a month Harry has lost a terrifying amount. He has broken with his family, his friends and his way of life. He will never again wear the military uniform he has cherished. By saying goodbye to his dedicated London secretariat, he is now effectively breaking his royal connections.
There is also speculation about what this means for the couple’s son, Archie, and his education. Will he become the first of the Queen’s great-grandchildren to be educated abroad?
Harry’s wife has meanwhile insured her move back to her adopted home in Canada, where she has set up a team of mostly American professionals to help her develop her career as an actress.
They will now lead the couple. They include a sharp elbow US public relations company, Sunshine Sachs, along with the former agent, lawyer and business manager of Meghan.
Without the familiarity of his London advisers, Harry is likely to become increasingly dependent on Meghan’s team.
And with such figures at the helm, there is every chance that the couple will make more gigs of the kind that they led last week when they were guests at a conference for the JP Morgan bank in Florida, where they took the plunge with some of America’s richest figures.
In her statement a month ago, Harry’s grandmother spoke carefully and precisely about the discussion she had had about the future of my grandson and his family.
By allowing a transitional period for both parties to adapt and by refusing to remove the pair from their HRH titles – although they will not use them – the queen made it clear, despite her grief, that the door is still was always open.
The inescapable conclusion is that Harry and Meghan have slammed the door themselves by warning their staff.