The Daily Telegraph

Queen’s staff receive redundancy letters within days of death

- By Victoria Ward Royal correspond­ent

‘All the staff have been working late since Thursday, to be met with this’

‘Everybody is absolutely livid, including private secretarie­s and the senior team... People were visibly shaken by it’

ELIZABETH II’S personal aides, some of whom had served her for decades, received letters warning them of redundancy within days of her death, The Daily Telegraph understand­s.

Staff heard that they faced losing their jobs on Saturday as they came to terms with the death of “the boss”, as she was affectiona­tely known. But aides who live in grace-and-favour homes are not expected to be turfed out.

The Buckingham Palace machine moved swiftly after the late Queen died last Thursday, triggering an action plan that had been finessed over decades.

The King’s accession meant that he was now head of the household. At Clarence House, his former household, operations ceased with immediate effect, prompting redundancy letters to be sent to around 100 members of staff.

Private secretarie­s, the finance office, the communicat­ions team and household staff at Clarence House received written warning on Monday. Many had worked for the King for decades, but a palace spokesman said job losses were “unavoidabl­e”.

While the majority of Buckingham Palace staff are expected to be kept on to run the King’s household, those who served the Queen in a personal capacity face an uncertain future. Among those who worked solely for the late Queen was Angela Kelly, her dressmaker, who became one of her closest confidante­s.

Ms Kelly, a Liverpudli­an docker’s daughter, met the monarch in 1992, as a housekeepe­r at the British Ambassador’s residence in Berlin. Weeks later, she received a call asking if she would like to join the royal household.

She developed a friendship with the late Queen, and was given a grace-and-favour home close to Windsor Castle.

Paul Whybrew, the page of the backstairs, who at 6ft 4in towered over the monarch and was known as “Tall Paul”, is understood to be retiring after more than 40 years’ service to the late Queen.

The “brutal” process of redundanci­es after a royal death was laid bare in 2002 when the Queen Mother died and dozens of her loyal aides had to vacate their offices. Many in grace-and-favour homes, or who had accommodat­ion in the four residences used by the Queen Mother, found themselves looking for new homes.

Many retired, but those in a “floating” team, believed to total fewer than 10 and who travelled from house to house with the Queen Mother, were considered the most vulnerable.

Capt Sir Alastair Aird, the Queen Mother’s private secretary and comptrolle­r, said at the time they would “do their best” to minimise redundanci­es among her 50 staff, noting the “tremendous liaison” between the royal households.

When Princess Margaret died in February 2002, two of her 15 staff were offered other jobs in the royal household. One accepted. The rest either retired or accepted severance terms.

Clarence House staff received a letter from Sir Clive Alderton, the King’s principal private secretary. One source was quoted as saying: “Everybody is absolutely livid, including private secretarie­s and the senior team. All the staff have been working late every night since Thursday, to be met with this. People were visibly shaken by it.”

The letter outlined how the King’s work would shift from personal interests to a head of state’s official duties. Sir Clive said staff providing “direct, close, personal support and advice” to the King and Queen would remain in post.

A palace source said “every effort” had been made to delay such moves until after the late Queen’s funeral but legal advice meant the informatio­n had to be shared at the earliest opportunit­y.

Any staff made redundant are expected to receive “enhanced” redundancy payments. No staff will be affected for at least three months.

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