A British civil service trade union has lashed out against potential layoffs at Clarence House, the headquarters of Charles III while he was Prince of Wales. Following reports by The Guardian that up to 100 staffers had received a letter notifying them of possible redundancies now that the king and queen consort were moving to Buckingham Palace, the PCS union issued a statement calling the move “nothing short of heartless.”
“We believe the decision to announce redundancies in the Royal Household during the period of national mourning is nothing short of heartless,” read the statement, alluding to the ceremonies underway to honor the late Elizabeth II, who died on Thursday of last week.
“Many of these staff will be the same people who have so diligently supported the new king during this period of mourning, working extremely hard over recent days only to be given redundancy notices as thanks,” added the statement.
The notice allegedly arrived as a thanksgiving service was being held for Elizabeth II at Saint Giles Cathedral (Edinburgh) on Monday. By then, a group of private secretaries, members of the finance office, communication staffers and household employees of Clarence House had been working overtime for days to achieve a smooth transition.
The Guardian reported that the letter from Sir Clive Alderton, the king’s top aide, informed recipients that “the portfolio of work previously undertaken in this household supporting the former Prince of Wales’s personal interests, former activities and household operations will no longer be carried out, and the household […] at Clarence House will be closed down.”
A few employees at Clarence House have worked directly for many years at the service of Charles III and the queen consort, Camilla. But most of the staff worked on the logistics of the then-Prince of Wales’ day-to-day activities, as well as managing the Duchy of Cornwall, an area of over 52,000 hectares encompassing farms, residential areas and commercial properties that generates significant economic profit. All this is now passing into the hands of Prince William, the new heir apparent, who already has his own work team and who must now decide whether to move to Clarence House in the coming months.