Prince Charles & the Queen are gradually combining offices for the ‘handover’

HRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall visit the Sandringham Flower Show

Shortly after Prince William married Kate, the Prince of Wales tried to rearrange and reorganize the competing offices of all the royal family members. Charles wanted to control his sons’ offices as well as exert some amount of control over Buckingham Palace and the Queen’s affairs, schedule and press office. It was chaotic, from what I remember, but Charles’s attempt came from a good place: he wanted to streamline staff, which would have been cheaper, and make it so that he and the Queen were speaking with one voice publicly. Soon after Charles’ attempted “coup,” everything sort of went back to normal, with every royal running their own offices. Well, it seems like Charles’ effort just came too soon – now that the Duke of Edinburgh is retiring and the Queen seems eager to hand more of her duties to her children and grandchildren, some of the offices will be streamlined in the coming months. The Queen’s people are already stepping down!

The Queen’s top aide Sir Christopher Geidt is set to stand down from his key role at her side amid a dramatic shake-up of senior Royal staff. The Mail on Sunday understands that Sir Christopher’s surprise departure is the first of a ‘slew’ of personnel changes at a senior level in the Royal Household. It comes as the Queen and her heir the Prince of Wales attempt to impose greater unity on the rival ‘firms’ or households of the younger Royals. This is a watershed moment for the monarchy, as the Queen and Prince Philip step back from official duties and hand responsibility to the younger generation.

Sir Christopher, the Queen’s Private Secretary and a shrewd former Army intelligence officer, is a key figure in this transition, or ‘operation handover’ as it is known. Sources within the Royal Household say his departure will be followed by ‘two, maybe three more’ senior figures, who are set to leave before Christmas.

‘Sir Christopher’s departure is just the beginning. Major changes are afoot. Yes, it is a shake-up,’ said a senior source. One of those who is understood to be considering his position is Prince William’s Private Secretary, Miguel Head. Another said to be weighing up his options is Prince Harry’s Private Secretary Edward Lane Fox, a former captain in the Household Cavalry. Mr Head has served the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge loyally for a decade but has privately told friends he never intended be ‘a palace lifer’.

The privately educated former Ministry of Defence press officer has confided that he ‘feels his time is up’. If he does walk away it would be a huge blow to William and Kate who have relied on his counsel for a decade, although Kensington Palace last night insisted he has not quit. It has been previously announced that Kate’s Private Secretary, newly married Rebecca Deacon, has already officially announced that she is leaving her job.

Unifying the households of the Queen, Prince Charles and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge is something Sir Christopher has long championed, albeit with varying degrees of success. He tried to bring the press office – now named Royal Communications – under one director, former Daily Mail reporter Sally Osman. This has not really worked out as planned and has been marked by squabbles, rivalry and high- level departures.

Some courtiers see his departure as a ‘line being drawn’ – the beginning of a new era that might yet see the Queen accept Prince Charles as regent. Sources say she would seriously consider this once she reaches 95. It is widely acknowledged Her Majesty will never abdicate and the succession is rarely, if ever, talked about in official terms. It is perhaps no coincidence that despite the upheaval at Buckingham Palace, there are no sudden changes at Clarence House, the Prince of Wales’s household.

[From The Daily Mail]

The Daily Mail makes it sound like the Queen and Charles have gotten their staffs together gradually and they’ve been doing better about staying on the same message. Which is as it should be, although I doubt the Queen will be “stepping down” or formalizing Charles as the Regent anytime soon. The Daily Mail also points out, towards the end of the article, that Jason Knauf is not stepping down from his position as press secretary/communications guy for William, Harry and Kate. The vibe I’m getting from this piece is that Charles would very much like to bring his sons’ offices “in line” with his own, but Will, Kate and Harry are resisting those efforts. Which goes along with what many of us have been saying for a few years now – William and Kate are making a deliberate effort to have a separate “royal court” from Charles, a royal court based on being keen and normal, I suppose.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip open the new Metropolitan Police Headquarters

Photos courtesy of WENN.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

43 Responses to “Prince Charles & the Queen are gradually combining offices for the ‘handover’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Nyawira says:

    I don’t blame them for resisting. Their father is all about his PR. Isn’t one of the reasons he hated Diana because she overshadowed him? Even in that book by Camellas sources, his major concern on the night of her death was that it would affect his popularity. He would shove his kids under a bus in a heartbeat with a combined office. Separate staff is smarter for the guys.

    • Megan says:

      William and Harry are not about to let their father run their lives, just as Charles didn’t let his mother run his.

      • notasugarhere says:

        The Queen doesn’t run other people’s lives, she never tries to. She is not a crisis manager; she let’s things go far too long before finally acting. Plus she didn’t need to run Charles’s life.

        Despite some people’s obsession over a failed first marriage, Charles has been an incredibly successful and useful Prince of Wales. The problem is the next generation, which does need to be taken in hand. Trouble is, Charles can’t do that without risking losing all access to his grandchildren.

      • Megan says:

        @nota You did not understand my comment. Charles set up his own court, separate from his mother’s because he wanted to direct his royal career. William and Harry have done the same, only they lack their father’s accumen.

      • notasugarhere says:

        He had no need to set up a separate office, because HM wasn’t going to stop him doing anything. She just doesn’t act that way. Decades of her inaction prove that. If Charles wanted his own office, it was because he wanted it, not because anyone stood in the way of him doing anything.

        Given Charles’s emotional nature and need for praise? He wanted an office where he was considered the most important person in the room. William got all the worst traits of both his parents IMO.

    • perplexed says:

      I feel Charles would be useful to them. William kind of stinks at his own job when someone isn’t giving him direction.

    • Prince Charles: Too little, too late. Your two sons are embarrassing to you and your parents. Unconditional love but a kick in their lackluster, do nothing lives arses would have done the trick.

  2. Goats on the Roof says:

    I don’t understand this goal of “keen and normal” myself. The whole point is they’re *not* normal or the monarchy has zero purpose. Why anyone would give them millions upon millions to goof off in the country side and show their faces only when it suits them is just beyond my comprehension really.

  3. OSTONE says:

    Lainey’s take on this yesterday was spot on. I bet the “Royal Trio” are hoping for Granny to live much longer because once Charles ascends to the throne, he is not going to tolerate nonsense. At least that’s the vibe I am getting.

  4. bluhare says:

    The time for their own royal court will be when they are actually working and supporting whoever is the monarch at that time.

  5. Alix says:

    I’ll eat my hat if Charles is ever named regent. HM will keep working til her last day on earth, God bless her.

  6. littlemissnaughty says:

    I thought it was well established that QEII will do this until she keels over? Is this coming from Chaz? Also, I don’t understand why people think Charles will be so tough on his sons and significant others. I think he’s well aware that yes, the public likes him, but aren’t we all in agreement that his image is also a bit fragile? I mean he’s had his moments over the years and while I am loathe to bring her up, people haven’t forgotten the Diana years and subsequent debacle that was their marriage/divorce and his cheating. I think when it comes down to it, it wouldn’t be all that hard for his sons to work the public’s opinion to their advantage. Not gonna lie, that Diana documentary felt a bit like it was a step in that direction.

    • LAK says:

      She’ll keep going until her death, but she’s handing some of her work to Charles. It’s been happening for over ten years now. This is merely the latest stage in the handover.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        Yes but I was also referring to Charles possibly becoming regent. I somehow don’t see it happening. Even if she cuts back more and more, which is sensible, why would that be necessary? It also seems like a slap in the face for Charles, frankly. Sure, you can do the work but I’ll stay Queen.

      • notasugarhere says:

        It is not a slap in the face. Despite the whole Uncle David thing, the BRF doesn’t do abdication/retirement. HM made a vow to her God to serve her entire life and presumably she meant it.

        She’ll remain monarch doing all that she can, and that’s the way it works in that system. When she cannot handle certain things, she hands them to her heir. Charles isn’t longing for his mother to die; I don’t know why people have that idea.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        I never said that and I was referring specifically to the idea that Charles could become regent. Of course she can’t work the same hours she did 15 years ago and it makes perfect sense that Charles takes on more and more. But why would he become regent? Just wait a little longer, it doesn’t matter at this point. They both don’t strike me as people who half-ass this sort of thing.

      • notasugarhere says:

        He would be named Regent if she was deemed mentally incapacitated, or if she decided she wanted him named Regent for her own reasons. Perhaps if she felt her mental faculties weren’t up to the job, but she didn’t want that to be formally declared. It is up to them, not us.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        Well … yeah? Of course it’s up to them. We can still discuss it.

      • KiddVicious says:

        I didn’t realize Charles could be regent without being king, I thought “regent” came with the title.

      • LAK says:

        Kiddv: you are right, a regency is a formal situation with an actual regent that everyone can identify.

        What has happened instead is that a sneaky regency – lite is being put in place. It’s not formal therefore plausible deniability all round and we can all pretend it isn’t happening or Charles is simply helping out abit, lightening the load of the frail Queen etc.

      • notasugarhere says:

        KiddVicious were you thinking regnant or regina vs. regent?

        Her official cipher is EIIR, Elizabeth II Regina. Regina – reigning queen, Rex – reigning king.

        regnant = reigning, ruling

        regent = a person appointed to administer a country because the monarch is a minor or is absent or incapacitated.

        The Danish monarchy uses regent a lot. The Danes use it more like naming Staff in Charge while they’re out of the office. When Queen Margrethe II is out of the country, her eldest son is named regent until she returns. When he’s out of the country as well, sometimes her sister Benedikte or her younger son have been named.

      • bluhare says:

        Read somewhere the queen is thinking of having Charles be regent when she turns 95. I think it’s a good idea. When the queen dies, the shock will be huge; having him in her place prior will ease the transition.

    • SoulSPA says:

      I don’t know if I understood the last part of your post correctly, @littlemissnaughty. Are your referencing the documentary that Harry and Wills made about their Mum?

      In my opinion, the BRF are prepping big time in terms of PR now that the commemoration of Lady Diana’s passing is coming up. They are in need of gaining more points with the public.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        Yes, exactly. I know it was sold as setting the record straight etc. but let’s be real, William would never have done this just because. The entire thing reeked of PR and while I’m not mad at it (I love a good Diana documentary), I also don’t think this was about them sharing their memories. Or at least not exclusively.

  7. notasugarhere says:

    LAK, the article also states FOXy is thinking about leaving too…

    • LAK says:

      I saw that. I’m not surprised that ELF is leaving. Despite his job title, i’ve always thought he was employed as an Equerry for Harry and they tend to last 2-3yrs at a time.

  8. DailyNightly says:

    I find it a bit concerning that Charles hands always look so swollen. I’ve noticed this for a few years now.

    • LAK says:

      His hands have been swollen most of his life. It’s inherited from Philip who also has swollen fingers to extent that he had to stop wearing his rings decades ago.

    • themummy says:

      I just made a comment about this, too. I should have read the comments first, but I was in such a rush to talk about his giant finger that I just posted first, then read. Oops. 😉

  9. Ladybug says:

    What exactly do these people do to help the common folk? They receive tons of taxpayer money. They are worth billions. Are they helping the homeless, poor or disadvantaged? These are legitimate questions I really want to know.

    • notasugarhere says:

      Best case scenario IMO is they can provide an apolitical buffer and voice of reason between political factions, there to look out for the best interest of the People when the politicians run amok. And to serve as a defacto unifying force when it may feel like there is nothing else holding the country together.


  10. themummy says:

    Here is my completely superficial comment: Look at how hugely fat Charles’s index finger is!! It’s looks disproportionately swollen or something.

  11. graymatters says:

    “These people” are the family of the nation’s head-of-state. Someone else can, and probably will, explain it better, but essentially HM has an official role in terms of being a figurehead and diplomat. Surprisingly important, as evidenced by Trump’s complete lack of leadership ability in either role.

    The family has also taken on ribbon-cutting and charity works. It might not seem like much, but it’s a way for them to do better in the figurehead department and provide deserving “common folk” with public approbation. They often get involved in fund-raising for their charities, which ultimately helps those who need it.

    Some of them take the charity thing one step further and create a charity. The Duke of E founded the Duke of Edinburgh award thing, for instance. And I think he did something about creating playing fields all over the UK as well. Prince Charles (if this is who you had in mind since this article is about him) started the Prince’s Trust with his Navy severance pay while still in his 20’s in response to youth unemployment. I don’t know how many “common folk” that program has helped since then, but it’s a significant amount. He’s also done things like rescue Dumfries House and revitalize the surrounding area.

    I wouldn’t blame the British for questioning the royals’ cost-effectiveness, but they aren’t entirely useless anachronisms, either.

    ETA : this was meant as a reply to Ladybug

  12. seesittellsit says:

    Um, how can someone have “served the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for a decade” when they’ve only been the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for five years?!

    • notasugarhere says:

      It was worded badly but Rebecca Deacon was there for 10 years. She worked with William and Harry for 4-5 years before being assigned to KM after the wedding.