Queen Elizabeth has lost several long-time staffers at Sandringham, weird

State Opening of Parliament

On Tuesday, Queen Elizabeth missed the Church of England’s General Synod for the first time in its 51-year history. Buckingham Palace cancelled her appearance on Sunday, at the same time they cancelled her appearance at the Cenotaph. QEII did send prepared statement in which she noted, “It is hard to believe that it is over 50 years since Prince Philip and I attended the very first meeting of the General Synod. None of us can slow the passage of time.” People are taking that as some kind of acknowledgement that she’s slowing down, which… she’s 95 years old, of course she’s slowing down and she’s acknowledging the obvious.

Meanwhile, this curious story popped up and I can’t help but wonder why it isn’t getting more play. Following Prince Philip’s passing, Sandringham has been losing household and estate staff at a steady clip. While Philip spent much of the pandemic at Windsor Castle, before that, he had been living full time at Wood Farm on the Sandringham estate. It doesn’t sound like Sandringham is losing the staffers tasked with taking care of Wood Farm though?

Courtiers have said it’s “the end of an era” after a housekeeper with 32 years of service retired, with three other employees also quitting in the space of two months. The Queen has spent every Christmas at Sandringham House since her father’s death in 1952. Christmas is the busiest time of year at Sandringham with the Royal Family all travelling to the Norfolk estate for the festive period beginning with a traditional dinner on December 24 in the main house. But this year will be different as the royals gather for their first Christmas without Prince Philip, who the Queen called her “strength and stay” in a rare tribute marking their 50th wedding anniversary in 1997.

A royal source told the Mail on Sunday: “There’s been an exodus. There’s an end-of-an-era feeling after the Duke passed away. The household will have to fill those roles quickly as Christmas is the busiest time of year at Sandringham.”

The Queen, 95, has been surrounded by loyal aides as she rests on doctors’ orders in recent weeks. Dresser Angela Kelly and courtier Paul Whybrew are said to be a source of support for the Queen amid mounting concerns for her health. It comes as the Queen is also looking to hire a new security expert at Buckingham Palace.

[From The Daily Express]

So… Sandringham is facing a staff exodus. Is this part of the “great resignation”? Curious that there’s no chatter about how the Queen is clearly “bullying” staffers who have no recourse but to leave! I guess sometimes people just lose staff and it’s not any big conspiracy? Weird. But in this case, I do think there’s something going on. To lose so many long-time staffers in a short period… it makes me wonder.

queen windsor zoom

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Buckingham Palace’s social media.

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69 Responses to “Queen Elizabeth has lost several long-time staffers at Sandringham, weird”

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  1. BayTampaBay says:

    IMAO, the Sandringham staff DO NOT want to work for Charles III or William V.

    • JT says:

      This makes sense.

    • Rapunzel says:

      My thoughts too, BTB.

      TQ is sicker than we think and these staffers are quitting while they can still get a good reference for their next job, because Chucky won’t give it to them.

    • Tessa says:

      I think it’s rather that they know Charles and William aren’t as into Sandringham as the Queen and that she won’t be around much longer, so they will lose their jobs sooner or later. They could be even encouraged to leave. It’s probably easier to hire short-term staff just for Christmas than to maintain permanent staff at this point.

      • Rapunzel says:

        Who says Christmas will be at Sandringham after TQ passes? I can imagine people might find the traditions ruined without TQ. Maybe Sandringham will not be used/ opened to the public? That would require no or different staff.

        In fact, I think it would be a smart play for Charles to announce Sandringham as open to the public in honor of his mother’s life, since she loved it there. Maybe even open Balmoral more as well. Generate more tourism dollars, Chucky.

      • Becks1 says:

        I just said something similar – but do think there are rumors of opening Sandringham to the public full time (its open now part of time, mostly in summer I think) and in general Sandringham seems the most active of the royal houses – there’s a cafe, I think a playground, lots of walking trails, the gardens, the lights at christmas (I follow Sandringham estate or whatever the handle is on IG lol) so that would mean a shift in staffing needs.

        Balmoral is more remote so may not be as appealing for tourists but I bet it would make a killing if they turned it into a hotel or rented it out for large hunting parties etc.

      • anotherlily says:

        Sandringham is the Queen’s private property and will no doubt be passed on to Charles along with Balmoral. It is unlikely to be opened to the public full time. The estate already makes money from leasing land, from farming and from events held in the grounds as well as from the house, cafe and gift shop on the dates it is open to the public.

      • Becks1 says:

        @anotherlily – there is ZERO doubt that Sandringham will pass to Charles so that he can get it tax free. Same with Balmoral. But, I can definitely see him opening it to the public full-time – it’s already a pretty public estate, because the grounds and cafe are open, and the house itself is open part of the year – it would not be a big undertaking to open it full-time and would probably bring in more money to help swell his coffers, so to speak.

    • Becks1 says:

      I think this is part of it, but also, there have been some rumors that Charles is going to turn Sandringham into a full time museum or whatever (so it would no longer be used as a residence even at Christmas) and so why would it need the same sort of staff that is needed to run a residence?

      the housekeeper who has been there for 32 years is the most telling in my opinion, although “telling” of what I’m not sure – but why not stick it out with the Queen for another 6 months or a year or whatever, you’ve been there over 30 years as it is, rather than retiring now?

      Maybe someone – charles, camilla, Anne, Kate, whoever – is planning on calling the shots for christmas at sandringham and this person wanted out? It just seems really weird timing IMO for a long time housekeeper to retire right before the busy time of year for the house.

    • harperc says:

      None of TQ’s staff will be working for C or Wm. They will bring their own people in.

      After the Queen Mother died, all of her staff immediately got canned and lost their housing. The saying was that once a royal died, all of the staff “died” with them as well. So all these long time, very loyal staff members got shooed out without any kind of notice.

      I’m thinking TQ’s staff are seeing the writing on the wall and some of them are looking out for themselves and making arrangements. And they are closer to the situation, so I’m also thinking that they know Christmas isn’t happening at Sandringham, so are bailing now.

      • anotherlily says:

        This makes sense. The senior royals have their own staff. Many of Prince Phillip’s staff moved on when he retired to Wood Farm and most of the small staff and aides who remained with him will have left when he died. The residences will always need maintenance staff but a significant change is on the horizon and people are probably making their own plans.

    • marehare says:

      Also the Royal family pays very low wages. I read that starting wage for a maid is about 26,000 a year. That’s about 11.60 an hour which is slave wages. I wouuld quit or never work for such low wages.

      • Julaine says:

        Generally those with low wages are provided with housing, meals & a uniform allowance so it’s not as terrible as it seems.

      • anotherlily says:

        It’s above minimum wages and there are additions such as free meals when on duty and low rents for live-in staff. If conditions were bad then people wouldn’t stay.

      • Gigi says:

        Yikes! How very Downton Abbey are the comments above.

      • Ania says:

        I don’t know, Gigi, wouldn’t you be happy to work for low pay if you got a uniform allowance???

      • ElleE says:

        @ANIA “I don’t know, Gigi, wouldn’t you be happy to work for low pay if you got a uniform allowance???”

        Hahahahahahahahahaha COTD. You forgot to mention the free meals/leftovers.

  2. Jen says:

    So weird. It’s almost like staff leaves positions at time without it being because of a black woman.

  3. Jan90067 says:

    Could Charles be gutting it, putting his own people in place, to take over already? Think he’ll change the “traditions” like the weigh-in and 7 costume changes?

    And why is TQ looking for a security “expert” at BP? Esp. if she’s at Windsor? Does she think someone wants to “off her” a little earlier?? (joking! joking!).

    • Moxylady says:

      I would think it’s a real concern.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      @ Jan90067, that is an odd request at this time of her life. What would prompt her to look into a security expert now, at this time. I am certain that TQ has a top notch security system in place already. Why an expert now? Seems a bit odd to also announce such a matte taking place as well.

  4. Andrew's Nemesis says:

    She’s on her deathbed and the staff are no longer necessary. They have no desire to work for PWT or his weak and corrupt father, so they’re going before her Maj draws her final breath.

    • Anastasia says:

      Honestly, it’s morbid, but I wonder if she’s passed and they aren’t releasing it?

      • Laura-Lee MacDonald says:

        CBC news here in Canada reported that she met with the retiring head of the military in person and it was filmed. She is wearing a fabulous house dress! I wish she’d wear more prints. So not dead yet! Yay!


      • NotSoSocialB says:

        @laura lee-

        Look at her hands…they are absolutely cyanotic. Her peripheral circulation is toast. Unless she has Raynaud’s, that’s a bad sign.

      • Jan90067 says:

        My dad’s hands are like that (he’s 94). It’s from a combo of blood pressure meds and daily baby aspirin.

        But yes, poor circulation is also a factor, esp. if the heart is concerned (low stage congestive heart failure).

      • Seaflower says:

        @NotSoSocialB She’s worn gloves for so long, I’m surprised shes not wearing them here.

      • Becks1 says:

        My thought at seeing that video was – she could do this appearance but not Remembrance Sunday? Is there something that makes it so she can’t be outside (poor circulation would explain that.)

        So she’s obviously not dead but I do think she’s worse off than we know. Now I wonder if she went to Sandringham a few weeks ago to say goodbye to the long time staff.

      • Sarah says:

        Is it possible that this was actually filmed a while ago and they are faking it, like they did with the ‘driving a car’ picture?

      • PoppedBubble says:

        I’m looking at the pictures in the background. Will and Kate front and center.

      • Gabby says:

        I’m with Sarah on this one. Filmed some time ago, released now to give the impression she’s getting better. There is probably a stash of old pics previously unreleased, just for this purpose.

  5. Mac says:

    Long time staff age just the like the queen does. I imagine many retirements will be coming as she winds down her work.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      @ Mac, that’s how I see it. An exodus after 32 years of employment is expected. As for the others there is not enough information in regards to the reasons others are leaving.

    • Margaret says:

      Good point. And, unlike the Queen, the staff probably retire at the usual age people retire.

  6. Rapunzel says:

    The question to ask here is: if folks are leaving because they know a major change is coming, such as King Charles, then why is the family downplaying TQ’s health issues in the press?

    I get they may not be ready for the public to know Betty’s dying, but that’s no answer, imo. Like, TQ is 95– her death will be huge, but not shocking. And the sooner Charles gets the people accustomed to his reign, the better for him, right? So what’s with this insistence on her being fine? It’s not smart PR (which is typical, I guess).

    I think the BRF knows how screwed it is without Betty at the helm.

    • booboocita says:

      I wonder if all the hemming and hawing about TQ’s health is simply a display of incompetence on the part of the grey men, and not evidence of some vast conspiracy to keep her ill health or death under wraps for as long as possible. I’ve seen similar things in organizations where there was no clear-cut line of command, or the commander was AWOL or incapacitated. You get a bunch of second-in-commands and upper-level staffers running around like demented waterfowl, all tugging in different directions without any real, unified strategy or direction. If TQ is the commander, and she’s unable to dictate direction, and if there’s no person who’s supposed to step in when she can’t (Chucky Boy? the Lord Chamberlain? Randy Andy?), the scattershot nature of her PR might be the result.

  7. Jay says:

    I’d need to hear more to consider it a “mass exodus”. Sometimes these things come in waves – nobody wants to be the last to leave. A housekeeper retiring after decades in service is understandable, as well. However, perhaps it’s an indication that the staff know Sandringham Christmas won’t happen this year?

    Maybe a combination of poor health and the loss of Philip makes Windsor more appealing?

    • Jan90067 says:

      Wouldn’t surprise me if festivities are moved to Windsor this year. But considering she’s standing to speak to the Officer, they could still be planning to heli to Norfolk so she can have her way this Christmas.

  8. Jessie Quinton says:

    Now I’m really starting to think she won’t even make it until Christmas.

    • PrincessK says:

      The Queen is 95 but she is fine .

      • Misskitten says:

        RE: Princessk- She is not “fine”. She’s had to cancel one event after another, some for the first time EVER. She’s not fine. Nor should she be expected to be! She’s 95 fgs

      • windyriver says:

        @PrincessK – Well, she is 95, so “fine” is relative!

        My current theory is, she’s got heart issues of some kind, is possibly on blood thinners, which would account for bruising easily. Maybe some recent changes in her condition, hence reports about diet changes (cut back on drinking), maybe some medication changes. And one reason for an overnight hospital stay would be getting a pacemaker. The palace definitely wouldn’t make that public. We’ve seen the cane, so she’s got some balance issue, which could include back problems. Could be she did take a fall. One of my older relatives has balance/standing/distance walking issues due to disk/arthritis problems in his back but can sit however long with no problem. Neither one of these necessarily mean the end is immediately near for TQ.

        Then there the likelihood TPTB pushed her out/allowed her to appear too many times in prior months without taking into account either her age or how long she was inactive during the pandemic. Wouldn’t be surprised if she overdid it, and is paying the price in at least the short term. And while it’s hard to say how Philip’s passing affected her, given their unconventional living arrangements, for sure Andrew’s situation must weigh on her.

        Well, as a non-medical person, basing a diagnosis a few grainy or far away pictures and what I’ve seen around family members, that’s what I come up with! I guess we’ll know more about her true status as time goes on.

  9. Sofia says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if some of those staffers were in fact Philip’s. Him living there full time meant needing full time household staff but now that he’s gone, that same amount of staff is just not needed. And the staff decided it’s better to quit than be laid off or be reshuffled elsewhere.

  10. TIFFANY says:

    I think it is that they lasted as long as they did because Philip was there full time towards the end.

    There have been stories about how Philip kept up with staff and kept them in place for decades.

    The turnover would have been higher if not for him.

  11. Talia says:

    Many long standing staff members, particularly those at the rural palaces (where there isn’t the perk of free staff accommodation in London) are over the top loyal to the RF (to their own detriment sometimes) and the RF expect that sort of loyalty – it’s why it didn’t occur to the Queen that asking staff to bubble with her and not see their own families was unreasonable.

    I can genuinely see many of them putting off their own retirement because they were told it would “upset Philip” to see new faces. If ‘long standing’ means 30 or 40 years, they may not be moving on to other jobs, they might well be giving up work entirely. I’d be interested in the ages of the people in question.

  12. Amy Bee says:

    Where’s are pieces criticising the Queen for failing to retain staff? I think a deeper question would be, is the Queen closing up Sandringham? She did just spend a week at the house and I wonder if she will go back to spending Christmas at Windsor Castle?

    • Margaret says:

      Question was that really the queen?. The person at sandringham, looked heavily made up, and nothing like her.

  13. Athena says:

    Didn’t Charles announce recently his plan to turn Sandringham into a museum after the queen is gone?
    With the virus still a thing, the staff might be expected to stay the whole time on site and not visit family, remember last year they protested the request to quarantine with the queen.
    So no other royal took her place at yesterday’s event?

    • Becks1 says:

      Noooo, someone was there. It was either Edward or the Duke of Gloucester. Or the Duke of Kent. I cant remember lol.

  14. Moderatelywealthy says:

    Either she is dying and nobody wants Chaz and Wills as bosses like many suggested OR they are fearing a repeat of last year when staff was asked to just forget about their family and loved ones so they could stay in the Queen’s bubble while she got to “carry on as usual”.

  15. Shakira says:

    I think the helicopter trip to Sandringham the other week was to say goodbye to the house, the staff, etc.

    The staff handing in their notices so soon after that trip could mean that they could see Betty is not doing too well (I agree, the hands give it away) and that they don’t expect to be made redundant and get redundancy pay, so are possibly getting out now before King Charles takes over.

    *takes tinfoil tiara off*

    • Lala84 says:

      I agree it’s not a conspiracy, but just simply common sense, the Queen’s health is declining rapidly, she’s ninety-five years old. She no longer needs such a large amount of staff on hand. They’ve begun the procedure of slimming down the monarchy, by starting with those staff members.

    • Julia K says:

      Exactly. That was a last look, say goodbye and perhaps retrieve personal items before Sandringham is no longer a royal residence. I suspected then that this hoopla about one last Christmas there was a figment of someone’s imagination. I feel so sorry for her losses.

  16. Lala84 says:

    The staff leaving were loyal to Prince Philip; many are retiring or finding new work elsewhere. It’s all to do with Prince Charles’s plans to slim down the monarchy; with the Queen’s health in decline, it’s logical for longtime employees to get out now. The British royal family is run like a corporation; when a new CEO takes over, they usually have to clean house by removing former no longer needed employees positions. Instead of sticking around and being made redundant, they are leaving on their own.

  17. Catherine says:

    I think two things are going on. (1) Ladt year staff at Sandringham threatened to resign because they were going to be forced into a bubble at Christmastime off the Queen spent the holiday season there. Because of further lockdown restrictions. The Queen stayed at Windsor. It announced a couple of weeks ago that he Queen was determined to spend this Christmas at Sandringham. Given the precautions they would have to take with who the the Queen comes into contact with staff would likely have have their comings and goings severely limited. I wondered what staff reaction would be when that Christmad announcement was made. (2) I also think this is reflective of the change from Philip running the estate to Charles running the estate. Which has happened gradually since Philip retired. But now that he is dead there is I buffer between them and Charles. Reports are that Philip was absolutely beloved by staff especially at Sandringham where he spent so much time. Long time staff probably aren’t as loyal to Charles. Nor do they have the same affection for him. So the circumstances make it a good time to move on.

  18. Robin Samuels says:

    The Royal Family loves secrecy; it’s how they secure attention. I agree the video could is not today; another photoshopped image like the driving.
    Perhaps she offered senior staff retirement. It takes time to remove possessions, relocate artifacts and personal property after death. I think they are preparing for the passing of the baton. However, the Queen is not leaving here until Karma talks about all the nonsense she has allowed to happen since Meghan joined that family. Brace for the fears and tears, demands on the Sussex, spotlight the incandescent with rage bully and his rag doll, drip drop petty gossip, etc.

  19. aussie says:

    i wonder is Prince Phillip left some staff there some money – so now they can retire and not work for the famous low wages offered by the royals

  20. The Recluse says:

    Sounds like P. Charles’ streamlining has begun. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Balmoral AND Sandringham end up becoming public buildings as a rental location (the former) or a museum (the latter). Neither place has the histories of Buckingham or Windsor.

    • notasugarhere says:

      If Scotland achieves independence, the taxes levied on the private property of the Windsors could go skyhigh. Charles might make Balmoral a Trust, like the Castle of Mey, to avoid the taxes.

  21. Lizzie says:

    I think this is a clear sign there will be no more Christmas at Sandringham. They either know the queen won’t be around or she won’t ever be in shape to travel there for Christmas again.

  22. Slippers4life says:

    My guess is that Charles has already started the “soft” regency and is doing most of the “monarching” these days, which would explain a lot and I think the staff leaving as well.

  23. Krystina says:

    I bet they’re leaving now, because of what TQ tried to force the staff to do last Christmas?