King Charles' Staff Redundancies Slammed by Trade Union: 'Heartless'

Reports that members of King Charles III's household staff were issued with a notice of potential redundancies as the royals attended a memorial service for Queen Elizabeth II on Monday have been slammed as "nothing short of heartless" by trade unionists.

First reported by U.K. broadsheet newspaper The Daily Telegraph, the issuing of the potential redundancy notices came as a shock to Clarence House staff, just four days into the new king's reign.

In a letter seen by the newspaper, senior palace courtier Sir Clive Alderton, who works with King Charles, wrote to staff:

"The change in role for our principals will also mean change for our household ...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," the letter said.

"It is therefore expected that the need for the posts principally based at Clarence House, whose work supports these areas will no longer be needed."

King Charles Staff Redundancies
King Charles III photographed in London, September 14, 2022. The king is facing backlash after members of his household were informed of potential redundancies four days into his reign. Kate Green/Getty Images

Staff is expected to be affected across the king's household, which during the last financial year, employed over 101 full-time equivalent staff members.

While a spokesperson for Clarence House responded to The Telegraph that they are "working urgently to identify alternative roles for the greatest number of staff," they conceded that "some redundancies will be unavoidable."

With the transition from one monarch to the next, a significant change in staff arrangements was expected. However, the speed with which staff was informed of potential redundancies following a consultation process that is already underway, has caused discontent among staff and the union which represents a small number of palace workers.

According to The Daily Telegram report, Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), said of the situation: "While some changes across the households were to be expected, as roles across the royal family change, the scale and speed at which this has been announced is callous in the extreme. Least of all because we do not know what staffing the incoming Prince of Wales and his family might need."

On such drastic decisions being made during the period of national mourning, which will last until the day of the queen's state funeral on Monday, and royal mourning being observed in the royal households until the following week, the PCS Twitter account posted the notice:

"The decision to announce redundancies in the #RoyalHousehold during the period of #mourning is nothing short of heartless."

Clarence House Staff
Clarence House exterior photographed April 2, 2002. Staff working at Clarence House for King Charles III while Prince of Wales may be facing redundancy if their positions cannot be amalgamated into the new monarch's staffing structure. Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Arrangements being made for staff members from the late queen's household have not been revealed, but a number of the current staff is expected to be brought into the household of the new king, including the housekeepers and service staff that help to run the royal residences.

The queen died at the age of 96 while at her Scottish home of Balmoral Castle, her state funeral will take place on Monday, September 19, a day which has been proclaimed a national holiday for members of the public to mark the passing of the monarch however they wish.

According to custom, Charles became king at the moment of his mother's death. The 73-year-old made his first address to the nation just one day into his reign, swearing to dedicate the rest of his life to public service as monarch and paying tribute to his late mother.

"In a little over a week's time," he closed his address by saying, "we will come together as a nation, as a Commonwealth and indeed a global community, to lay my beloved mother to rest.

"In our sorrow, let us remember and draw strength from the light of her example. On behalf of all my family, I can only offer the most sincere and heartfelt thanks for your condolences and support. They mean more to me than I can ever possibly express.

"And to my darling Mama, as you begin your last great journey to join my dear late Papa, I want simply to say this: thank you. Thank you for your love and devotion to our family and to the family of nations you have served so diligently all these years. May flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest."

Newsweek has reached out to Buckingham Palace for comment.