For months speculation has been rife regarding plans for Harry and Meghan’s future office. With a move to Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor estate imminent, would they continue their work under the auspices of Kensington Palace? Perhaps a Windsor base? Earlier this evening, Buckingham Palace put paid to the rumour mill on this particular topic with confirmation the Queen, with the support of Prince Charles, has agreed to the creation of a new household for the Duke and Duchess at Buckingham Palace.
The official press release reads:
‘The Queen has agreed to the creation of a new household for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, following their marriage in May last year. The household, which will be created with the support of the Queen and the Prince of Wales, will be established in the spring.
The Duke of Sussex currently has his own private office, which has been supporting the Duchess since the engagement of Their Royal Highnesses in November 2017. This long-planned move will ensure that permanent support arrangements for the Duke and Duchess’s work are in place as they start their family and move to their official residence at Frogmore Cottage.
The Queen has given permission for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to base their Household Office at Buckingham Palace. Their Royal Highnesses will appoint new communications staff, who will form part of the Buckingham Palace communications team and report to the Queen’s Communications Secretary, Donal McCabe.
Kensington Palace will continue to support Their Royal Highnesses until that team is in place.’
‘The Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex are to formally split their households, as they and their wives go their separate ways after a lifetime of being the nation’s favourite royal double act. The brothers are to separate every logistical element of their working lives, with staff based in different palaces and key aides moved or replaced.
The decision will be seen as a clear signal as to the direction of the Sussexes working lives, as they increasingly build their own profile by speaking out on the issues closest to their hearts.
The Duchess of Sussex has until now been absorbed into the existing team at Kensington Palace, with staff enduring a significantly increased workload as a result of having four adult working members of the royal family.
While sources have previously suggested any split would see the foursome maintain their working relationship through their charitable foundation, that too is to be re-examined. Staff, led by Jason Knauf, are to begin reviewing the “charitable structures that underpin” the work of the two couples, in changes that may include the dismantling of their umbrella organisation currently called the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.’
Royal commentator Victoria Arbiter notes the move is part of future plans for Charles’ reign.
A key position in Harry and Meghan’s team has already been filled with the appointment of Sara Latham to head up their communication team. Latham brings an impressive set of credentials and experience to the table. In her current role at public relations firm Freuds, she has been tasked with leading the agency’s changed agenda over the past several years. Latham worked in the White House in the 1990s for President Bill Clinton before moving to the UK as a government affairs adviser. She also served as a special adviser to the late culture secretary Tessa Jowell. She served as a transition official following the election of President Barack Obama and worked with Hillary Clinton on her 2016 presidential campaign. Omid Scobie reports she holds dual US/UK citizenship. Sara will report directly to the Queen’s communications secretary Donal McCabe.
Certainly, this is excellent news for Harry and Meghan and bodes well for their future as they expand their roles and take on additional responsibility both at home and abroad. Their team will be helmed by an incredibly experienced person, and they will have the support of the steadfast Buckingham Palace staff behind them. As many have said on social media, it’s a very visible show of support from Her Majesty and of course Prince Charles. They are both passionate and determined to build on their work and take on increasing duties; BP provides the logistical support and access to trusted advisers required to do this. As to whether or not Harry and Meghan will have their own social media accounts, apparently a definite decision hasn’t been taken yet. I do imagine they will in the coming months.
The announcement coincides with news Meghan has completed all public appearances in her calendar before the arrival of Baby Sussex. Royal reporter Victoria Murphy tweeted: “And there are no more public appearances currently planned for Meghan before the arrival of baby Sussex although she will continue to work behind the scenes until closer to her due date. You also never know if another public trip might be squeezed in! (although nothing scheduled).”
The Duchess is expected to take private meetings over the coming weeks. She met with representatives from two of her patronages in recent days. I expect she wanted to speak with them before her maternity leave and discuss possible plans for the future.
12 March – Private Engagement – The Duchess of Sussex, Patron, Association of Commonwealth Universities, this afternoon received Dr Joanna Newman (Chief Executive and Secretary General).
13 March – Private Engagement – The Duchess of Sussex, Patron, the Royal National Theatre, this afternoon received Ms Lisa Burger (executive director) and Mr Rufus Norris (artistic director).
With just weeks until the arrival of Baby Sussex, Harry and Meghan will be eager to move into Frogmore Cottage before the birth. It’s a hugely exciting time for the couple. I expect we’ll hear some sort of official announcement over the next couple of weeks regarding the hospital Meghan will give birth at. Not long now!