Late Queen’s personal aides face redundancy but those in grace and favour homes won’t be evicted

Queen Elizabeth II - PA
Queen Elizabeth II – PA

Queen Elizabeth II’s personal aides, some of whom had served her for decades, received letters warning them of redundancy within days of her death, The Telegraph understands.

Staff discovered that they faced losing their jobs on Saturday as they struggled to come to terms with the death of “the boss” as she was affectionately known.

However, aides who live in grace and favour homes are not expected to be turfed out.

The Buckingham Palace machine moved swiftly in the hours after the Queen died last Thursday afternoon, triggering an action plan that had been finessed over decades.

The King’s accession meant that he was now head of the palace household.

At Clarence House, his former household, operations ceased with immediate effect, prompting redundancy letters to be sent to around 100 members of staff.

Clarence House employees, among them private secretaries, the finance office, the communications team and household staff, received written warning on Monday.

Many had worked for the King for decades but a palace spokesman admitted that job losses were “unavoidable”.

While the majority of Buckingham Palace staff are expected to be kept on to run the King’s household, it is those who served the Queen in a personal capacity that find themselves facing an uncertain future.

Among those who worked solely for the Queen was Angela Kelly, her dressmaker who gradually became one of her closest confidantes.

Ms Kelly, a Liverpudlian docker’s daughter, first met the monarch in 1992 when she was working as a housekeeper at the British Ambassador’s residence in Berlin. Weeks later, she received a call asking if she would like to join the Royal household.

She developed a warm friendship with the Queen, to whom she became indispensable, taking on a role more akin to a lady-in-waiting.

Angela Kelly was the late Queen's dressmaker and gradually became one of her closest confidantes
Angela Kelly was the late Queen’s dressmaker and gradually became one of her closest confidantes

Ms Kelly was rewarded with a grace-and-favour home a short walk from Windsor Castle, which the late Queen ensured she would keep after her death.

The dressmaker, who has written two memoirs, is said to want to spend some time in America.

Paul Whybrew, page of the backstairs, who at 6ft 4in towered over the diminutive monarch and was known as “Tall Paul”, is understood to be retiring.

He had worked for the Queen for more than 40 years and has been described as her favourite courtier.

The “brutal” process of redundancies following a Royal death was laid bare in 2002 when the Queen Mother died and dozens of her loyal aides were told to vacate their offices.

Many of those living in grace and favour homes or who had accommodation within the four residences used by the Queen Mother found themselves looking for new homes.

Many retired, but those who formed part of a “floating” team of staff, believed to total fewer than 10 and who travelled from house to house with the Queen Mother, were considered the most vulnerable.

Capt Sir Alastair Aird, the Queen Mother’s private secretary and comptroller, said at the time they would “do their best” to minimise redundancies among her 50 staff, noting the “tremendous liaison” between the Royal households.

When Princess Margaret died the previous month, in February 2002, just two of her 15 staff were offered alternative jobs in the Royal household. Only one accepted. The remainder either retired or accepted severance terms.

Staff at Clarence House ‘absolutely livid’

Clarence House staff received a letter from Sir Clive Alderton, the King’s principal private secretary, leaving many “visibly shaken”.

One source was quoted as saying: “Everybody is absolutely livid, including private secretaries and the senior team. All the staff have been working late every night since Thursday, to be met with this. People were visibly shaken by it.”

The letter outlined how the King’s work would shift away from personal interests to the official duties of a head of state.

Sir Clive acknowledged that the news would be “unsettling”. He said that staff providing “direct, close, personal support and advice” to the new King and Queen would remain in post.

A palace source insisted that “every effort” had been made to delay such moves until after the Queen’s funeral but that legal advice meant the information had to be shared at the earliest opportunity.

Any staff made redundant are expected to receive “enhanced” redundancy payments. No staff will be affected for at least three months.

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