Palace aides wait to see Her Majesty's coffin in historic procession

Sombre Clarence House aides watch the Queen’s coffin drive past – hours after they were told changes in monarchy’s staff structure could put jobs at risk

  • Clarence House staff pictured waiting to see Her Majesty’s coffin in procession
  • Clarence House employees claimed they were told jobs were at risk on Monday 
  • There are around 102 full-time members of staff working at Clarence House
  • Have said ‘some redundancies will be unavoidable’ as household closes down 
  • But spokesman said it will work to ‘identify alternative roles for the greatest number of staff’ 
  • Full coverage: Click here to see all our coverage of the Queen’s passing

Clarence House employees appeared sombre when pictured waiting to see Her Majesty’s coffin in the historic procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey today.

Members of the Royal Family have also gathered to prepare to accompany the Queen for her poignant final journey from her London home to Westminster Hall, where she will lie in state for the next five nights. 

The crowd burst into applause and cheers as King Charles III passed the Victoria Memorial in his state Rolls Royce as he was taken into the residence, followed later by Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice and Queen Consort Camilla. 

From 2.22pm this afternoon, the eyes of the world will once again be on the King as he leads his family on foot to Westminster Hall – the ancient building at the heart of the Palace of Westminster where his mother’s coffin will sit. 

Clarence House staff members were seen lining up alongside one another, dressed in black, ahead of the procession, according to the BBC. 

It comes after dozens of staff working for the King at Clarence House could be sacked as his former household closes down in an announcement that reportedly left workers ‘shaking’ with sadness and anger.

Clarence House employees (pictured) appeared sombre when pictured waiting to see Her Majesty’s coffin in the historic procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey today 

Solemn members of the Royal Family gathered today to prepare to accompany the Queen for her poignant final journey from her London home to Westminster Hall, where she will lie in state for the next five nights. Pictured, Clarence House staff waiting to see the procession, according to the BBC

Employees, some of whom had been with Charles for decades, claimed they were told their jobs were at risk while a church service was held for the Queen on Monday.

One source told the Guardian: ‘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.’ 

Clarence House, which has around 102 full-time members of staff, said ‘some redundancies will be unavoidable’. 

But a spokesman added that it will work to ‘identify alternative roles for the greatest number of staff’.

Those who do lose their jobs – including workers in the finance office, the communications team and the household staff –will be given help finding a new job and an ‘enhanced’ redundancy payment.

The King and the Queen Consort are expected to move to Buckingham Palace where they will take on the Palace’s team of around 490 staff.

Staff were said to be ‘visibly shaken’ after being told of the possible cuts at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh.

Employees, some of whom had been with Charles for decades, claimed they were told their jobs were at risk while a church service was held for the Queen on Monday. Pictured: Charles and Camilla at the presentation of Addresses in the Palace of Westminster 

Clarence House, which has around 102 full-time members of staff, said ‘some redundancies will be unavoidable’. Pictured: Clarence House 

A source told The Guardian: ‘Everyone 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.’

In a letter to staff, the King’s top aide, Sir Clive Alderton, said: ‘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.

‘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. I appreciate that this is unsettling news and I wanted to let you know of the support that is available at this point.’

But a spokesman added that it will work to ‘identify alternative roles for the greatest number of staff’. Those who do lose their jobs – including workers in the finance office, the communications team and the household staff –will be given help finding a new job and an ‘enhanced’ redundancy payment. Pictured: Clarence House 

The letter added that certain staff providing ‘direct, close, personal support and advice’ to the King and Queen Camilla will remain in post.

Final decisions will be taken after the statutory consultation period, which is expected to begin after the Queen’s funeral next Monday.

Although the announcement has reportedly caused anger within the King’s former household, sources said there was no ill feeling towards Charles himself. One said: ‘It’s not directed against the King – who everyone loves at Clarence House or they wouldn’t have been working there – but against the way it has been handled by the bean counters.

‘This is what happens when you have a change of reign. You can’t keep two households going, especially when the work the King is going to be doing is so fundamentally difficult. But the timing and delivery is poor. The treasurers only look at it from a point of financial cost, not the human side of things.’

Final decisions will be taken after the statutory consultation period, which is expected to begin after the Queen’s funeral next Monday. Pictured: Clarence House 

A Clarence House spokesman said: ‘Following last week’s accession, the operations of the household of the former Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall have ceased and, as required by law, a consultation process has begun.

‘Our staff have given long and loyal service and, while some redundancies will be unavoidable, we are working urgently to identify alternative roles for the greatest number of staff.’

Charles employed the full-time equivalent of four chefs, two butlers, two chauffeurs, five housekeepers and three valets and dressers, according to the Clarence House website.

He had 12 staff managing his communications, two people in charge of his travel and 30 staff in the finance department. A further 31 worked as secretaries, researchers or equerries.

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