LONDON — Dozens of household staff who served King Charles III while he was heir to Britain’s throne have been told they could lose their jobs, according to one of the United Kingdom’s leading labor unions, which called the move “heartless.”
Charles, who succeeded his mother on her death last Thursday, and Camilla, the queen consort, will be moving to the monarch’s main official residence, Buckingham Palace. That means the royal couple will be leaving Clarence House, Charles' London home and office for decades.
As a result, the Public and Commercial Services Union said in a statement, up to 100 employees “including some who have worked there for decades, received notification that they could lose their jobs following his accession to the throne.”
“We believe the decision to announce redundancies in the Royal Household during the period of national mourning is nothing short of heartless,” the statement said.
“This is a significant majority of the household and many of these staff will be the same people who have so diligently supported the new king during this period of mourning, working extremely hard over recent days only to be given redundancy notices as thanks,” it added.
Mark Serwotka, the union’s general secretary, said in a statement that the “scale and speed at which this has been announced is callous in the extreme.”
He said that some of the changes across the royal households were to be expected. Calling for an “immediate halt to the redundancy process,” he added that it was unclear what staffing Prince William, the new Prince of Wales, would need.
It is unclear if William and Catherine, the Princess of Wales, will want to move their young family from their current home, Adelaide Cottage, in Windsor.
Clarence House’s annual review published earlier this year said that Charles employed the full-time equivalent of 101 staff, including 31 in the private secretaries’ office, 30 in the treasurer’s department, as well as chefs, house managers, dressers, valets, butlers and a communications team.
The Guardian newspaper, which originally reported the story, said that some of the staff were given notice that their jobs were in jeopardy during the thanksgiving service for the queen at Edinburgh’s St. Giles' Cathedral on Monday.
NBC News has not verified the report.
A Clarence House spokesman told Reuters that operations there had ceased and a consultation process with staff over redundancies had 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 possible number of staff,” he said.
The spokesman added that the law required staff to be made aware of the situation at the earliest opportunity.
“Despite every effort to delay until after the funeral, the advice remained the same,” he said. “Any staff being made redundant will be offered enhanced redundancy payments.”
No staff would be affected for at least three months, he added.
Clarence House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News about the timing of the redundancies or how many people would lose their jobs.