Breaking with tradition. Queen Consort Camilla will not have ladies-in-waiting but has instead come up with a new position for her longtime pals.
The former Duchess of Cornwall, 75, has named six of her friends as the Queen’s companions, Buckingham Palace confirmed on Sunday, November 27. “The role of Queen’s Companion will be to support The Queen Consort in some of her key official and State duties, in addition to her Private Secretary/Deputy Private Secretary,” the palace statement said.
The Queen’s companions are: Fiona, the Marchioness of Lansdowne, Jane von Westenholz, Lady Katharine Brooke, Sarah Troughton, Lady Sarah Keswick and Baroness Chisholm.
Some of the companions will appear with Camilla for the first time in their new role on Tuesday, November 29, at an event for domestic violence survivors.
Unlike the ladies-in-waiting, the women won’t be expected to regularly be at the queen’s side and they will not be involved in any correspondence or administrative work.
Meanwhile, the late Queen Elizabeth II‘s remaining ladies-in-waiting — including Lady Susan Hussey, Mary Morrison and Dame Annabel — will now be called “ladies of the household.” They will help King Charles III with events at Buckingham Palace in their new position.
Prior to Elizabeth’s death on September 8 at age 96, she relied on her ladies-in-waiting during difficult times. Though the queen sat alone at Prince Philip’s April 2021 memorial service, Lady Susan, a senior lady-in-waiting, accompanied the monarch on the car ride from Windsor Castle to Philip’s funeral at St George’s Chapel. The 83-year-old noblewoman was fondly called the “No. 1 Head Girl” since she had been at Elizabeth’s side for more than 70 years.
The switch from ladies-in-waiting to Queen’s companions is just the latest change after Charles’ ascension, which took place immediately after his mother’s death. (A formal coronation is being planned for May 6, 2023, in London.)
“Prince Charles will make some changes,” royal expert Jonathan Sacerdoti exclusively told Us Weekly in March. “It’s always been rumored that he wants to slim down the working royals at the core of the family.”
That doesn’t just apply to the royals but also their staffs. The new monarch, 74, reportedly alerted his Clarence House staff that they could potentially be fired as he and Camilla shift their office operations to London.
“The change in role for our principals will also mean change for our household,” read a September letter from the king’s top aide, Sir Clive Alderton, per The Guardian. “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.”
Those who were laid off would be provided with an increased “redundancy payment” as well as assistance in finding a new job.
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