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King Charles’s staff handed redundancy notices during church service for Queen

Household staff who served King Charles as heir to the throne have already been told they could lose their jobs, drawing criticism from a union that called the move “heartless” before Queen Elizabeth II is even buried.

Charles, who succeeded his mother following her death last Thursday, and his wife Camilla, the Queen Consort, are preparing to move their official offices to Buckingham Palace. It is not clear whether the 317-year-old building will become the King’s official residence, or if he will continue to reside in Clarence House, his London for nearly two decades.

A Clarence House spokesperson said 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,” the spokesperson said.

The Guardian newspaper reported that up to 100 employees had been told they could lose their jobs, some who had worked there for decades. They include personal servants such as footmen, valets, dressers and cooks, as well as clerical staff.

The notifications were issued even as they were working to assist the new king during the accession process – including while a thanksgiving service for his mother was underway in Edinburgh, it said. Monday will be a national holiday for the queen’s funeral.

The Public and Commercial Services Union condemned the decision to announce redundancies during the mourning period as “heartless”.

“While some changes across the households were to be expected, as roles across the Royal Family change, the scale and speed at which this has been announced is callous in the extreme,” union general secretary Mark Serwotka said.

The Clarence House spokesperson said 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.”

Clarence House has been the official London residence of Charles and Camilla, employing 101 workers including 31 private secretaries.

“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,” an unnamed source was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

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