Royals

Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry hosted a surprise farewell lunch for their axed UK staff

During the couple’s final string of engagement as working royals, the Sussexes made time to thank their UK staff, many of whom have found themselves out of jobs because of Megxit.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped out for their final public appearance as working royals on Monday as they prepare to wave goodbye to royal life at the end of the month.
While losing three senior members of the Royal Family (Prince Andrew stepped back following the backlash from his disastrous interview about his connection with Jeffrey Epstein) would have been an incredible blow to the family, the couple's decision has also impacted their loyal UK staff, many of whom have found themselves out of jobs.
Expressing their gratitude to their team of 15 and saying a proper farewell was clearly incredibly important to Harry and Meghan, who made sure thanking the team was the very first thing they did once Meghan joined Harry in London last week.
Meghan and Harry hosted a surprise lunch for their UK staff last week. (Image: Getty)
A source who spoke to the Sun claimed Harry and Meghan were both deeply aware of the fact their decision had an impact on not just them but those who worked with them and that they wanted to ensure they thanked them for the hard work and loyalty over the past few years.
As Hello! confirmed, the Sussexes hosted a surprise farewell lunch for their staff at The Goring Hotel in Belgravia on Thursday, the same place the Duchess of Cambridge stayed the night before her wedding to Prince William in 2011.
Meghan and Harry were both spotted leaving the five-star hotel, Meghan in a camel-coloured Alex Eagle coat and black heels and Harry in a navy suit, as seen in images captured by The Sun.
Later that evening the royal couple stepped out for their first joint public engagement since their shock announcement to attend the Endeavour Fund Awards and wowed the crowd with their movie-like entrance in the rain.
Meghan and Harry had a movie moment during their appearance at the Endeavour Fund Awards last week. (Image: Getty)
According to the Daily Mail Harry and Meghan broke the news that they would be closing their Buckingham Palace office to their staff in person in January and while some of the staff may be absorbed into roles in the other royal households, most will departing.
The closure comes just months after the couple broke away from the Kensington Palace household and hired a number of new staff.
Among those losing their jobs is New Zealand-born Clara Loughran (nee Madden) who was appointed as project manager for the Sussexes after working for years as a trusted aide to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Last year, showing just how close the 32-year-old is to the royals, she was spotted in a behind-the-scenes photo from Harry and Meghan's wedding day, handing Meghan her bouquet just moments before she walked down the aisle.
Clara was photographed handing Meghan her bouquet just moments before she walked down the aisle in 2018.
Another casualty in the Sussexes' move to North America is the couple's newly appointed private secretary Fiona Mcilwham – although she is on secondment from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office – as well as their highly experienced communications chief Sara Latham, who previously worked with the Obamas and was Hillary Clinton's senior campaign advisor.
While a source told the Daily Mail that the team had been shocked about the news, the close-knit team are incredibly loyal to the Sussexes and worked tirelessly to arrange their final engagements before they formally step back on March 31.
Harry and Meghan attended their final engagement as senior royals on Monday. (Image: Getty)
Planning to split their time between the UK and North America, the royal couple are said to be relying on their US-based agents and publicists in the future as they also plan the launch of a new non-profit organisation which will be announced later this year.
While the couple had previously trademarked the name 'Sussex Royal' for a long list of things, Harry and Meghan have announced they will be using a new 'brand' name to be announced in the UK spring which will no longer use the word 'royal'.
Earlier this week it was reported that Prince Harry had been caught up in two hoax phone calls.
The prince reportedly thought he was talking to climate change activist Greta Thunberg when in actual fact he had been pranked by Russian YouTubers Alexey Stolyarov and Vladimir Kuznetsov who are known for their pranks on prominent people such as Boris Johnson and Elton John.
During the phone call, the 35-year-old reportedly opened up about Megxit and spoke about his thoughts on US President Donald Trump and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and commented on the furore surrounding his uncle Prince Andrew.