Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry have let go of all 15 of their UK staff including Kiwi Clara Madden

The move all but confirms the royal couple isn’t intending on returning to the UK.
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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have closed their Buckingham Palace office, axing the jobs of all 15 of their UK staff, including that of their Dunedin-born project manager Clara Loughran (nee Madden).

According to the Daily Mail, Harry and Meghan had broken the news to their staff in person in January, following their shock announcement that they were stepping back as senior members of the royal family.

While some of the staff may be absorbed back into roles in the other royal households, most will be negotiating redundancy packages, the Daily Mail reports.

15 of Harry and Meghan’s UK staff will be losing their jobs when the couple step back. (Image: Getty)

According to a source who spoke to the publication, because Harry and Meghan have stepped back as senior royals their office at Buckingham Palace will no longer be needed.

The move comes just months after the Sussexes’ broke away from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s household at Kensington Palace and hired a number of new staff.

Among those to lose their jobs will be New Zealand-born Clara Loughran (nee Madden) who was appointed as project manager for Harry and Meghan following years working as a trusted aide to Prince William and Duchess Catherine, with William even describing her as “the star of the office”.

And 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 in 2018, handing Meghan her bouquet just moments before she walked down the aisle.

Clara hands Meghan her bouquet.

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.

Sara’s deputy, assistant communications secretary Marnie Gaffney is also understood to be leaving.

The long-serving member of the Palace press staff played a major role in supporting Harry on his military work and was made a member of the Royal Victorian Order by the Queen for her devoted service.

Other staff set to leave include press officer Julie Burley, who worked with Harry, William and Catherine on their mental health campaign Heads Together, as well as their social media expert David Watkins, who was poached from fashion house Burberry last year.

Sara Latham at Canada House with the Sussexes, just a day before they made their shock announcement. (Image: Getty)

While the source tells the Daily Mail that the team had been shocked about the Sussexes’ departure, the close-knit team are incredibly loyal to the Sussexes and respect the decision they have made.

“They are all close and supporting each other,” the source insists.

“The team are busy helping to set their Royal Highnesses up for the future and working on a series of final engagements.”

It is believed the Mountbatten Festival of Music on March 7 will be Prince Harry’s last engagement as Captain-General of the Royal Marines, while he and Meghan are also expected to attend the Commonwealth Day service on March 9 in London.

One of the last engagements the couple are set to attend before they step back will be the Commonwealth Day service in London on March 9. (Image: Getty)

While Harry and Meghan announced they would be splitting their time between Britain and North America (the couple will be keeping their Frogmore Cottage home at Windsor), the axing of all the roles in their office gives the impression the couple have no intention of returning to the UK, and will instead rely on their US-based agents and publicists.

Earlier this month an endorsement firm that works with the likes of Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez claimed it was working with Harry and Meghan to set up brand appearances and deals.

Taking to Instagram, the company called Sheeraz Inc. captioned a photo of Meghan and Harry: “Sheeraz Inc is now taking appearance and endorsement requests for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle @sussexroyal.”

Adding, “Sheeraz Inc clients from Middle East, India, US and Asia can send us official offers and we will take them directly to their representatives.”

Following the post, a spokesperson from Buckingham Palace denied the claims saying they were “categorically untrue”, however a follow-up post by Sheeraz Inc.’s founder Sheeraz Hasan refuted the Palace’s denial, maintaining the company was telling the truth.

The Instagram post has since been deleted.

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