There is a new book that is uncovering many secrets of the British royal family: ‘Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind the Crown’, by royal expert Valentine Low.
The journalist, who also works for The Times, has set out to share with the world all his knowledge about the Windsors with small previews through excerpts published in the newspaper.
Secrets of the British Royal Family
King Charles III is “a demanding boss”
One of Low’s big revelations is how the new king has always expected a lot from his staff, as he “is very demanding of himself.” Apparently, the monarch “is always working. Seven days a week. So at any time he might want to call you for something…. The pace is quite intense.” His ascension to the Crown will therefore bring quite a few changes to the palace. Of the new king, the author states that “those around him work under draconian conditions. The monarch knows what he wants and is not afraid of hard work”.
It is not the first time that, among the palace staff, “backstabbing” is seen
A confidential source confirms how, around the new king, there seems to be some competition to see who wins his trust: “Everyone wants to be close to the power that surrounds the king and the late queen, and see what they can get.” According to Low, the king is always open to suggestions from “outside advisors,” be they celebrities or businessmen, which “could lead to problems for the royal family” since, as one source says, Charles “tends to fall easily under the spell of others.”
Prince William doesn’t want his staff to be too stuffy
Working for the royal family comes with inevitable formalities, but the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, now Prince and Princess of Wales, dispense with some of those conventions. Low reveals that when “William and Kate’s children were young, William asked his staff not to wear suits when he was in the office.” According to an inside source, the prince wants “an informal atmosphere at home, for the kids to run around the office. He doesn’t want a stuffy or stuffy work environment.”
The Duchess of Sussex’s employees were not surprised when the couple relinquished their royal duties
Low claims that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex came to have strained relations with some of those responsible for their schedule and official events. Indeed, some of their staff would later refer to themselves as “the Sussex Survivors Club.” Speaking about the events leading up to the couple’s decision to renounce their status as official royals, Low claims that employees on Harry and Meghan’s team came to feel “duped” and began to suspect that their efforts were destined to fail. In his own words, “Those who worked with Meghan became so disillusioned with her work that they began to suspect that even her heartfelt pleas for help were part of a deliberate strategy that had a clear goal: her departure from the royal family.”
Harry and Meghan’s plans were kept secret until the very last moment
Low claims that, not even the closest members of his team knew that Harry and Meghan would give up the royals. The journalist recounts how the Sussexes took their youngest son, Archie, to Canada during a six-week getaway in November 2019, “the two’s getaway plans were bound and tied up tightly under the utmost secrecy.” Meghan didn’t even inform her nanny, Lorren, where they were headed until the plane (a private jet) was already in the air. At that point, the journalist adds, the Duchess informed a staff member “that the couple would not be returning” until the end of the year. The rest of the team did not find out until the meeting held at Buckingham Palace in early January 2020.
Harry reportedly informed his father by email that he and Meghan were “unhappy” with life at the palace, but tried to tell the queen in person
Recounting the events leading up to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s decision to abandon their royal responsibilities, Low claims that, while in Canada, “Harry emailed his father that he was unhappy,” indicating that “they didn’t like the current situation and wanted to move to North America.” The duke reportedly tried to inform the queen of his plans before the trip in the hope of “seeing his grandmother alone.” The private meeting was not granted, as he was reportedly informed that “the queen had got confused with the schedule and was unavailable.” The Duke of Sussex never quite bought the excuse and attributed it to certain courtiers who would have “got in the way” so that he could not see his grandmother.
Royal Household bureaucracy led to increased tension with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex
Incidents such as having to contact palace staff to see their own grandmother, or reportedly being told that a family meal (later dubbed “the Sandringham Summit”) could not take place until almost a month later, are some of the details that, according to Low, made Harry and Meghan feel “cornered, misunderstood and deeply unhappy.” From the palace they were imposed such “rigidity and little flexibility that the duke and duchess always ended up getting angry”.
The queen refused (allegedly) to allow the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to keep some royal responsibilities
Low says Harry and Meghan’s initial plan was to “seek a middle ground so that they could live part of the year abroad and still perform certain royal duties.” In full talks and meetings, advisors working with the royal family to try to find a solution proposed “five different plans.” However, as Low says, “For the palace, anything Harry and Meghan did beyond their royal duties would have a direct impact on the institution.” The late queen herself was adamant on this point as she apparently felt that “unless the couple were prepared to comply with the restrictions that apply to members of the royal family, they could not be allowed to carry out official duties.”