The news that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are officially splitting from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was announced on Thursday – meaning the royal ‘fab four’ are no more.
Until now, the Cambridges and Sussexes have shared one team working out of Kensington Palace – where the royals also lived – and while it was reported last month that brothers Prince William and Prince Harry were set to split their shared royal household, it was presumed that day-to-day communications would still operate out of Kensington Palace.
However, it has now been revealed that the Sussexes have opted for their staff to be based out of Buckingham Palace instead, with the full support of the Queen. Harry and Meghan Markle themselves will also be moving out of Kensington Palace, in favour of a cottage in Windsor.
There’s no denying it hasn’t exactly been smooth-sailing for the fab four over the last year or so – here are just a few of the signs that led up to the big split.
Four royal aides quitting in less than one year
Over the course of 2018 and early 2019, Harry and Meghan have said goodbye to four key royal aides in their household.
Just last week, it was reported Amy Pickerill, who was appointed assistant private secretary for Meghan Markle in January last year, has resigned from her post.
“Amy is leaving after the arrival of the baby,” a Kensington Palace source told Harper’s Bazaar.
“Amy had originally planned on staying until at least the end of the year, but with the baby coming it makes sense to help recruit someone now who can pick up when The Duchess returns to her official work,” the source added.
Meanwhile a royal insider told People, Amy is leaving on “very amicable” terms.
“They will stay in touch and Amy will remain as a personal adviser to her in the longer term,” the source said. “They are very close.”
News of the resignation comes after Harry and Meghan lost three palace aides within six months of the royal wedding in May last year.
Meghan’s personal assistant, Melissa, resigned towards the end of 2018 with a source confirming to the Daily Mail, it was a “real shock”.
The Duchess of Sussex’s personal secretary, Samantha Cohen – who worked for the royal family for over 17 years under the Queen – also made the decision to leave the royal household in December last year.
Aussie born Samantha was reportedly tasked with teaching the new Duchess all about royal etiquette.
These two resignations follow on from that of Edward Lane Fox who was essentially Harry’s “right-hand man,” before his departure in April last year after 15 years in the role.
Harry and Meghan have since recruited Hillary Clinton’s former campaign advisor Sara Latham, to head up their communications team.
“Sara Latham has been appointed to head up communications for The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, reporting directly to The Queen’s Communication Secretary,” a statement released by Kensington Palace said.
Royal feud reports
Rumours of a supposed feud between the Sussexes and Cambridges emerged towards the end of last year.
Whether it was Harry and William supposedly having a falling out over Meghan, or Kate left in tears after a dress fitting ahead of Meghan’s wedding, the rumour mill was, and still has been, spinning.
A report by The Sun claimed Kate chastised Meghan after she “spoke rudely” to royal staff.
However, in a rare move by Kensington Palace, they responded in a brief statement, saying, “This never happened”.
There have also been claims that things between William and Harry haven’t been the same since his royal nuptials to Meghan last year.
In a new documentary on Channel 5 in the UK, Princesses At War, royal expert Katie Nicholl weighed in on the moment Wills confronted Harry about his relationship with Meghan.
“William was quite concerned that the relationship had moved so quickly,” she explained.
She goes on to say that William, was “the only person close enough” to Harry to share his worries, and claimed the 36-year-old asked his brother if he was “sure” about going forward with the wedding.
Whilst Wills’ concerns were simply loving brotherly concern on his part, the royal expert explained the “advice just riled Harry”.
“Harry is hugely protective of Meghan, he saw that as criticism, he interpreted that as his brother not really being behind this marriage,” Nicholl added.
Harry and Meghan moving to Windsor
The feud reports were circulating at the same time Meghan and Harry, 34, announced they would be moving out of Kensington Palace to Frogmore Cottage, on the Windsor Castle estate.
Until now, the Sussexes have lived in Nottingham Cottage – a two-bedroom house in the grounds of Kensington Palace, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also live.
Despite a $2.5m apartment — which is next to door to Kate and Wills — having recently completed a slick new upgrade fit for the Sussexes, the pair have chosen to move to Frogmore, which was gifted to them by the Queen.
The Windsor house holds lots of sentiment for the pair, with Harry and Meghan hosting their evening wedding party there, and it was also the spot where they had their engagement photos taken.
Royal household split announcement
The royal family released a lengthy statement on Thursday to announce the Sussexes’ private office and communications team will now be base out of Buckingham Palace.
“The Household, which will be created with the support of The Queen and The Prince of Wales, will be established in the spring,” a statement read.
“The Duke of Sussex currently has his own private office, which has been supporting The Duchess since the engagement of Their Royal Highnesses in November 2017.
“This long-planned move will ensure that permanent support arrangements for The Duke and Duchess’s work are in place as they start their family and move to their official residence at Frogmore Cottage.
“The Queen has given permission for The Duke and Duchess of Sussex to base their Household Office at Buckingham Palace.
“Their Royal Highnesses will appoint new communications staff, who will form part of the Buckingham Palace communications team and report to The Queen’s Communications Secretary, Donal McCabe. Kensington Palace will continue to support Their Royal Highnesses until that team is in place.”
Despite the split of households, we still very much hope we’ll see the royal fab four out together – because, let’s face it, they really are fab.
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