Let’s start with the big news and work our way through: Buckingham Palace confirmed last week that the Cambridges and the Sussexes will formally separate their households. In fact, a new household will be created for Harry and Meghan this spring in coordination with the couple’s move to Windsor and the birth of their first child. Their new joint operations will be based out of Buckingham Palace.
Jason Knauf, who has served the Cambridges and Harry as communications secretary since February 2015, will transition to the role of senior adviser. Christian Jones will assume the role for William and Kate, while Sara Latham will take over for Harry and Meghan and report directly to the Queen’s comms secretary.
Latham’s hiring has garnered a fair bit of media coverage given her former role as chief of staff to John Podesta, who was once chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. She has dual American and British citizenship, which makes her an ideal choice for Harry and Meghan’s operations and she’ll understand the nuance of appealing, responding to and engaging media in both markets.
This move was expected, of course, but it’s worth reiterating and unpacking a couple things. First, William and Harry were always going to need to separate their “households” (aka offices) – William will eventually become Prince of Wales and king, so there was always going to come a point when he (alongside his Kate) needed their own operation. That split could have waited until their father ascended the throne, but Harry marrying provided another reasonable moment in time.
The structure of Harry and Meghan’s communications secretary sitting within Buckingham Palace and reporting to the Queen’s communications secretary mirrors the structure of staffing for the Queen’s other children. As such, Harry’s household is being set up to reflect that of a monarch’s offspring and won’t need to be shifted again when Charles does become king.
I’ve seen some murmuring that the Queen blocked a request for Harry and Meghan’s household to operate with the same level of autonomy that Kensington Palace (William & Kate) and Clarence House (Charles & Camilla) do, but there’s no real way to know whether or not this is true. Maybe. But the real difference here isn’t a lack of trust or appreciation for the Sussexes’ work compared with the others, so much as William and Charles are future monarchs.
Moving right along to…Meghan. The unofficial word is that Meghan’s maternity leave began after her two engagements last Monday for Commonwealth Day. It’s unclear how the Sussexes plan to handle Meghan’s leave, which isn’t unusual. We’ve never known how much time Kate planned to take, or when it would begin and end – and indeed, it changed with each pregnancy – but it’s a pretty safe bet that we won’t see Meghan at any official appearances until Trooping the Colour in June, and not at any engagements on behalf of her or Harry’s charities until July at the earliest.
Much like this spring and summer with Kate, we will likely get a glimpse of Meghan here or there during personal time or on unofficial appearances. For example, yesterday, when she and Harry attended the christening for Mike and Zara Tindall’s younger daughter, Lena. Harry was reportedly named godfather, and the two made their way to St Nicholas Church in Gloucestershire to celebrate alongside the Queen and the Princess Royal.
In other royal news, Charles and Camilla have embarked on a 10-day tour of the Caribbean. They’re currently in St Lucia, and my goal is to check in periodically on what they’re up to, so I may aim to get a post up later this week. In the meantime, Kate has a new engagement tomorrow and we’re overdue for more history(!)