Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Lay Off 15-Member London Staff Amid Royal Exit

The duo announced their intention to step back from royal life last month

As Prince Harry and Meghan Markle settle into their new life, the royal couple have laid off their London staff, PEOPLE confirms.

The staff were told in person in January, reported The Daily Mail, the first to break the news of the couple’s Buckingham Palace office closure. Among the 15 staff members to lose their jobs were private secretary Fiona Mcilwham, communications chief Sara Latham and assistant communications secretary Marnie Gaffney, the outlet reported.

The Daily Mail reported that some staff members may be hired back in other roles by the royal family.

Since stepping down as senior members of the royal family, Harry and Meghan have been residing in British Columbia, Canada, though it is unclear where they will choose to permanently settle down with their 9-month-old son Archie.

Prince Harry and Meghan Duchess of Sussex tour of New Zealand - 29 Oct 2018
Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock

A source previously told PEOPLE that they have looked at houses in Los Angeles and will “likely have houses in both places.”

Earlier this week, the duo were in California to visit Stanford University to meet with professors about the new charitable foundation they’re launching, PEOPLE previously confirmed.

Meghan and Harry announced their intention to step back from their royal duties last month.

“After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” the pair said in a statement on Instagram on January 8.

Meghan and harry
Rosa Woods/Getty

“We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen,” the continued. “It is with your encouragement, particularly over the last few years, that we feel prepared to make this adjustment.”

“We now plan to balance our time between the United Kingdom and North America, continuing to honour our duty to The Queen, the Commonwealth, and our patronages,” the statement went on. “This geographic balance will enable us to raise our son with an appreciation for the royal tradition into which he was born, while also providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity.”

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive at Canada House on January 07, 2020 in London, England
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/POOL/AFP via Getty

“We look forward to sharing the full details of this exciting next step in due course, as we continue to collaborate with Her Majesty The Queen, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and all relevant parties. Until then, please accept our deepest thanks for your continued support.”

The Duke and Duchess’ sudden announcement caused a stir in the royal family, but the couple have since been enjoying the “quiet life” in North America.

“It was just this tremendous shift when Meghan returned to Canada [after their announcement],” a source previously told PEOPLE. “You could tell that she felt so much less stressed.”

“They are enjoying living a quiet life,” the insider told PEOPLE. “They go for long walks, they do yoga, and Meghan cooks. They are real homebodies who love to chill out with Archie and the dogs.”

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