Britain’s Royal institution explained: what is The Firm and who runs it?
The Duchess of Sussex made references to “the institution” during her interview with Oprah Winfrey, suggesting she was talking about palace staff rather than royal relations. The institution of the monarchy, sometimes called the “court”, takes in the staff and advisers, as well as the rules and traditions within which the Royal family is constrained. All senior members of the Royal family have a cohort of secretaries whose role is to support them in every aspect of their public roles, from diary managers to accountants to press officers. In the case of the Queen, her most senior aide is Sir Edward Young, her Private Secretary, who manages her household and is the key liaison point between Her Majesty and the outside world. If the Government wanted to arrange a State visit for a US President, for example, or if a Prime Minister decided to resign, Sir Edward would be the one to get the call. Working underneath him in Buckingham Palace are scores of other servants, some of whom help advise the Queen, but also butlers, valets, cleaners, conservators and cooks. In the case of the Queen, her household also includes as many as nine ladies-in-waiting, who are official companions drawn from the aristocracy, though only one is likely to be on hand at any one time. Other senior members of the Royal family, most notably the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge, have their own teams of staff and advisers, who are referred to collectively by the building in which they are based, so that the Prince’s household is Clarence House and the Duke’s is Kensington Palace. Read more: What the world missed during rive key Sussex revelations