An investigation by The Times newspaper has revealed that The Queen’s most senior aide, Sir Christopher Geidt, was forced out of the job by the Prince of Wales in what the paper describes as a ‘power struggle.’
Buckingham Palace and the Prince of Wales are in the midst of a huge row over how best to manage the transition arrangements for when Prince Charles succeeds his mother as Monarch and becomes King.
The Queen’s former Private Secretary, Sir Christopher Geidt, left his position in July after complaints by both the Prince of Wales and Duke of York. The Times report that this was the ultimate climax between Buckingham Palace and Clarence Hosue.
The power struggle is thought to revolve around plans to make Prince Charles King, and his staff are keen to increase his royal role significantly by the time he turns 70-years-old next year.
Sources confirmed to The Times that these plans are referred to as “Project 70”.
Prince Andrew is reported to back his brother in this unprecedented row, helping remove Sir Christopher from his role as Private Secretary in July. Sources say that the sixth-in-line to the throne shares a great dislike to Sir Christopher in the same as his brother does.
One source says that this is because Andrew is still angry about being removed as trade ambassador a few years ago due to his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Others say it is because Sir Christopher heavily controlled Andrew’s expenditure.
A wave of senior palace officials resigned from the royal household in the weeks after Sir Christopher left his role.
This included The Queen’s Assistant Private Secretary, Samantha Cohen who was widely seen in royal circles as Her Majesty’s No 3. She handed her notice in following the departure of Sir Christopher.
Reacting to the latest news, a joint statement by Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, and Kensington Palace read: “While we never comment on the confidential employment details of individuals, it was previously announced in July that Sir Christopher Geidt is stepping down after ten years as Private Secretary. At the time of the announcement, the Lord Chamberlain paid tribute to the major contribution made by Sir Christopher, who in turn commended the support offered to Her Majesty by other members of the royal family.
“Recent years have seen an ever-closer working relationship between all the different royal households and their respective teams. The Prince of Wales and the entire royal family are committed to supporting the Queen in whatever way they can at Her Majesty’s request. Beyond that, we are not going to engage with a story based on rumours from unnamed sources.”
Sir Christopher, who has been in the role for ten years, said at the time of his departure: “It has been my very great privilege to serve The Queen since the Golden Jubilee in 2002 and, especially, as her Private Secretary for the past decade. In that time, as throughout her Reign, Her Majesty’s authority has brought stability, purpose and colour to country and Commonwealth alike.
“With The Duke of Edinburgh’s recent decision to draw back from public life, The Queen’s own unwavering commitment as Sovereign has the full and active support of the entire Royal Family.
Sources from the Royal Household say that more resignations of senior staff in the Royal Households follow.
A senior source from the household, as reported by the Daily Mail, said that “Sir Christopher’s departure is just the beginning. Major changes are afoot. Yes, it is a shake-up.”