Patricia Earl, the head housekeeper at Her Majesty the Queen’s Sandringham residence in Norfolk, has reportedly quit her job in protest at plans for a royal household “bubble” over Christmas.
Rumours from within the royal household staff say that Ms Earl, 56, was "embarrassed" after some members of her team refused to form a bubble because they didn't want to be separated from their families for so long.
But Buckingham Palaces have denied the report and maintain that the departure of Ms Earl – who was made a member of the Royal Victorian Order for her long service as a housekeeper – is "completely amicable".
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The report, published in today’s Sun on Sunday, claims that Ms Earl’s sudden departure has thrown the Royal Family’s Christmas plans into turmoil.
It alleges that the loyal retainer, who has been in the Queen’s service for some 32 years, was embarrassed after some servants refused to be part of Her Majesty’s “Covid bubble” for four weeks over the festive period as they wanted to be with their families.
There are also claims that her Majesty herself is “furious” at the alleged staff revolt.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman insisted: “This was a completely amicable departure.”
The Queen, 94, and her husband Prince Philip, 99, are both in Covid-19 high-risk groups because of their age.
The would normally spend the festive season at Sandringham with their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
But this year they plan to break with tradition and spend a quiet Christmas at Windsor Castle instead.
Master of the Household Tony Johnstone-Burt, a former Royal Navy officer, has referred to Windsor as "HMS Bubble”.
During the lockdown period he 22 members of staff all had to remain separated from their own families.
Her Majesty is reported to be keeping up with Prince William and Kate Middleton, as well as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, via video chats.
The Queen is also said to be deeply involved in plans for her platinum jubilee, which will take place in 2022.
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