Nick Abbot 10pm - 1am
Harry and Meghan's Frogmore Cottage staff 'deployed elsewhere' amid 'Megxit' crisis
17 January 2020, 14:42
Staff who run the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's home are being deployed to other royal residences while the couple spend time in Canada.
Meghan and Harry have already begun their transition period of living in the UK and the Commonwealth country, where they hope to fulfil their dream of stepping back as senior royals and becoming financially independent.
The duchess is in Canada with son Archie and has carried out two charity visits since returning to the province of British Columbia, where the Sussexes spent six weeks over the festive period.
Photographs have also emerged of Meghan driving herself to Victoria International Airport near Vancouver sometime on Thursday apparently to pick up a friend.
There is speculation the couple will not be spending any meaningful time at their Frogmore Cottage home, which is close to Windsor Castle.
A source said: "No members of staff have been let go. In quiet periods, staff are often redeployed elsewhere around the estate."
Royal accounts published last summer revealed £2.4 million of taxpayers' money was spent on Meghan and Harry's grade II listed home, turning five properties back into a single residence for the couple and their baby son.
The amount spent was heavily criticised at the time by the organisation Republic, which campaigns for an elected head of state, but all fixtures and fittings for the home were paid for privately by the duke and duchess.
There is speculation over whether Harry's launch of the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draw on Thursday was his last royal engagement as a senior royal, but Commonwealth Day - celebrated on March 9 - will be the real test.
The day is a major event in the royal calendar that features all leading members of the monarchy, so if Harry and Meghan are not present it signals their new life away from frontline duties has begun.