Prince Charles and Camilla dealt blow as key staff member quits royal household

Prince Charles ‘missed the boat’ with Camilla says expert

The couple’s communications secretary has quit the royal household, in favour of a new job as Chair of Corporate Affairs EMEA for global public relations firm Edelman. Julian Payne was first appointed to the role in July 2016, having previously worked for Burberry, the BBC and Sky.

Mr Payne, who previously worked as Director of Communications at the BBC, has been widely credited with improving the image of the Prince of Wales and Camilla during his five-year tenure.

The communications expert has been credited with encouraging Charles, 72, to use social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

The couple’s official Twitter account @ClarenceHouse has now amassed over 934,000 followers.

During Mr Payne’s time as communications secretary, Charles was voted GQ Man of the Year in 2018, launched his own clothing line which was featured in Vogue and was also the first royal to use Zoom.

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The heir to the throne also publicly addressed fears that he would continue to be outspoken about issues such as architecture and the environment when he succeeds his mother.

During an interview to mark Charles’ 70th birthday in 2018, the Prince of Wales suggested he will not speak out on issues when he becomes King as he recognises that being head of state is a completely different role to being an heir to the throne.

He told the BBC in 2017: “You know, I’ve tried to make sure whatever I’ve done has been non-party political, and I think it’s vital to remember there’s only room for one sovereign at a time, not two.

“So, you can’t be the same as the sovereign if you’re the Prince of Wales or the heir.

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“But the idea somehow that I’m going to go on in exactly the same way, if I have to succeed, is complete nonsense because the two – the two situations – are completely different.”

When asked if his public campaigning will go on, he added: “No, it won’t. I’m not that stupid.

“I do realise that it is a separate exercise being sovereign.

“So of course I understand entirely how that should operate.”

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Mr Payne’s decision to quit comes at a difficult time for the couple, as they have been publicly condemned for their portrayal in Season 4 of Netflix’s The Crown.

The show shows the love triangle between Prince Charles, his wife Princess Diana, and Camilla Parker Bowles.

The programme’s harsh portrayal of Charles and Camilla’s affair has received major backlash from some fans and has led to the couple’s official Twitter account disabling replies to stop the barrage of online abuse.

Royal experts and insiders have condemned Netflix’s portrayal of the affair as inaccurate and grossly exaggerated.

Several leading figures, including Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden have called on Netflix to add an official disclaimer at the beginning of each episode, making clear that the series is a work of fiction.

But a Netflix spokesperson said: “We have always presented The Crown as a drama – and we have every confidence our members understand it’s a work of fiction that’s broadly based on historical events.”

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