Preparing: Prince Charles, pictured with Camilla, is set to take control of the Royal Family media operation within weeks
Sally Osman, left, will run a combines press office for both the Queen and Prince Charles in a move masterminded by the Queen’s private secretary, Sir Christopher Geidt, right.
Buckingham Palace reshuffles key personnel in 'first step to bringing Prince Charles to the throne'
MoS reveals Charles's aide will be media chief for entire Royal Household
Hugely significant move is 'transition to a change of reign'
By ELIZABETH SANDERSON AND KATIE NICHOLL
PUBLISHED: 18 January 2014 / http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2541862/Key-Palace-reshuffle-step-bringing-Prince-Charles-throne.html
It was an announcement that went largely unnoticed amid the obligatory national debate about the New Year’s Honours List.
There, among the gongs, was a second knighthood for the Queen’s private secretary, Sir Christopher Geidt, awarded, according to the citation, for ‘a new approach to constitutional matters... [and] the preparation for the transition to a change of reign’.
It was a surprising admission. It is widely acknowledged the Queen will never abdicate and the succession is rarely, if ever, talked about in official terms.
But behind the Palace gates, preparations are being made.
And in the clearest sign yet that Her Majesty is getting ready to pass the mantle on to her son, The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the Prince of Wales is preparing to take control of the Royal Family media operation within weeks.
For the past 20 years, the Queen and her heir have operated separate press offices from Buckingham Palace and Clarence House respectively.
They will now be run from one office at the Palace, with Prince Charles’s head of communications, Sally Osman, at the helm.
There is little doubting the significance of the move, masterminded by Sir Christopher, or the ways in which it will increase Prince Charles’s influence.
The merging of the two offices clearly represents an important change in the way the Monarchy will be run.
One Royal confidante said: ‘This is the first step to bringing Charles to the throne.’
Royal historian and biographer Hugo Vickers said: ‘It is quite normal for the private secretary to be given two knighthoods, one from the Queen, one from the Government.
‘Sir Christopher’s second knighthood was from the Government but to talk about transition in a citation is somewhat insensitive.
‘It seems very sensible to run the different offices under one umbrella, mainly because I don’t believe the Queen is in need of an all-spinning press secretary.
Since the Diamond Jubilee she is in an unassailable position. She’s nearly 88 and revered. At last people have got the point about her now.’
But another source said that Charles feels the need to consolidate his position.
‘He’s worried about being usurped by William and he’s conscious of how the public will react to Camilla when he becomes King.’
Hence the appointment of Ms Osman who, it is thought, will have the title director of communications for the Royal household plus Prince Charles.
Her remit will include the Queen, Prince Philip, The Prince of Wales, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. Ms Osman, 54, began working for Prince Charles last summer. S
he was director of communications at the BBC for eight years before going to work for Sony Europe.
The final details are still being signed off, but it is believed James Roscoe, acting press secretary to the Queen, will be made press secretary to Her Majesty as well as joint head of news with Ed Perkins, who will retain his role as press secretary to the Cambridges and Prince Harry.
Kristina Kyriacou, one of the most influential members of Charles’s court, will retain her role as assistant communications secretary, charities and marketing.
Plans for the transformation began last autumn after the Queen’s then press secretary, Ailsa Anderson, resigned.
She is now director of communications for the Archbishop of Canterbury.
A former member of the Prince’s staff said: ‘Ailsa’s departure was very much the catalyst for change.’
The Queen is said to be fully supportive of the step-change, which was discussed with the whole family, not just the ‘core’ figures.
Charles is now the longest-serving heir apparent in British history, and although the Queen is still active and engaged they all agreed that plans should be made for a smooth transition.
One Royal insider said: ‘There is a feeling that Charles has been given an inch and taken a mile. Having said that, this would never have been done without the full co-operation of the Queen and Sir Christopher Geidt.’
Prince Charles was said to have a difficult relationship with the Queen’s previous private secretary, Sir Robin (now Lord) Janvrin. By contrast, he has a good rapport with former Scots Guard Sir Christopher, 52, who took over the post in 2007.
Like Charles, Sir Christopher is firmly wedded to the idea of a slimmed-down Monarchy, something that is believed to have upset Princes Andrew and Edward.
Historian and author Brian Hoey said: ‘Following Prince Charles’s attendance at the Commonwealth summit, where he was supported by Sir Christopher, this is yet another example of him setting out his stall in preparation for his future inheritance.’