Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Palace Staff 'Shocked' By Layoffs, Source Says

The closure comes as part of the couple's exit from royal duties and move to North America.

As Meghan Markle and Prince Harry prepare to leave behind their royal duties, the two are closing up shop in Britain.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are reportedly closing down their Buckingham Palace office, which means layoffs for the employees who were part of their staff. A royal source tells ET that the staff has been given their notices.

According to the source, a few beloved, selected staff, who have been with the Palace for years, were given the option of continuing employment. They would be absorbed into other roles within the royal household if they choose to stay on.

"ET has learned that because the Duke and Duchess will now be financially independent, the Royal family will no longer pay for their staff," a second source tells ET. "A number of the employees asked to stay with the Duke and Duchess. Those moving on are all being reassigned and paid redundancy fees. In their new life, things will be streamlined and leaner with staff located closer to them, ET has learned."

The staff was notified several weeks ago about the development, shortly after Meghan and Harry made the announcement that they'd be stepping back from their responsibilities and privileges as senior members of the royal family. Many of the staff members were "shocked," ET's royal source says, "particularly after their hard work, discretion and intense loyalty."

The source adds this could be a "practical" move for the couple since they have stepped back from senior royal duties.

Since their royal exit, Meghan and Harry have been spending quality time with their almost-10-month-old son, Archie, in North Saanich, Canada, a small, secluded community that does typically attract celebrities. 

Last week, a source told ET that the Canadian community where they are temporarily residing has banded together to protect their privacy, even refusing requests for details about the couple.

However, the pair will be heading back across the pond to join the rest of the royal family for the Commonwealth Service for Commonwealth Day at Westminster Abbey in London next month.

The service is set to take place on March 9, and the British newspaper The Sunday Times reports that the couple will be joined by Archie for the trip. A source tells ET that Meghan and Harry will also be doing a final round of royal engagements in the U.K. before settling in North America.

However, Meghan and Harry have been making the most of their time away from the confines of royal duties. On Tuesday, they paid a visit to Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, according to Today. The pair reportedly attended a brainstorming session with professors at the university as part of their work developing a new charitable organization that will be the focus of their future philanthropic efforts.

ET has reached out to the Palace and Stanford for comment on their reported visit.

The duo also made a high-profile visit to Miami, Florida, earlier this month, where they ran into Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez while attending a J.P. Morgan summit event, which Harry spoke at. For more on the royal couple's interaction with J.Lo and A-Rod, check out the video below: