MEGHAN Markle and Prince Harry quit royal duties for LA to be "social impact influencers", their former chief of staff has revealed.
Catherine St-Laurent, who quit her top role after less than a year, confirmed the couple stepped back to become "talented and creative leaders" instead.
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The Duke and Duchess vowed they'd continue with a lifetime of "service" – after the Queen confirmed they'd be stripped of their royal titles after Megxit.
And now Ms St-Laurent, who left a plum job with Bill and Melinda Gates to work as Harry and Meghan’s chief of staff last year, has revealed their plans for the future.
It comes as:
- Harry and Meghan’s trademark bid for Archewell has hit a stumbling block with US lawyers
- ITV cut a claim Prince William’s staff planted stories about Harry from a brothers-at-war doc amid fears it was ‘defamatory’
- Meghan 'upset people early on' and is 'not as charming as she seems', it's claimed
- And a royal biographer has claimed William and Harry won't make up – as The Duke of Sussex 'can't afford to upset his wife'
- A lawyer suspended over a 'racist' tweet about Lilibet Diana has been quietly reinstated
"It was an incredible experience. They are incredibly talented and creative leaders," she said.
"I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to do that, to be able to be with them on their journey.
"The time that I spent with them was incredibly fulfilling.
"I think they have the potential to be very influential leaders in the social-impact space. I look forward to continuing to be a part of that."
Ms St-Laurent stepped down as the couple's chief of staff in March – just 11 months after taking on the role.
She also quit as chief exec of their Archewell Foundation.
During the changes, she shifted to a “senior advisory role”.
She is one of 13 key aides to leave the Sussexes – at least nine of whom departed while the pair worked as senior royals.
In September 2018, Meghan’s former PA Melissa Touabti left after six months amid reports she had been “reduced to tears” by Meghan’s demands.
Weeks later, private secretary Samantha Cohen resigned after 17 years with the Royal Family – although she was later reinstated to lead crunch Megxit talks with the Queen.
Senior comms secretary Katrina McKeever also quit the press team in September.
In January 2019, Meghan’s unnamed female bodyguard of six months quit.
Meghan’s assistant private secretary Amy Pickerill also left that month.
This year, Harry’s private secretary Heather Wong, who joined his tourism project Travalyst, decided to step down from the job.
PR chief Sara Latham, who worked for Hilary Clinton, was poached by the Queen.
And Diversity campaigner Natalie Campbell quit in January 2020.
Elsewhere, Jason Knauf, who accused Meghan of bullying, announced last month he'd quit as chief executive of William and Kate's Royal Foundation at the end of this year.
Mr Knauf was the former communications secretary for Meghan and Harry.
He was dragged into the spotlight in March after The Times ran his allegations that the Duchess had bullied several female members of their team, forcing at least two to quit.
This prompted Buckingham Palace to launch an inquiry, but a spokesman for Harry and Meghan denied the claims, calling them a "calculated smear campaign".
And sources say the mum-of-two is heading for a "brutal showdown" with the Palace over the claims – and plans to issue a “point by point” rebuttal.
Who is Catherine St-Laurent?
Ms St-Laurent has an impressive CV
She worked with Melinda Gates' Pivotal Gates for five years.
But she's know the family for much longer, and was previously involved in communications for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for seven years.
Before that, Ms St-Laurent was based in London and Brussels as she worked for HSBC and Vero Communications.
She was involved in international sporting campaigns for Vero, including both Rio and PyeongChang's Olympic Games bids.
She joined the Archewell charity after Meghan and Harry laid off 15 members of staff in January 2020.
In a statement last year, she said: "From our very first conversation, Harry and Meghan have expressed a deep commitment to improving lives and having a positive impact on society.
"Their perspective on the role that empathy, connection, and compassion can play in that mission is both deeply personal and incredibly timely."
She was also appointed executive director of Travalyst, an eco-friendly travel venture led by Harry to be set up as a non-profit organisation in the UK.
But the venture has suffered a series of blows, not least with the reported resignation of 39-year-old Heather Wong.
Ms Wong was Harry's assistant private secretary and worked with the couple during Megxit.
Travalyst's aim is to help tourists pick low carbon options and choose destinations where tourism will benefit local communities.
Prince Harry launched the venue in September 2019, and brought together some of the biggest names within the travel industry – including Visa, Booking.com and Skyscanner.
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