I resigned as Royal Press Secretary for family reasons
-Colleen Harris tells Stabroek News in an exclusive interview By John Mair in London
July 5, 2003
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Guyanese-born Colleen Harris, who until her resignation earlier this week, was press secretary to the Prince of Wales, on Thursday clarified her reasons for resigning her post in an exclusive interview with the Stabroek News.
Harris, 47, was widely reported in the British Press as quitting after some ‘nuclear rows’ over her position and strategy with Prince Charles’ Private Secretary Sir Michael Peat. 2003 has been a rocky year for St James Palace with the collapse of the trial of royal butler Paul Burrell and a subsequent internal investigation by Sir Michael.
That led to at least one high-level departure.
Colleen denies any conflict, “there’s absolutely no clash with Sir Michael. We have worked together well over the last year during which time we have successfully handled the aftermath of the Burrell trial, the Peat/Lawson report into HRH’s household, Prince William’s 21st birthday, Prince Harry’s departure from Eton etc. etc. I couldn’t have done all of this if I was battling with the Private Secretary” she told the Stabroek News.
Indeed, her reasons for leaving were much more prosaic - a desire to see more of her husband and young family in South London: “I resigned because after five years I couldn’t continue to work at this pace anymore. My work/life balance was completely out of synchronisation and I wasn’t seeing anything of my family. HRH was disappointed, but understood my reasons”, she told Stabroek News.
It is understood that she is seeking a more nine to five job but yet she says she has not made any detailed plans for life after St James Palace but they may involve another visit to her homeland of Guyana.
She was last there with Prince Charles three years ago. She told Stabroek News: “I am not sure of the future yet. I will continue working, but hopefully something where I can see my children now and again.
As Chairman of the Caribbean Board we have a number of initiatives in the pipeline and I will be visiting a number of countries in the Caribbean in the near future”.
Colleen is very proud of her heritage, she recently took part in a ‘Diaspora Dialogue’ at the London High Commission and has been nominated for a Guyana High Commission UK Award.
She is a prominent member of the soi-disant ‘Guyanese mafia’ in public life in the UK. But she did not see her resignation or the recent effective demotion of David Lammy MP in the government ministerial ranks as any indication that this ‘Mafia’ might be losing its grip. “There are a number of high profile Guyanese working hard in the community and I hope whatever I do next will still qualify me for membership”, she joked.
Colleen will continue in her high profile role at the side of the heir to the throne until the autumn. Watch this space and this very capable woman.