Merger of Royal PR teams edges closer

LONDON - The long-mooted merger of the Buckingham Palace and St James's Palace press offices has moved a step closer this week, according to St James's media adviser Mark Bolland.

Bolland -- who himself supports a merger -- told PRWeek that PR responses to revelations and allegations such as those that have hit both palaces since the collapse of the trial of former butler Paul Burrell, could be improved by closer working arrangements.

A St James's spokeswoman said: 'I think there's scope for the press offices to be closer in working practices and on planning issues. But I think a merger is unlikely in the near future.'

St James's press team is headed by Colleen Harris, who was promoted from deputy press secretary in August 2000.

Buckingham Palace's press operations are handled by the Queen's comms secretary and PRWeek PR Professional of the Year Simon Walker, who leaves the job in three weeks time, and Penny Russell-Smith.

The Queen's spokesman said: 'We are very keen to work more closely with them and we will look at the possibilities.'

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