Kate Middleton’s New Personal Secretary Will “Shake Things Up”
You can stop faxing your résumé, the role of Kate Middleton’s new personal secretary has been filled. Alice Corfield will lead the team at Kensington Palace as the Princess of Wales’s most senior aide and right arm. The 51-year-old recently led celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s public relations campaigns to curb child obesity and increase free school lunches. She is replacing Hannah Cockburn-Logie, who stepped down in December after two-and-a-half years in the position.
And by all accounts, the new hire will do things a little differently. A colleague of Corfield’s from her time working with Oliver described the incoming leader to the Times of London as “a ball-breaker, a real straight-talker, very passionate, dynamic and genuinely funny.” Other descriptions used in the article were “loud,” “persuasive,” and “a breath of fresh air.” Apparently, Middleton specifically sought out “a different kind of courtier.” The phrase “shake things up” was also used.
Corfield, known as “Al” to her friends, is a mother of three, and began her working life as an airline hostess on Virgin Atlantic, which she once described as “flying glamorously around the globe as a member of the cabin crew.” This led to more senior positions within Virgin, including setting up Virgin Brides, a short-lived bridal shop in 1995. “We set the whole brand up working from a room in Richard Branson’s house,” Corfield said. “Amazing times, and an extraordinary experience starting something from scratch.”
After 13 years at Virgin, she worked alongside British politicians and Project Everyone, “a communications and campaigning agency promoting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.” The group was founded by former Tony Blair aide Kate Garvey and Richard Curtis, the director of Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral, and the co-founder of Comic Relief.
“Alison is an unusual fit,” one (perhaps more old fashioned?) royal source told the Times. “She is a bit out there for Kensington Palace,” the source continued, almost as if setting up a smash cut to some indoor tobogganing hijinks. But they continued, “there is a move to recruit more modernizers and people with private sector experience, not just civil servants. She will run rings around the courtiers and shake things up a bit.”
Corfield will certainly have her work cut out for her, as the Princess has just launched her Shaping Us campaign, which raises awareness surrounding the importance of the first five years of a child’s life. The program, part of the wider Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood, is something that, according to royal aides, Middleton feels is “the social equivalent to climate change.
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