Princess of Wales hires new 'ball-breaker' PR guru who

Kate’s Kensington ‘shake-up’: Princess of Wales hires new ‘ball-breaker’ PR guru who came up with Jamie Oliver’s fight against childhood obesity as her own private secretary

  • Alison Corfield joins the Princess of Wales as a veteran public relations expert
  • Royal sources said that Kate wanted to recruit a ‘different type of courtier’

The Princess of Wales has hired a ‘straight-talking’ public relations expert to join her Kensington Palace team as her new private secretary.

Alison Corfield joins the royals as a veteran public relations mastermind to aid Kate as her right-hand woman to help lead the charge on the Princess’s ramped up public work.

Ms Corfield comes into the role with bags of experience, previously orchestrating Jamie Oliver’s free school meals campaigns and drive to end childhood obesity by 2030.

Royal insiders told The Sunday Times that the public relations expert was a ‘ball-breaker’ and her appointment was a ‘breath of fresh air’.

Royal sources added that Kate sought out a ‘different type of courtier’, suggesting the Princess of Wales wanted to shake things up on her royal team.

Ms Corfield is replacing former diplomat and foreign office official Hannah Cockburn-Logie (pictured centre)

The Princess of Wales waves at the crowds with her former right-hand woman Rebecca Deacon in Brisbane, Australia, April 19, 2014

Ms Corfield is a 51-year-old mother of three from Croydon. She is a former Virgin Atlantic air stewardess, who is known to her friends as ‘Al’.

She spent five years as Jamie Oliver’s head of campaigns, masterminding his drive for free school meals and halving child obesity by 2030. Since then she has worked with Irish chef Clodagh McKenna, as well as MP Stella Creasy on her campaign to recruit more mothers as Labour parliamentary candidates.

Ms Corfield is replacing former diplomat and foreign office official Hannah Cockburn-Logie. She left the role in Autumn last year after almost three years as the Princess of Wales’ right-hand woman.

A palace source told The Sunday Times: ‘Alison is an unusual fit. She is a bit out there for Kensington Palace, but there is a move to recruit more modernisers and people with private sector experience, not just civil servants. She will run rings around the courtiers and shake things up a bit.’

Another royal insider was reported as saying: ‘She will be a massive breath of fresh air at Kensington Palace. She is loud, tons of fun and full of energy and enthusiasm.’

Royal aids have usually served as civil servants in government departments before making the switch to the palace. Now, it seems the Prince and Princess of Wales are keen on utilising private sector experience.

A former colleague described Ms Corfield to The Sunday Times as a ‘ball-breaker’ and ‘straight-talker’.

The source told The Sunday Times she is ‘very passionate, dynamic and genuinely funny. She makes things happen and will really push things forward at the palace.’

Last week the Princess kicked off her new ‘Shaping Us’ initiative to shine a spotlight on the crucial ‘early years’ of childhood 

The new appointment comes as the Princess of Wales ramps up her public work.

Last week the Princess kicked off her new ‘Shaping Us’ initiative to shine a spotlight on the crucial ‘early years’ of childhood.

The initiative was described as her ‘life’s work’.

In a speech at the event, the Princess of Wales showed her dedication to the campaign, saying: ‘The campaign is fundamentally about shining a spotlight on the critical importance of early childhood and how it shapes the adults we become.

‘During this time we lay the foundations and building blocks for life. And it is when we learn to understand ourselves, understand others and understand the world in which we live.

‘This is why it is essential, to not only understand the unique importance of our earliest years, but to know what we can all do to help raise future generations of happy, healthy adults.’ 

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