Buckingham Palace noticed Prince Williams giddiness at spending Duchy money

Last week, Kensington Palace staff “excitedly” briefed Richard Eden at the Daily Mail about their plans to hire a Top CEO to run operations around KP, plus the Duchy of Cornwall and Earthshot and what have you. It actually didn’t occur to me at the time that this is just another version of “William is too lazy and stupid to do his job.” When Charles was Prince of Wales, he had a bloated staff at every level, but he was actually an involved executive, dealing with Duchy business constantly and creating all kinds of schemes and charities. William can’t be bothered – he’s going to dump everything on an “emotionally intelligent, low ego, ‘servant’ leader” CEO, who will then have to give William credit for everything and excitedly brief the media about how William is really running things. Well, Rebecca English at the Mail has a follow-up on the CEO hunt and how William’s lazy scheme is going down at Buckingham Palace. Some highlights:

The CEO hunt: They have even employed a top ‘global leadership services’ agency, Odgers Berndtson, to find their candidate – for a hefty commission no doubt, as big City headhunters traditionally charge a third of their first-year salary as a finder’s fee.

A revolutionary move: It’s almost impossible to convey just how revolutionary William and Kate’s decision to bring in a ‘real-world’ executive to oversee their Kensington Palace household is. Royal households are operations where, traditionally, senior executives boast historic titles such as ‘Lord Chamberlain’ (effectively Buckingham Palace’s CEO), and ‘Master of the Household’. Most have spent decades navigating the hierarchy of the royal household, or entered from a Whitehall or military background. It’s an internal joke (albeit repeated with tongue firmly in cheek) that the Palace still operates using ‘Windows 1066’. An ‘inspiring internal champion’ who is ‘able to flex’ (as the job description reads) is going to be either a breath of fresh air or an icy blast of wokery, depending on how you are minded to interpret it.

A good move? One source who has worked within the palace walls told me: ‘It’s a smart move, although one hard to align with the existing set-up at Buckingham Palace where many live for hierarchy and titles. Having a CEO that oversees all the various extensions in their world – the Duchy of Cornwall, the Royal Foundation [the couple’s charitable arm], the Earthshot Awards and the Princess’s Centre for Early Childhood – seems a good move to me. Modernising their organisational and operational structure is sensible, as long as it means bringing in people from the outside with ‘real world’ experience as opposed to career courtiers.’

Buckingham Palace’s reaction: How this will go down at Buckingham Palace remains to be seen. One well-placed insider remarked dryly to me: ‘Oh yes, I’ve heard about this ‘interesting’ plan’, suggesting perhaps not everyone is comfortable with the corporatisation of the court. Certainly, the move came as a surprise to many, until they read about it in my colleague Richard Eden’s Thursday column, which suggests family communications still aren’t as seamless as they could be.

Oh my: While there is pride for how William has stepped up to his new role, some have been less appreciative of his ‘my way, or the highway’ approach on occasions. Some are even asking whether there is a little ‘giddiness’ in the Team Wales camp now William has his hand on the tiller of the Duchy of Cornwall, the £650 million estate that funds the heir to the throne. This elevation means he no longer has to go cap-in-hand to Charles for cash or consult him on management decisions. ‘The reason William hasn’t done this before is because he hasn’t had the autonomy,’ one observer remarks.

A hiring flurry: I’m told that despite the hiring flurry, the Waleses are not keen to expand their operation too much. The job ad suggests their CEO would lead a 60-strong workforce. This seems a little on the low side given they have hired entire teams for their projects in recent years, as well as a raft of social media specialists. However, it’s still far fewer than the 250-plus employed by the previous Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall. ‘William and Catherine are a couple who like to be very hands-on and able to wander around the office and know everyone who works for them by name,’ a source tells me. ‘They know their partners and their children and don’t blink an eye if people bring their dogs into work, as has happened over the years. It’s surprisingly informal, really.’

[From The Daily Mail]

“Some are even asking whether there is a little ‘giddiness’ in the Team Wales camp now William has his hand on the tiller of the Duchy of Cornwall” – I’ve long believed that Charles spent a significant amount of time and effort “William-proofing” the Duchy of Cornwall so his prodigal son wouldn’t loot the Duchy in a series of spending sprees. We’ll see if Charles actually managed to do that. From everything we’ve heard, over the years, Charles transformed the Duchy so that it operated as a more streamlined business, with executive officers and middle-managers and corporate accountability. I wonder what those people think of William’s giddy spending and his need to create a more baroque chain of command.

Anyway, it’s clear that Charles and Camilla want no part of William’s moronic CEO scheme, and I would imagine that eventually someone will be hired and they’ll work in KP for about six months before leaving under “mysterious” circumstances and that will be the end of that.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images.

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