Alison Corfield: Kate Middleton’s new ‘straight-talking’ PR guru

Marketing expert is princess’s new private secretary, charged with taking ‘Brand Kate to the next level’

Kate Middleton
The Princess of Wales launched her initiative ‘Shaping Us’ in January
(Image credit: Chris Jackson/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The Princess of Wales has hired a PR guru known for her “straight talking” to “shake things up a bit” after the turmoil that followed the publication of Prince Harry’s autobiography.

Alison Corfield, a “brand management expert”, replaces Hannah Cockburn-Logie, a former diplomat with the Foreign Office, with Kate having “actively sought out a ‘different kind of courtier’” for the private secretary role, according to The Telegraph.

Corfield, 51, is “‘loud’, ‘persuasive’ and ‘straight talking’”, a source told the paper, and is expected to “shake things up a bit”. The princess is seeking to “step up her public work” and have it “make more of an impact”.

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The position of private secretary is “a vital role within any royal household” and is a “ varied and important” job, said Tatler. Responsibilities include the “smooth-running of the princess’s day” including tasks like “event briefings; overseeing the scheduling of engagements; or co-ordinating social media output”.

Who is Alison Corfield?

Corfield grew up in Croydon, south London, and unlike many royal appointments, she “doesn’t have a background in the civil service”, wrote Tatler. She began her career working as cabin crew at Virgin Atlantic in 1993, before taking on numerous roles within Virgin. She worked her way up at the British company to eventually become brand director of Virgin Media in 2005.

Since leaving Virgin in 2006, she has become “no stranger to working for high profile people”, said the Evening Standard. Most notably, she is “credited with masterminding Jamie Oliver’s childhood obesity and free school meals campaigns”, added Tatler, which will “will no doubt prove valuable experience” when working on the Princess of Wales’s charitable endeavours.

As well as Oliver, the mum of three has worked with Irish chef Clodagh McKenna, as well as Labour MP Stella Creasy, “on her campaign to recruit more mothers as Labour parliamentary candidates”, according to the Daily Mail.

Corfield is known as a “ball-breaker, a real straight-talker, very passionate, dynamic and genuinely funny”, a source told The Sunday Times. “She makes things happen and will really push things forward at the palace.”

Why has she been hired?

Corfield replaces Hannah Cockburn-Logie, who held the role for two and a half years and was often described as Kate’s “right-hand woman”, said Hello!.

The hiring of Corfield is a “highly significant gear change from what has gone before”, said The Telegraph, and she’ll be charged with taking “Brand Kate to the next level” as well as taking on the “the task of besting Meghan Markle”.

Since the publication of Prince Harry’s book Spare, the Princess of Wales has “rarely been out of the public eye” while the Duchess of Sussex, “who has unquestionably become her nemesis, has retreated to the shadows”, the paper said.

The princess unveiled her “life’s work” last week, launching a charitable initiative called Shaping Us, aimed at “shining a spotlight on the critical importance of early childhood”, said the Mail.

It is thought that Corfield will spearhead this campaign and turn it into the “sort of brand that will outlive the Princess” and make it “part of the national psyche”, like the Duke of Edinburgh awards and the Invictus Games, said The Telegraph.

The new initiative and the hiring of Corfield is a clear sign the Princess of Wales “is redefining herself now that she has this new role”, a source told the paper. And now she has a “greater platform”, she needs “the right team to deliver for her”.

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