Inside secret life of a royal secretary and their techniques used to ‘persuade’ Firm | Royal | News

March 12, 2024
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A royal expert and author has shared a fresh insight into the role of royal private secretaries, who are in charge of keeping everything under control behind the scenes.

Senior members of the Firm such as , , and all rely on their private secretaries, with Valentine Low revealing on a recent podcast episode that they are the “machinery of the Palace”.

The King’s current private secretary is Sir Clive Alderton, while the Prince and Princess of Wales are supported by Ian Patrick and Lieutenant Colonel Tom White respectively.

Speaking on HELLO!’s A Right Royal Podcast, Mr Low said of the secretaries: “They organise their public life, engagements, they’re their gatekeeper, they determine who gets to see the member of the Royal Family, they write speeches, they advise, they advise on policy, and they’re also a constant companion. They are with them a lot of the time.”

Even though the private secretaries make a lot of the day-to-day decisions, the buck will always stop with the monarch.

Mr Low also admitted that it could be tricky for the private secretaries to “persuade” the royals to do something else when they are “set on another path”.

He explained: “When I was writing my book Courtiers, the different techniques that the private secretaries would use to get their royal to do the right thing… It’s not about having a full-on row, because a full-on row doesn’t get you anywhere. Sometimes it’s about explaining the consequences.

“Sometimes it’s a question of recruiting allies. You might, if it was the then-Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, you might want to get Camilla on board. It’s about using subtle techniques to get your way.”

Princess Kate recently appointed a new private secretary after Hannah Cockburn-Logie left in October 2022, with Lieutenant Colonel Tom White getting the prestigious job.

The Lt Col previously worked alongside the late Queen Elizabeth right up until her death in September 2022, and was the first Royal Marines commando to hold the position.

Royal sources have commented via The Mail that Kate’s new private secretary is “so well-liked by every member of the household”.

Several royal fans on X commented that the Lt Col bore a striking resemblance to a particular famous tennis player, who is also known to be pals with Kate.

One user wrote: “Oh my he looks like Roger Federer. [heart eyes emoji]“, while another added: “Excellent! He looks like Roger Federer” and a third wrote: “He looks like Roger Federer.”

The Princess of Wales is not expected to be back on royal duty until after Easter as she continues to recover from abdominal surgery which took place in January.



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