Before Prince William touched down in America, he and his wife Kate Middleton had already planned out their latest power move.
The Prince of Wales is in New York City on Monday and Tuesday for several engagements, including the second Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit. But before his visit, the Prince and Princess of Wales put out a job ad for a “low ego” chief executive officer (CEO) who will run their household.
Christopher Andersen, author of “The King,” warned Fox News Digital that the hire of a CEO could risk competition with the king’s office. However, it’s noted in the job description that the CEO must align the couple’s priorities with those in support of the king and his wife.
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“I’m sure William and Kate think they are helping Charles ‘streamline’ the monarchy by creating this new post of CEO, but of course, all they are doing is adding another layer of bureaucracy,” Andersen explained.
“It’s bad enough that the private secretaries and deputy private secretaries for all the royal households – the ‘Men in Gray,’ Princess Diana called them – spend so much time jockeying for position and trying to get the upper hand,” he shared. “They have always wielded all the power behind the scenes – even the king defers to them, just as his mother Queen Elizabeth II did. Now they will have someone above them reporting directly to the Prince and Princess of Wales – a person who will almost certainly set about building their little empire within palace walls.”
“This is a recipe for even more backstabbing and intrigue,” Andersen alleged. “I think William and Kate should stick to the basics – just do what they’ve done in the past, only more so. They already have the key to success. They know what they’re doing. As the saying goes, don’t fix it if it ain’t broke.”
Andersen believes the title of CEO is “woefully misguided” because it’s “intended to make the monarchy sound more business-efficient.”
“People don’t want to be reminded that ‘The Firm’ is exactly that – a multibillion-dollar moneymaking enterprise,” said Andersen. “The term ‘CEO’ is rather cold-blooded. People want to cling to the illusion of history and romance that is the essence of the British monarchy.”
According to the job description obtained by Fox News Digital, the CEO will be “the most senior and accountable leader for the Household of The Prince and Princess of Wales.” The CEO will report to the couple directly, as well as support them “to deliver the work and impact of TRH’s official and private offices.” The individual will manage a team of about 60 people and develop “a positive, collaborative and professional culture.”
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In addition, the CEO will provide “counsel and support to TRHs on a wide variety of matters related to their public and private offices.”
The ad was posted not on Buckingham Palace’s official website, but on the page of recruitment firm Odgers Berndtson.
A spokesperson for the couple didn’t immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
Middleton, 41, has been without a private secretary since December, The Telegraph reported. According to the outlet, Hannah Cockburn-Logie previously took on the role for two and a half years.
But not every royal expert feels the same way as Andersen. British royal commentator Jonathan Sacerdoti told Fox News Digital that the Prince and Princess of Wales have been revamping things behind palace doors as the future king and queen consort.
“[Prince William’s] intention to hire a CEO is interesting because it is not the conventional way royal households have been staffed,” he said.
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“Hiring someone who doesn’t come from a background of decades of work in the royal households, the military or even from the civil service… [is] a sign that [William] wants to modernize his executive team and run things a bit differently,” Sacerdoti explained. “I think every senior royal in the line of succession has the opportunity to work with what they inherit, and also to modernize and shape things more in their image. So it’s a sign that he may want to do things in a more modern, corporate sort of way.”
“We’ll need to wait and see how well it works, and if the new CEO will fit in with the more traditional structures and styles of the rest of the institution,” Sacerdoti added.
British royals expert Hilary Fordwich pointed out to Fox News Digital that, according to the ad, the couple is seeking someone who is “calm under pressure, able to deal with difficult situations sensitively and with integrity.”
“The first person who came to my mind was Patrick Jephson, the private secretary and equerry to Diana, Princess of Wales from 1988 to 1996,” Fordwich explained. “While responsible for every aspect of her public life she soared in popularity, and she totally trusted him until Martin Bashir deceived her, for which the BBC had to apologize.”
“Likewise, William and Catherine need someone they can trust, just as Diana did Patrick,” Fordwich shared. “He most certainly was an admirable ‘servant’ leader. As he recounted, after a long day visiting a leprosy hospital or the like, if she complained to him, he would raise an eyebrow in disapproval, causing her to reproach herself, validating him with ‘What you’re telling me Patrick is, ‘Just shut up, Diana, and do your job!’ How many would have the strength of character to do as Patrick did? How many will bring good judgment to the table?”
Fordwich noted that the hunt for a CEO projects “an Americanized approach” in an attempt to keep the monarchy fresh and relevant to a new generation. Queen Elizabeth II, England’s longest-reigning monarch, passed away in 2022 at age 96.
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“The House of Windsor has never attempted such an appointment like this in its long history,” Fordwich explained. “Both William and Catherine are known to be introverts and are being urged to ‘do more.’ Where has the desire for this position originated from? Perhaps as a response to Prince Harry’s accusations of courtiers wielding too much power while he was on an American chat show where he doubted whether his grandmother had ‘the right people around her.’”
“It is also well-known that Prince Andrew also resented royal courtiers as he had a hand in forcing out the queen’s previous private secretary, Sir Christopher Geidt, amid concerns regarding his heavy influence over his mother,” Fordwich continued. “Or perhaps this position is being posted as a response to the less than successful Caribbean tour William and Catherine undertook last year. It may well also be in response to the criticism they recently received in response to William’s decision not to fly to Sydney to watch the Lionesses play the World Cup Final.”
Fordwich added that the likelihood the Prince and Princess of Wales will be visiting the U.S. more, as well as all the countries in the Commonwealth, “will be high.” The goal is to boost their image globally amid the ongoing family drama that has made headlines in recent years.
According to The Sunday Times, William “has no plans to answer inevitable questions” about his “fractured relationship” with his brother.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped back as senior royals in 2020. At the time, they cited what they saw as the media’s racist treatment of the duchess and a lack of support from the palace.
After moving to California, the couple aired their grievances in a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021. In late 2022, their six-part Netflix documentary was released, which detailed their love story and struggles with royal life. Then in January of this year, Prince Harry’s memoir “Spare” was published. It unveiled his longtime rivalry with William, the heir to the throne, and the grief he endured after the death of their mother, Princess Diana.
In interviews given to promote the book, the Duke of Sussex, 39, accused members of the royal family of getting “into bed with the devil” to gain favorable tabloid coverage. He singled out his stepmother Camilla’s efforts to rehabilitate her image with the British people after her longtime affair with his father.
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Sacerdoti said William’s U.S. trip is part of a “carefully planned evolution” as he tunes out the tabloid noise.
“I expect he won’t waste much, if any, time on discussing his brother,” Sacerdoti explained. “It’s unlikely he’ll want to be sidetracked into the circus of competitive PR and gossip… The future king has other matters to deal with. He is positioning himself as a global statesman, the U.K.’s next head of state… He’s keen to be seen using his position in connection to the big issues of the world.”
“That’s why his Earthshot Prize is central to his activities, along with his efforts to tackle homelessness,” Sacerdoti shared. “These are world causes he sees as relevant to the future of the world and therefore also to him as the future king. He seems to be aware of the importance of the American public and their mostly positive opinion of him. He looks comfortable visiting the U.S. regularly.”
“William is the next head of state for the U.K. and 15 other countries,” chimed British royals expert Shannon Felton Spence. “It’s important that he builds these relationships while he’s an apprentice for the role. His father did the same thing since the ‘70s.”
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“The more that William is seen in the mix of world leaders, the more relevant and essential the monarchy seems,” she noted. “The Prince of Wales is meant to be the sparkly mover and shaker, while the king is in the castle.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.