Former host of Desert Island Discs Kirsty Young has been appointed to be the director of Harry and Meghan’s Sussex Royal foundation.
Ex-Radio 4 presenter Young, 50, stepped down from the show in 2018 to receive treatment for chronic pain disorder fibromyalgia.
She has since taken up the role of President of Unicef after nearly 30 years in the media.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex set up their own charitable foundation after their decision to break away from Kate and William’s at Kensington Palace.
It followed reports of a rift, first between Kate and Meghan, then between future king William and his younger brother.
Former host of Desert Island Discs Kirsty Young (pictured at Royal Ascot left) has been appointed to be the director of Harry and Meghan’s Sussex Royal foundation (pictured right in South Africa)
It is understood Young is a trusted friend of Harry and Meghan’s and was the first person the couple asked to join Sussex Royal earlier this year, although schedules meant the official paperwork has only now been completed.
She was also part of the BBC team who covered their wedding at St George’s Chapel in Winsdor in 2018, but it was Young’s former BBC colleague Mishal Husain who was chosen to carry out their engagement interview the year before.
She is a mother-of-two and step-mother of two more children, from her husband Nick Jones, the founder of Soho House, and his first wife’s marriage.
The 50-year-old is married to Soho House founder Nick Jones.
Soho House in London is where Harry and Meghan are believed to have had their first date, and the duchess’s close friend, Markus Anderson, is said to be a consultant for the members-only club.
Young helped broadcast their wedding at St George’s Chapel in Windsor (still pictured) on the BBC in 2018
The Sussexes have hired mostly women to do the top jobs, focusing on choosing directors who share their values and their vision of what they want to achieve through their charity work.
Also joining Sussex Royal are Professor Stefan Allesch-Taylor, Steven Cooper and Karen Blackett, who have all been appointed as trustees.
Philanthropist Professor Allesch-Taylor is a university professor and a coffee tycoon, who was awarded a CBE in 2014 for philanthropic and charitable services in the UK and Africa.
Former Barclays businessman Mr Cooper is the chief executive of the UK’s oldest privately-owned bank, C Hoare & Co, and and has lived in Botswana.
Influential media executive Ms Blackett is chairwoman of media agency MediaCom UK.
Other high-power women the Sussexes have hired include head of communications Sara Latham and director Natalie Campbell.
Ms Latham worked for both Bill and Hillary Clinton in the States and in the UK was a special adviser to the late Tessa Jowell, the Labour Culture Secretary.
Sources previously said her biggest challenge was convincing Harry and Meghan that the ‘men in grey suits’ the prince hates so much have their best interests at heart.
Natalie Campbell was poached from Kate and William’s foundation and was instead employed by the Sussexes as ‘director of insight and innovation’.
Meghan’s three wise women
Heather Wong, pictured, previously worked in the Obama administration and was poached from Milltown Partners
Crisis expert with Obama link
Heather Wong, deputy private secretary: Rumoured to be moving on soon, she started work for Harry as his assistant private secretary but has also been seen at Meghan’s side too.
Glamorous, with an eye-wateringly impressive CV, she has focused on building the couple’s initiatives across areas including conservation, mental health and HIV/Aids.
She was poached from Milltown Partners, a rather secretive business working in ‘behind the scenes’ PR, crisis communications and ‘reputational management’ set up by Prince Charles’s former spin doctor Paddy Harverson.
Miss Wong previously worked in the Obama administration as deputy assistant secretary of public affairs at the Department of Homeland Security.
Former ambassador Fiona Mcilwham, pictured, has recently been appointed as private secretary by the royal couple
Star with diplomatic touch
Fiona Mcilwham, private secretary: In 21 years at the Foreign Office she has built up a wealth of international experience – perfect for the couple who see themselves as ‘global citizens’ as well as royal ambassadors. Her interest in women’s rights will no doubt have scored points with Meghan, too.
‘Harry and Meghan have felt frustrated by the one-size fits all approach to being a working royal and are aiming their star far higher,’ said a source. ‘It is clear they think Fiona is the person to do that.
‘Internally, the hope is, as someone with enormous diplomatic experience, she will also understand that, whether you like it or not, there are limitations to being a royal for a very good reason.’
Sara Latham, pictured, has previously worked for the Clintons in America
PR chief facing a tough task
Sara Latham, head of communications: Feisty but well-liked and impeccably connected, the US-born PR supremo has her work cut out for her.
Harry and Meghan’s first year of marriage has been dogged by very public fallings out with her father and the Cambridges as accusations of hypocrisy – preaching a green message while flying in a private jet.
She worked for both Bill and Hillary Clinton in the States and in the UK was a special adviser to the late Tessa Jowell, the Labour Culture Secretary.
Sources say her biggest challenge is convincing Harry and Meghan that the ‘men in grey suits’ the prince hates so much have their best interests at heart.
The ‘social entrepreneur had worked closely with Meghan on her cookbook designed for the survivors of Grenfell fire.
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