Kate and William hire ex-Bafta boss to replace Jason Knauf as head of their charity behind their Earthshot awards. dung123

Prince William and Kate Middleton today appointed former Bafta boss Amanda Berry as the new chief executive for their charitable Royal Foundation in what experts said was an ‘inspired’ choice.

The 60-year-old from Darlington announced three months ago that she was leaving Bafta and she is known to be very friendly with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge thanks to William being the organisation’s president.

Ms Berry will replace Jason Knauf who stepped down at the end of 2021. Mr Knauf, who famously accused Meghan Markle of bullying, was said to have reluctantly quit after his husband took up a diplomatic position overseas.

Mr Knauf, the ex-communications secretary to Prince Harry and Meghan, was at the centre of claims that Meghan had bullied palace staff, and made a formal complaint that prompted an internal inquiry. She denies wrongdoing.

Richard Fitzwilliams, a commentator both on the Royal Family and the film industry, told MailOnline today that the new appointment was ‘an inspired one for the future of the monarchy which the Cambridges and their children represent’ and said Ms Berry was ‘a pragmatic and dedicated moderniser’ who had a ‘remarkable’ record at Bafta.

When Ms Berry’s exit was announced last December, the organisation said she did not intend to step down until autumn 2023. But Kensington Palace has now revealed today that Ms Berry will take up her new post at the Royal Foundation in June this year – the same month when the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations are planned.

William and Kate, who are regulars on the red carpet at the Bafta awards each year, said in a statement: ‘We are very much looking forward to working with Amanda and are thrilled that she has chosen to join us at the Royal Foundation. Her extensive experience will be of tremendous value as we continue our ambitious charitable work.’

Meghan’s biographer Omid Scobie tweeted today that William had worked with Ms Berry ‘on a number of occasions’, adding that his inaugural Earthshot Prize was yesterday nominated for the ‘Best Live TV Event’ Bafta.

During this year’s Baftas, which William could not attend due to ‘diary constraints’, host Rebel Wilson made a joke about Harry and Meghan’s 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey, saying: ‘From drama to fantasy, Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview had it all. Unfortunately, that’s not nominated in this category, but some incredible films are.’

She also poked fun at Prince Andrew regarding the infamous reference he made to visiting a Pizza Express in Woking during his 2019 BBC Newsnight interview, saying: ‘So I was going to do a musical number as host, it was about Prince Andrew though. Um, no guys, it’s no, it’s not what you think. It was on roller skates, it’s called Pizza Express. But don’t worry, I’m not gonna do it, I’m not gonna sing. I’m saving my voice for the sequel to Cats.’

Amanda Berry with Prince William and Kate Middleton at the Bafta Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in London in February 2018

Amanda Berry with Prince William and Kate Middleton at the Bafta Awards at the Royal Albert Hall in London in February 2018

Amanda Berry and Kate Middleton laugh as they sit either side of Prince William at the Baftas in London in February 2019

Amanda Berry and Kate Middleton laugh as they sit either side of Prince William at the Baftas in London in February 2019

Amanda Berry, Prince William and Kate Middleton at the Baftas at the Royal Albert Hall in London in February 2019

Amanda Berry, Prince William and Kate Middleton at the Baftas at the Royal Albert Hall in London in February 2019

Prince William walks with Bafta chief executive Amanda Berry to tour the organisation's HQ in London in September 2019

Prince William walks with Bafta chief executive Amanda Berry to tour the organisation’s HQ in London in September 2019

Actor Tom Hiddleston kisses Bafta chief executive Amanda Berry at the Royal Festival Hall in London in May 2016

Actor Tom Hiddleston kisses Bafta chief executive Amanda Berry at the Royal Festival Hall in London in May 2016

Jason Knauf at Harry and Meghan's wedding in Windsor in 2018
Jason Knauf with Prince Harry in South Africa in December 2015

Former Royal Foundation chief executive Jason Knauf is pictured (left) at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding at Windsor Castle in May 2018, and (right) with Harry in South Africa in December 2015

Ms Berry said today: ‘I am very excited to be joining The Royal Foundation as it continues to step up the global ambition for The Duke and Duchess’ philanthropic work.

 

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