Duke and Duchess of Cambridge appoint former Team GB triathlete Lee Thompson as PR chief

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge appoint former Team GB triathlete Lee Thompson as PR chief


The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have appointed former Team GB triathlete Lee Thompson as their ‘super-switched-on’ PR chief, who ‘really gets the international stuff’ following their ‘tone deaf’ Caribbean tour.

Lee, 34, a Leeds University graduate, is currently the vice-president of global communications and strategic partnerships at the American media company NBC Universal.

He will soon start at Kensington Palace as Kate, 40, and 39-year-old Prince William‘s new communications secretary.

Lee – who has been described by those who know him as ‘an inspired hire’ and ‘a brilliant, super-switched-on guy who really gets the international stuff’, reported The Sunday Times – previously helped boost CNBC’s YouTube audience by 600 per cent.

He is joining the Cambridges’ team ahead of Prince William and Kate’s US tour this autumn – after the royal couple’s tour of the Caribbean was described as ‘tone deaf’.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge appoint former Team GB triathlete Lee Thompson as PR chief

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have appointed former Team GB triathlete Lee Thompson (pictured) as their ‘super-switched-on’ PR chief, who ‘really gets the international stuff’ following their ‘tone deaf’ Caribbean tour 

Lee, 34, a Leeds University graduate, is currently the vice-president of global communications and strategic partnerships at the American media company NBC Universal

Lee, 34, a Leeds University graduate, is currently the vice-president of global communications and strategic partnerships at the American media company NBC Universal 

He is joining the Cambridges' team ahead of Prince William and Kate's US tour this autumn - after the royal couple's tour of the Caribbean was described as ‘tone deaf’ (pictured in Kingston on March 24)

He is joining the Cambridges’ team ahead of Prince William and Kate’s US tour this autumn – after the royal couple’s tour of the Caribbean was described as ‘tone deaf’ (pictured in Kingston on March 24) 

Before working at the London office of the US network, Lee worked at the Association of Chief Police Officers and top PR firm Freuds.

Described by former employees as ‘a positive, energetic and inspiring leader,’ the British-born fitness enthusiast rose to the rank of Vice President of International Communications, Marketing & Strategic Partnerships at CNBC after joining the company in 2015.

The PR executive began his career as a press assistant in 2007, and was parliamentary assistant to Labour MP Ann Keen for some months in 2008. 

In parallel to his flourishing career, the fitness enthusiast began taking part in triathlon competitively in 2015. 

While he was never a high profile athlete, Lee managed to finish third at the 2018 Fyn ITU Duathlon World Championships. 

The last competition he took part in was the European Athletics Indoor Championships in Poland last year. 

Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge wave goodbye as they boarded the royal aircraft to take them back to the UK after their week-long tour of the Caribbean

Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge wave goodbye as they boarded the royal aircraft to take them back to the UK after their week-long tour of the Caribbean 

Politicians hijacked their presence ahead of Her Majesty's Platinum Jubilee to further their own campaigns to remove the Queen as head of state amid moments branded 'tone deaf' and smacking of 'colonialism'

Politicians hijacked their presence ahead of Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee to further their own campaigns to remove the Queen as head of state amid moments branded ‘tone deaf’ and smacking of ‘colonialism’ 

But now, the exec is expected to go the distance for the Cambridges. 

His appointment comes after Victoria O’Byrne, the Cambridge’s former communications secretary, left Kensington Palace after a family member was taken ill. 

Lee is the latest person to join the Cambridges’ team since their tour of the Caribbean earlier this spring. 

The couple vowed to rip up the rule book and pursue ‘The Cambridge Way’ after their difficult visit to Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas. 

When they returned from the tour, it was said the couple hardened their view that the monarchy must be ‘agile’ to survive and thrive after their week-long tour was hit with protests.

Prince William (right) held crisis talks with senior aides on his week-long tour around the Caribbean, telling advisers he had to add his own voice and confront issues of slavery reparations and anti monarchist sentiment

Prince William (right) held crisis talks with senior aides on his week-long tour around the Caribbean, telling advisers he had to add his own voice and confront issues of slavery reparations and anti monarchist sentiment

The royal couple attend the inaugural Commissioning Parade for service personnel from across the Caribbean who have recently completed the Caribbean Military Academy's Officer Training Programme, at the Jamaica Defence Force on day six of the Platinum Jubilee Royal Tour of the Caribbean on March 24, 2022 in Kingston, Jamaica

The royal couple attend the inaugural Commissioning Parade for service personnel from across the Caribbean who have recently completed the Caribbean Military Academy’s Officer Training Programme, at the Jamaica Defence Force on day six of the Platinum Jubilee Royal Tour of the Caribbean on March 24, 2022 in Kingston, Jamaica 

They were also understood to be ready to abandon the Queen and Prince Charles’s ‘never complain, never explain’ mantra in future.

Politicians hijacked their presence ahead of Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee to further their own campaigns to remove the Queen as head of state amid moments branded ‘tone deaf’ and smacking of ‘colonialism’.

Prince William held crisis talks with senior aides on his week-long tour around the Caribbean, telling advisers he had to add his own voice and confront issues of slavery reparations and anti monarchist sentiment.

Hours before their flight, he released a statement addressing republican sentiment in the three Caribbean countries, acknowledging it had ‘brought into even sharper focus questions about the past and the future’.

Meanwhile insiders told The Sun at the time that the couple were looking to ‘modernise how they work’, adding: ‘It’s a breath of fresh air. They were bruised by attacks that their Caribbean trip harked back to the colonial age.

Thompson is the latest hire by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and will help them navigate royal life following the Queen's Jubilee (pictured)

Thompson is the latest hire by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and will help them navigate royal life following the Queen’s Jubilee (pictured)

‘In future they will rip up the rule-book and do things “The Cambridge Way”. They’re trying to work out what that will look like. It is not a criticism of how it was done in the past. But times are changing.’

Critics highlighted photographs of the couple greeting the public through a wire fence in Kingston, which they said, struck a note of white privilege. They also cited footage of the couple riding in the Queen’s open-topped Land Rover that she used in Jamaica in the 1960s and 1990s.

One source made the point that William had privately expressed concern about how the Land Rover moment would be received several weeks before the tour. But he went along with it so as not to offend the Jamaica Defence Force, which owns the vehicle and is proud of its history.

Upon their return from their Caribbean tour, the couple announced they had appointed former Bafta boss Amanda Berry as the new chief executive for their charitable Royal Foundation. 

Berry replaced Jason Knauf who stepped down at the end of 2021.  Mr Knauf was said to have reluctantly quit after his husband took up a diplomatic position overseas.



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Author: Shirley