Who’s who in Kate and Meghan’s in­ner cir­cles

With their pub­lic pro­files now ri­valling those of Princes Wil­liam and Harry, Camilla Tominey asks who the Duchesses turn to for ideas and in­spi­ra­tion

The Daily Telegraph - - News Review & Features -

They are two of the most watched and po­ten­tially pow­er­ful women in Bri­tain, with a global clout that ex­tends well be­yond their royal re­mit.

Far from merely be­ing “plus ones”, Kate and Meghan are fast eclips­ing their princely hus­bands as ma­jor in­flu­encers on the world stage, tak­ing on “First Lady” sta­tus, with their own of­fices and staff to help shape their pub­lic pro­files. Yet, while the Princes have grown up with their own royal “court”, the Duchesses have had to cre­ate their own cir­cles of trust in a bid to shape their ideas and com­mu­ni­cate their own unique mes­sages.

So, who ex­actly is in each sphere of in­flu­ence and what do the peo­ple be­hind the women tell us about those who will one day rule the House of Wind­sor?

In­side the Kate-oc­racy Ca­role and the Mid­dle­tons

Aside from Prince Wil­liam, the Duchess of Cam­bridge’s clos­est ad­viser is un­doubt­edly her mother Ca­role Mid­dle­ton, with whom she is de­scribed as be­ing “in­cred­i­bly close” and in “al­most daily con­tact”. As well as ask­ing Ca­role for ad­vice about the chil­dren, and hir­ings and fir­ings at Kens­ing­ton Palace, Kate also re­lies on the for­mer air host­ess turned mul­ti­mil­lion­aire Party Pieces en­tre­pre­neur for guid­ance on her char­i­ta­ble work and for moral sup­port be­fore she has to give speeches, which she finds nerver­ack­ing.

More in­tro­verted than her younger and more in­de­pen­dent sis­ter Pippa, Kate loves noth­ing bet­ter than re­treat­ing to the coun­try­side com­fort of her par­ents’ man­sion in Buck­le­bury, Berk­shire, where she also seeks the coun­sel of her mild-man­nered fa­ther Michael, to whom she is most sim­i­lar in tem­per­a­ment. “Mike is quite pas­sive, so a per­fect foil to Ca­role, who tends to be quite frank,” said some­one who has ob­served the cou­ple at close quar­ters. “The Mid­dle­ton fam­ily as a whole is a very tight unit. You’ll of­ten find it’s not only Catherine back in Buck­le­bury for the week­end but also Pippa and their brother

James. Catherine re­ally hasn’t changed much since she mar­ried Wil­liam, and that’s largely down to her fam­ily be­ing so grounded.” IN­FLU­ENCE FAC­TOR 5/5

Sophie Carter

The daugh­ter of Nor­folk con­struc­tion ty­coon Robert Carter, the Mid­dle­ton fam­ily has known Durham Univer­sity grad­u­ate Sophie since she went to Marl­bor­ough Col­lege with Kate, who was then nick­named “Miss Mid­dle­bum” and “Princess in Wait­ing”. The two women are so tight that Sophie is god­mother to Princess Char­lotte, who along with Prince Ge­orge acted as brides­maid and page­boy at her wed­ding to Robert Snuggs in Septem­ber. Sophie used to date one of Wil­liam’s clos­est friends, Thomas van Strauben­zee, so has long been a mem­ber of the Cam­bridge’s fiercely loyal and dis­creet “cir­cle of trust”. Her brother Robert also mar­ried one of Kate’s school friends, Hannah Gilling­ham. De­scribed as “a hoot”, Sophie is the friend to whom Kate turns when she needs to dis­cuss pri­vate and sen­si­tive mat­ters in to­tal con­fi­dence. In a world where few can be trusted, ul­tra dis­creet Sophie is Kate’s go-to girl in times of cri­sis, keep­ing her close to her roots, and of­fer­ing ad­vice with­out any of the syco­phan­tic pan­der­ing of royal aides. IN­FLU­ENCE FAC­TOR 3/5

Emilia d’er­langer

Part of the so-called “Glosse Posse” that so­cialised with a teenage Wil­liam, Marl­bor­ough Col­lege class­mate Emilia is an­other of Kate’s best friends, hav­ing known the Duchess since they were 13, be­fore they both went to study at St An­drews Univer­sity to­gether.

One of Prince Ge­orge’s seven

god­par­ents, Emilia is mar­ried to bank­ing heir David Jar­dine-paterson – one of Wil­liam’s Eton con­tem­po­raries

– who is the brother of JJ Jar­dinepa­ter­son, an ex-boyfriend of Pippa Mid­dle­ton. When Kate and Wil­liam split up briefly in 2007, it was Emilia who jet­ted Kate off to Ibiza to cheer her up. As one half of the up­mar­ket d’er­langer and Sloan in­te­rior de­sign com­pany, Emilia acts as Kate’s style guru, help­ing her to dec­o­rate both her homes at Kens­ing­ton Palace and An­mer Hall, in Nor­folk. Known as Kate’s “se­cret stylist” in royal cir­cles, “god­mother of good taste” Emilia has also ad­vised the Duchess on her royal wardrobe, ap­par­ently help­ing to choose the cream Alexan­der Mcqueen suit she wore to Ge­orge’s chris­ten­ing, as well as en­cour­ag­ing her to start ex­per­i­ment­ing with colour. IN­FLU­ENCE FAC­TOR 4/5

Catherine Quinn

Not so much a “Girl Fri­day” as an ex­pe­ri­enced “gate­keeper”, Catherine has been in her role as pri­vate sec­re­tary for over a year now, af­ter tak­ing over from her much-loved pre­de­ces­sor, Re­becca Pri­est­ley. Hav­ing worked as the chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer and as­so­ciate dean for ad­min­is­tra­tion at the Univer­sity of Ox­ford’s Saïd Busi­ness School, Catherine acts as Kate’s “busi­ness brain”, boast­ing an MBA as well as de­grees from US and UK univer­si­ties. Help­ing to shape Kate’s role as a fu­ture Queen, heavy­weight Quinn is work­ing on in­creas­ing the Duchess’s stature, as she takes on more solo en­gage­ments fol­low­ing highly suc­cess­ful trips to The Hague and Rot­ter­dam last year. The ap­point­ment of the Lan­cashire-born di­vorcee, who has a grown-up son, is a sign of the “pro­fes­sion­al­i­sa­tion” of Kate’s team. IN­FLU­ENCE FAC­TOR 4/5

Meghan’s power crew Jes­sica Mul­roney

Only a fool would un­der­es­ti­mate the in­flu­ence of this Canada-based fash­ion stylist, who was in­tro­duced to Meghan by the wife of Canada’s prime minister, Sophie Gré­goiretrudeau, in 2010. Mul­roney has been best friends with the for­mer

Suits ac­tress ever since. All three of Mul­roney’s chil­dren, Brian, John and Ivy, were in the bridal party for the royal wed­ding in May, with the twin boys re­spon­si­ble for hold­ing Meghan’s veil.

Jes­sica, who is mar­ried to Cana­dian tele­vi­sion host Ben Mul­roney, is such an in­flu­ence that she popped up dur­ing the Sus­sexes’ re­cent tour of Aus­tralia for moral sup­port. IN­FLU­ENCE FAC­TOR 5/5

Misha Nonoo

Friends since they were first in­tro­duced in Mi­ami, fash­ion de­signer Misha once said of Meghan: “I love her to death. She is the coolest girl in the world.” Nonoo has helped to shape Meghan’s edgy look, pro­vid­ing her with the now iconic “hus­band shirt” she wore to her first of­fi­cial en­gage­ment with Harry at last year’s In­vic­tus Games in Canada. Friends with Princesses Beatrice and Eu­ge­nie, Lon­don-born but New York-based Nonoo was mar­ried to Alexan­der Gilkes, co-founder of art auc­tion house Pad­dle8, and is a close friend of Wil­liam and Harry. Once ru­moured to have in­tro­duced Harry and Meghan, she is the one most likely to smooth out any bumps in the young royal cir­cle. IN­FLU­ENCE FAC­TOR 3/5

Markus An­der­son

That said, so is Markus An­der­son, global mem­ber­ship di­rec­tor at Soho House, the trendy chain of pri­vate mem­bers clubs, who was named one of Toronto Life’s 50 Most In­flu­en­tial in 2014. Known as Meghan’s “lit­tle black book”, Markus is the ul­ti­mate high-so­ci­ety con­vener and has been in­stru­men­tal in the for­mer Amer­i­can ac­tress’s scal­ing of aris­to­cratic heights. Known to as­so­ciate with the

likes of de­sign­ers such as Christo­pher Kane, and the late Alexan­der Mcqueen, model Alexa Chung and ac­tor Jamie Dor­nan, last sum­mer he ac­com­pa­nied Meghan and Nonoo to Madrid where, as in most ma­jor cities, he has all the right con­nec­tions. IN­FLU­ENCE FAC­TOR 3/5

Ser­ena Wil­liams

Friends since they first met at the 2010 Su­per­bowl in Mi­ami, ten­nis cham­pion Ser­ena knows how to han­dle pres­sure, and has been on hand to ad­vise the Duchess on life in the spot­light. Only this week, she de­scribed how the pair had spo­ken on the phone about Meghan’s preg­nancy. Wil­liams, who gave birth to her own daugh­ter Alexis last year, re­vealed how she had told her “sweet” friend to “stop be­ing so nice”, say­ing: “I’m like, ‘Meghan, stop be­ing so nice … you’re the preg­nant one, aren’t you sup­posed to have hor­mones, why are you so sweet?’ But that’s al­ways been her.” Hav­ing ex­pe­ri­enced her fair share of neg­a­tive head­lines, straight-talk­ing Ser­ena has been ad­vis­ing Meghan on han­dling the me­dia while pro­ject­ing a pro-fem­i­nist agenda. She is also likely to in­flu­ence her par­ent­ing style, ad­vis­ing her not to force things. “It will come,” she said this week. Ear­lier this week it was

re­ported that Meghan might even ditch the Lindo Wing in favour of a “more nat­u­ral” home birth with her mother Do­ria act­ing as “doula”. IN­FLU­ENCE FAC­TOR 4/5

Michelle Obama

With her hus­band’s bro­mance with Harry in full flour­ish since they first met in Wash­ing­ton in 2013, it was no sur­prise that Michelle Obama agreed to meet Meghan back­stage af­ter she gave a speech in Lon­don on Mon­day night. The pair have a mu­tual friend in Oprah Win­frey and Meghan was keen to dis­cuss their shared causes, in­clud­ing women’s ed­u­ca­tion.

In try­ing to carve out a first lady-like role there could be no bet­ter ad­viser to Meghan than Michelle, who is well placed to give guid­ance on how to bal­ance the pres­sures of pub­lic and pri­vate life – es­pe­cially when com­ing from a dif­fer­ent back­ground to the “es­tab­lish­ment”. In­deed, Mrs Obama has al­ready is­sued her first piece of moth­erly ad­vice to the royal new­bie – Do­ria is based in Los An­ge­les – urg­ing her to “take some time and don’t be in a hurry to do any­thing”. Re­call­ing how she per­son­ally had to spend “the first few months” af­ter mov­ing into the White House ad­just­ing to her new life, she ad­vised Meghan to con­cen­trate on fam­ily first be­fore em­bark­ing on any­thing too “am­bi­tious”. IN­FLU­ENCE FAC­TOR 5/5

Mum’s the word: the Duchess of Sus­sex with Do­ria, who has an in­flu­en­tial role

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