Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, abruptly fired one of her most loyal aides, the latest casualty of a deepening split in the “fab four” royal households after her brother-in-law’s marriage to Meghan, Duchess of Sussex last year.
According to the New York Post, royal sources told London’s The Sun newspaper that Sophie Agnew was no longer needed after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex split from the Royal Foundation created by the princess in 2009.
The charity, which focuses on helping children, was to have included the “fab four” young royals on its governing board.
But last week, Meghan and Harry’s personal charitable projects were scrubbed from the Royal Foundation’s website, and only Kate and William were listed as the charity’s principals.
The break-up had officially been announced in May when the couples said in a press statement they were choosing “divergent paths” in their charitable work.
The couples also announced that they were splitting households, with Harry and Meghan moving out of Kensington Palace onto the royal estate at Windsor with the blessing of the Queen.
Despite the split, Ms Agnew, who had accompanied the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on royal visits and joined the couple on their 2014 tour of Australia and New Zealand, was said to be shocked by the dismissal.
Ms Agnew has become the second prominent female aide to have left as soon as she married. Kate’s former private secretary, Rebecca Deacon, quit in 2017.
The Duchess of Cambridge’s youngest sibling, 32, says his sister, Kate, played a key role in his recovery during a low period in his life which saw him experience suicidal thoughts.
James — who recently got engaged to his 29-year-old French financier girlfriend Alizee Thevenet — has opened up about the part family played in getting his mental health back on track.
The entrepreneur revealed to The Daily Telegraph that Kate, 38, as well as mum Carole, dad Michael and other older sister Pippa, joined him at some of his therapy sessions.
“All of them. Not necessarily at the same time, but either individually and [sometimes] together,” he explained.
Speaking about the major depressive episode that brought him to that point, he said: “I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t read a book, I couldn’t watch a film, I couldn’t eat. If I ate something it just sat there.
“I was just like, ‘What am I meant to do?’ I was better off in my own company, so I didn’t have the additional worry of someone thinking, ‘What’s wrong with him?’ I removed myself from everything.”
Prince William’s brother-in-law — who was just 13 when his sister started dating the royal — said he initially struggled to tell his family what he was going through.
However, realising something was wrong, they staged an intervention through his friends who encouraged him to seek help.
It was then, according to James, that he checked himself into a private psychiatric hospital where he began almost a year of cognitive behavioural therapy.
James — who also suffers from dyslexia and attention deficit disorder — now looks after his mental health through pets, exercise, and by listening to audiobooks.
He proposed to fiancee Alizee just over a year after they started dating.