Blow for William and Kate as most senior courtier announces departure
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are to lose their most trusted aide after Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, their principal private secretary, told them he will be stepping down from his full-time role, the Telegraph has learnt.
The former SAS Major, who has been a constant presence at the Duke’s side for the past eight years, will stay at St James’s Palace to help them handle the intense international attention which will come with the birth of their baby in July, but intends to leave in September.
The 52-year-old has become such a close personal friend of the Duke and Duchess that his son, William, now aged 12, was one of two pageboys at their wedding in 2011.
As principal private secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, Mr Lowther-Pinkerton is the most senior of the 12 full-time staff in their office at St James’s Palace, and has helped plan everything from the royal wedding to their overseas tours.
He was also one of three royal aides whose mobile phones were hacked by the News of the World in 2005, triggering the hacking scandal which is yet to run its course.
He has told the two Princes and the Duchess that he wants to take up consultancy roles in the private sector, but will not leave the Royal Household altogether, as he intends to spend one day a week at St James’s Palace to act as a sounding board for the much younger members of staff who will take his place.
His departure will mean that the oldest full-time member of staff in the Duke and Duchess and Prince Harry’s office will be Ed Perkins, their press secretary, who is 37.
Mr Lowther-Pinkerton’s role will be divided between three individual private secretaries: Miguel Head, 35, for the Duke, Rebecca Deacon, 30, for the Duchess, and Edward Lane Fox, 36, for Prince Harry.
A royal source said Mr Lowther-Pinkerton’s departure had been “on the cards for months” because he had made it clear to the Duke, Duchess and Prince Harry that his eventual aim was to finish his career in the private sector.
“It certainly didn’t come as any shock to them when he said he would be leaving,” said the source. “It’s a big shift for the Household and is the last part of the restructuring of staff that has been going on, but Jamie will still be around to help out one day a week.”
There are no plans to replace Mr Lowther-Pinkerton, who was only promoted to his current role last year, having served as their private secretary since May 2005.
Eton-educated Mr Lowther-Pinkerton, who served as equerry to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother from 1984-86, is a co-founder of Objective Travel Safety, which provides hostile environment training for travellers and journalists. He trained the actor Ewan McGregor for his Long Way Round travelogue.
He is also a director of the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, and of Prince Harry’s charity Sentebale.
He was made a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order in the 2013 New Year Honours and lives in Suffolk with his wife and four children.