The Duchess of Sussex’s difficulties in holding on to staff have been well documented, but Meghan’s not the only royal suffering palace woes.
I hear the Duchess of Cambridge has made one of her most loyal aides redundant. Sophie Agnew, 32, had worked for Kate for seven years and the lay-off is said to have left her friends and family shocked.
‘Sophie worked so hard for Kate,’ one of her pals tells me. ‘She loved her job and made a lot of sacrifices.’
The Duchess of Cambridge has made one of her most loyal aides Sophie Agnew (right) redundant
The timing of the redundancy is said to have added to the disquiet. ‘Sophie has only just got married and returned from her honeymoon,’ the friend adds.
‘Everyone’s been really shocked because it was so unexpected. It seems like extreme cost-cutting.’
Like Kate, Sophie, 32, is a St Andrews history of art graduate. She was put in charge of the Duchess’s personal assistants.
Sophie, who married insurance company director Stuart Hill, becomes the second prominent female aide to have left as soon as she tied the knot.
The Duchess’s private secretary, Rebecca Deacon, quit in 2017. Often seen standing discreetly behind her royal boss during engagements, Miss Deacon played an important role during the Duke and Duchess’ wedding.
In 2016, she was spotted lugging William’s red-and-blue suit cover bearing his cipher, as well as a large Longchamp pliage bag
Sophie has been regularly seen by Kate’s side and never objected to carrying out menial tasks.
She joined the couple on their 2014 trip to Australia and New Zealand and is often seen accompanying the Royals on their international trips.
In 2016, she was spotted lugging William’s red-and-blue suit cover bearing his cipher, as well as a large Longchamp pliage bag, during their tour of Bhutan.
Palace sources explain that Sophie is a victim of the big break-up between Princes William and Harry.
The brothers and their wives had been expected to form a ‘Fab Four’, but that all changed soon after Meghan married into the Royal Family.
Palace sources explain that Sophie is a victim of the big break-up between Princes William and Harry
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex quit Kensington Palace for a new home at Windsor, and their households have split, as well as their charitable foundations.
‘It is true that Sophie has left after seven years of service,’ a senior source confirms. ‘Her role has been made redundant as a result of the split of the households.
‘She will not be replaced.’
A Kensington Palace spokesman declines to comment. Sophie is similarly discreet.
Model sisters Cara and Poppy Delevingne have been busy showing off their new LA home, which features a stripper pole.
And now their property developer father Charles and mother Pandora have their own party pad.
This week, they moved into a £10 million five-storey home in South Kensington after three years of what neighbours have called ‘hellish’ building works.
It includes a swimming pool, sauna, gym and underground cinema. A friend tells me: ‘They’re delighted to have finally moved in.’
The smart set’s talking about… Net-a-Porter heiress Bella
Isabella Massenet is hoping to make her mark on the fashion industry
Dame Natalie Massenet brought high-end fashion to the masses with the phenomenally successful retail website Net-a-Porter.
Now, her daughter Isabella is hoping to make her own mark on the industry.
I can reveal that the 19-year-old, who’s known as Bella to pals, has been signed up by IMG Models, the agency that represents Kate Moss and the ubiquitous sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid.
Educated at the French Lycee in South Kensington, Bella holidays in the Hamptons with the Delevingne sisters and is now in her second year at the University of California.
The willowy brunette — whose father is Natalie’s first husband, the financier Arnaud Massenet — has just landed her debut campaign, modelling for SKIIM London.
It’s a ‘sustainable luxury’ brand founded by her stepmother, Caroline Sciamma-Massenet, who married Arnaud after his divorce from Natalie.
Bella says: ‘It was so fun getting to work with [her].’
The student enjoys being behind the camera, too: she’s a promising photographer who shot a cover of Rollacoaster fashion magazine last year.
John Humphrys is missing his son Owen, 19
Retiring from Radio 4’s Today programme after 32 years is not the biggest change in John Humphrys’s life.
The BBC rottweiler has revealed that he’s suffering from empty-nest syndrome after his son, Owen, 19, moved out.
‘My life has changed irrevocably because my youngest child has left home to go to university,’ he sighs. ‘You find yourself doing daft things like buying his favourite biscuits and then realising he won’t be there to eat them.
‘And every time the phone rings or a text pings, you pretend you’re not hoping it will be him.’ Old softie!