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Prince Charles ‘hires NHS spin doctor’ for communications team after Harry’s Oprah interview

Prince Charles has appointed an NHS spin doctor to oversee his communications after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex‘s interview with Oprah Winfrey, it is claimed.

Simon Enright, 51, has played a major part in managing messaging during the coronavirus pandemic in his role as communications director for NHS England.

And the former BBC Newsnight deputy editor is now claimed to be joining Clarence House after nearly eight years with the NHS, which he joined in October 2013.

He replaces another BBC man – Julian Payne – who announced his departure in January and had been in charge of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall’s public image for five years, during which time their popularity has steadily grown.

 It comes after Charles’s son Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle unleashed a series of allegations during their interview which first aired on CBS on March 7.

The Duke accused his father of failing to return his calls and claimed Charles was ‘trapped’ inside the monarchy, while also accusing an unnamed royal of racism.

Married father-of-three Mr Enright would therefore face a major task in trying to improve Charles’s image around the world after it was damaged by the claims. 

Prince Charles, pictured yesterday, has been on an official two-day visit to Greece this week

Simon Enright, 51, has played a major part in managing messaging during the coronavirus pandemic in his role as communications director for NHS England

Simon Enright, 51, has played a major part in managing messaging during the coronavirus pandemic in his role as communications director for NHS England 

An unnamed former BBC colleague told the Daily Telegraph that Mr Enright was ‘the dream person to be in this role’ and is ‘a really positive, likeable person’.

They said: ‘He’ll be straight, enthusiastic and open with colleagues. This is a very smart hire at a time when the Prince of Wales could do with some help.’ 

From BBC Breakfast to  NHS comms chief: Simon Enright’s CV

  • 1993: CST Productions for Wire TV, researcher and reporter
  • 1997: BBC News 24, senior broadcast journalist
  • 2000: BBC Breakfast, assistant editor
  • 2004: BBC Election, graphics editor
  • 2006: BBC Newsnight, assistant editor
  • 2007: BBC Monitoring – The Big Questions, executive producer
  • 2008: BBC Local and European Elections, editor
  • 2008: BBC Newsnight, deputy editor
  • 2010: BBC General Election, editor
  • 2010: BBC News, world affairs assignment editor
  • 2013: BBC local TV, editor
  • 2013: NHS England, director of communications

Matt Tee, the NHS’s executive director of integration, tweeted: ‘Many congratulations to my friend Simon Enright on his appointment as Communications Secretary to The Prince of Wales. A great role for a great man.’ 

Mr Enright – who is the son of the late Labour MP and MEP Derek Enright – attended UWC Atlantic College at St Donat’s Castle in South Wales before completing a degree in politics, philosophy and economics at the University of Oxford in 1991.

His media career began as a researcher and reporter for the now-defunct cable TV channel Wire TV in 1993, before he got his first job at the BBC in 1997.

He began working as a broadcast journalist on what was then News 24, then took a role as an assistant editor on BBC Breakfast in 2000.

Mr Enright became election graphics editor in 2004, assistant editor of Newsnight in 2006 and executive producer on The Big Questions in 2007.

He became deputy editor of Newsnight in 2008, edited the General Election in 2010, and then became BBC News assignment editor for world affairs.

His most recent job change in October 2013 saw him move into press relations, becoming director of communications for NHS England and NHS Improvement.

The reported appointment for Charles comes after the Prince was awarded the City of Athens Gold Medal of Honour during an official two-day visit to Greece.

Charles and Camilla’s brief visit which concluded yesterday marked the bicentenary of Greece’s uprising against the Ottoman Empire in 1821.

They joined President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and her partner Pavlos Kotsonis for tea in Athens after watching the Independence Day Military Parade.

Charles's son Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle unleashed a series of allegations during their interview with Oprah Winfrey which first aired on CBS on March 7

 Charles’s son Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle unleashed a series of allegations during their interview with Oprah Winfrey which first aired on CBS on March 7

The heir-to-the-throne told the president that he and his wife were ‘enormously touched’ that they were invited to Athens for the occasion of the bicentenary. 

Charles and Camilla’s visit was at the request of the British Government following an invitation from the country’s prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. 

Also yesterday, Prince Albert II of Monaco criticised Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah as inappropriate, telling BBC World News their decision ‘bothered’ him.

The 63-year-old ruler, who is a distant cousin of the Queen and whose mother was actress Grace Kelly, said he understood the pressures faced by the Sussexes.

Mr Enright is set to join the communications team at Clarence House in London (file picture)

Mr Enright is set to join the communications team at Clarence House in London (file picture)

But he slammed their choice to air their issues to Oprah and tens of millions of TV viewers, saying such a ‘public display of dissatisfaction… wasn’t appropriate’. 

He said: ‘I think that this type of public display of dissatisfaction, to say the least, these type of conversations should be held within the intimate quarters of the family.

‘It doesn’t really have to be laid out in the public sphere like that. So, it did bother me a little bit. I can understand where they are coming from in a certain way, but I think it wasn’t the appropriate forum to be able to have these kind of discussions.’ 

The Royal Family is still trying to pick up the pieces from the Sussexes’ explosive interview with Oprah, in which they made a series of damaging allegations. 

This included Harry and Meghan’s explosive racism claims, in which they claimed a family member asked how dark their son Archie’s skin might be.

In a statement Buckingham Palace insisted it took the couple’s claims – particularly on race – ‘very seriously’, but pointedly added that ‘recollections may vary’.

Prince William also angrily hit back at their claims the Royal Family is racist. Asked about the allegation, he retorted: ‘We’re very much not a racist family.’

MailOnline has contacted Clarence House and NHS England for comment. 


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