The Cambridges have appointed ‘Poor’ Jason Knauf as the foundation’s CEO

Royal Ascot, Day 1, UK - 18 Jun 2019

For years now, I’ve made “Poor Jason” jokes in royal stories. That’s in reference to Jason Knauf, the long-time communications guy at Kensington Palace. Khauf started out as just a communications/press secretary type, then he was put in charge of the communications office at KP, and then he was bumped up again as senior advisor to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Knauf is, I believe, the very definition of failing up. And now he’s done it again:

As I was looking through my previous coverage to see when and where I mentioned Jason Knauf, I came across this story from 2016, where Knauf was being partially blamed for a moment of terrible press for the Cambridges. There was a lot of talk back then of Knauf’s inexperience, and the Cambridges were blamed for surrounding themselves with cheap and incompetant staffers because they were pinching pennies about staff salaries. At the time, there was significant backlash to how William and Kate behaved on their tour of India. So, just a reminder: Will and Kate should thank the Sussexes every damn day because the Cambridges have never enjoyed such great press as they do since Meghan has come around.

That story brings up several points: one, William and Kate don’t really want effective, experienced staffers. They want yes-men and inexperienced people they can mold into yes-men. Which makes me wonder if Knauf is really the best person to head up the Cambridges’ newly separated foundation. This would have been a great moment for new blood, a new vision, a new KEEN outlook on what the Cambridges can and should do. Instead, they just appointed the guy they send out to tell the press that they’re super-keen. Congratulations to all of the charities supported by the Cambridges: you’re about to spend the next five years getting repeatedly keen-baited.

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Wimbledon Day Two

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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33 Responses to “The Cambridges have appointed ‘Poor’ Jason Knauf as the foundation’s CEO”

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  1. Seraphina says:

    Talented, smart and experienced staff is are not yes people. They cannot be molded into such. That’s why they are talented and smart. We have the same issue where I work.

  2. Becks1 says:

    oh Poor Jason. failing up is right lol.

    2016 is the year that the press started turning on the Cambridges, and calling them out for their laziness, but once Kate got pregnant with Louis and Meghan entered the scene, all criticism stopped, even though nothing has changed.

  3. Hepburntracy says:

    The Sussexes foundation CEO is the same person that ran Hillary’s failed presidential campaign as well as the Clinton foundation that has been engulfed in several controversies.

    I wouldn’t say all the Cambridge staff are inexperienced. Both their private secretaries have very impressive resumes. At the end of the day it is down to the royals as they are the ultimate boss.

    • Who ARE these people? says:

      Oh please. Clinton won the popular vote, Trump”won” the electoral college by 80,000 votes in 3 swing districts in key states, and the Clinton Foundation was never proved to be corrupt. Unlike the Trump foundation, which was shut down.

      I hope both royal foundations are able to do some good in their respective domains.

      • Tourmaline says:

        THANK YOU. For goodness sakes it is RICH for someone to try to slime the Clinton Foundation at the same time someone is a big Trump fan. Yep, Trump’s dealings are as pure as the driven snow.

      • Humbugged says:

        And she never worked directly for Hilary .

        Latham was always John Podesta’s deputy – she was his right hand when he was Chief Of Staff for Bill ,after going off to work for UKGOV for Tessa Jowell she then came back to work for him when Podesta was on the Obama transition team ,and finally she went back as his chief of staff when he was campaign chairman

    • Nic919 says:

      This is right wing nonsense taken from RD and tumblr. Latham never worked for the foundation and moved to the UK after working with Bill Clinton when he was president.

      And trying to blame her for the election when there was interference from Russia targeting the states needed to get the electoral college numbers , after getting polling data directly from Dump and co, is not in any way her fault.

      I notice a lot of anti Hillary sentiment when critiquing Latham and it really confirms that a lot of the Meghan hatred comes from right wing racists from the US.

  4. Charlie says:

    As someone who has lead not- for-profit organizations, I am rather offended by this appointment.

    • Agenbiter says:

      No need for offense if the function is different from what you performed – see @Myra’s comment below

  5. marjorie says:

    “We are pleased that Jason has been appointed..”

    Who did the appointing?

  6. Mego says:

    To me that is a clear sign that nothing is going to change with the Cambridges. Suspect Meghan was behind the separation from the Cambridges because she wouldn’t put up with the lazy ineptitude rampant at KP. Harry suffered in silence, until Meghan came into his life and then she took action would be my guess

  7. Myra says:

    Jason has one job…fudge the numbers so the Cambridge’s look great compared to the Sussex’s.

  8. Amy Too says:

    When I was little, I had a baby blanket with a silky border. The blanket fell apart with so much use and the silky part (named “part blankie”) was what I carried around. That guy in the photo (poor Jason?) looks like he’s wearing Part Blankie around his shoulders.

  9. notasugarhere says:

    “Congratulations to all of the charities supported by the Cambridges: you’re about to spend the next five years getting repeatedly keen-baited.”

    Made my Tuesday, Kaiser.

  10. Lorelei says:

    And can I just say that for all of the hysteria about Meghan being AMERICAN and possibly hiring an AMERICAN nanny and how scandalized everyone was — Jason Knauf is an American, ffs.

  11. Sofia says:

    What do the Cambridges like about this man? Is it because he’s a yes man?

  12. Lexa says:

    While I can see the Cambridges having ignored advice or surrounded themselves with yes-men in the past, I’m not sure that’s still the case. I noticed a change when they hired their new private secretaries and especially now that Christian Jones has stepped in as their press secretary (aside from the Richard Kay piece on the Rose “feud” which I still don’t 100% believe originated with the Cambridges). Sure, it could be their competitiveness kicking in with the Sussexes, but this current staff has done a better job with using social media and with threading their different initiatives together. I think this autumn and their tour will be really telling on that front.

    What’s interesting/ironic to me is the fact that there have now been multiple mentions from the royal reporters in articles and on Twitter that the Sussexes outright ignore advice from their staff, and that’s been the root of some of the recent PR own goals they’ve suffered (like the baby shower and Wimbledon) and, I’m guessing, why the courtiers seem to be briefing against Meghan.

    • nic919 says:

      When the Cambridges can go on an exclusive holiday on a private island across the ocean with RPOs in tow, there is no way the NYC baby shower is an “own goal” Same with Wimbledon, since RPOs doing their job is never viewed as a bad thing when it is done for the Cambridges. So I am waiting for an example of something that was actually done incorrectly by Harry and Meghan as opposed to providing examples of hypocrisy and double standards in action.

      • Lexa says:

        Okay, let’s see if I can explain my thoughts around this in a coherent way…

        What I gathered from the various press articles/opinion pieces/comments around social media is that the baby shower was an own goal because it read as flaunting wealth and newfound status, and it tied into the (imo unfair) classist narrative of Meghan supposedly being a social climber obsessed with those things + attention hungry as a former actress. When you know the fire is out there and you still feed it in such a highly visible way then that, to me, is a PR own goal. I’m sympathetic to her right to live her life however she wants to, but I can’t believe she didn’t see how she was setting herself up for the press to go in. It sucks, but that’s the trade-off that seems to come with being a royal/public figure. So yeah, Kate supposedly also had a baby shower, but do we know with 100% certainty it actually happened? Did we see photos of it? Did we see the Away suitcase swag, the gift crib, the flowers, the macaron towers, etc? She got criticism because it was deemed “flashy” which is the one thing the royals have to actively try to avoid or hide and when they can’t (with their home renos, etc) they get bad press for it.

        Part of why Will and Kate generally get away with these luxury vacations is that we usually don’t find out about them until after the fact, if at all, so there’s not the general sense of it being “rubbed in people’s faces” the way the baby shower was portrayed, especially coming hours after Harry made a visit to Fit and Fed. The Cambridges stumble into that kind of hypocrisy too and should also be side-eyed for it. (And surely Meghan and Harry ALSO take expensive private vacations and trips with their RPOs that we don’t hear about and only get a brief mention in the press, if at all.)

        Also, several people in the royal sphere pointed out that the RPOs do take direction from the person they’re protecting. With Wimbledon, I would bet good money that Meghan was the one that made the decision that it was a “private” visit, which then kicked in the protocols the RPOs enforce for all the royals during private time. If it was private, the visit shouldn’t have been announced to the press in advance, which gave it the appearance of being official. That whole thing was so strange and so easily avoidable, so yeah, even though I know people here vehemently disagree, and I genuinely do think 99.9% of the negative press she receives is unfair, I consider that a PR own goal, especially coming right on the heels of the so-called (and exhaustingly stupid) “privacy debate” over Archie’s godparents. Feeding pre-existing negative narratives (again, however unfair they may be), even unwittingly = PR own goal.

        Another example off the top of my head is the insistence on keeping Archie’s birth location private even though his birth certificate was always going to be made public a few days later. I’m completely sympathetic to them keeping certain things about Archie private, but even I was like ??? about that decision. It’s not about humoring the press, or even obeying them, but why give them more ammunition during a joyful time when they’re actually predisposed to writing glowing articles?

        The Cambridges have had a TON of PR own goals, and I’m not saying that Meghan isn’t at a disadvantage because of the hostility from the press. This feels like it’s gotten off track from the original point I was trying to make, and I’m going to guess we are not going to agree on anything I’ve written above.

        I should have been clearer in that part of the comment: What I find interesting is the battle of wills that seems to still be happening behind the scenes between Harry and Meghan and the staff/courtiers. The Sussexes are allowed to try to push for changes and to try to do things their own way, but they’re also part of the larger Firm, and if they’re not taking advice from the staff like the various sources imply, I think it’s why the courtiers have leaked and still leak about both of them, especially Meghan. They still think that’s how they’re going to bring Harry and Meghan “in line”—by applying pressure through the press.

      • notasugarhere says:

        She earned millions on her own, several of her closest friends are all self-made wealthy women. Nothing wrong and no own goal in her friends throwing her a baby shower. Go see the mystery billionaire funding Charles’s birthday parties for reference. Go see the Middletons selling royal baby and royal wedding merch made by child labour in Mexico.

        The two Wimbledon “incidents” ended up showing the two people complaining were lying. The woman changed her story multiple times and wasn’t even anywhere near Meghan. The man was right in front of her and yes, the RPO’s not Meghan would have made the call to stop that behavior from the man a foot from her.

        Archie is a private citizen, his birth and birth certificate do not need to be released. That is the point they were making. The press hunted down and tore apart a woman even rumored to be the midwife. They would have staked out the hospital, harassed the staff, harassed the other patients. Keeping it private was not only Harry and Meghan’s right, but also the best for all other people involved. Save the bitching tabloids of course.

        The godparents asked for privacy, so Harry and Meghan gave them that.

        Harry and Meghan having their own Household is standard, like the other working royals have. Harry and Meghan being moved under BP is also standard. They shouldn’t be funded out of the Cornwall funds but rather the Sovereign Grant, nor should they have offices out of Clarence House or KP.

        Press predisposed to write glowing articles? Now I know you’re making all of this up.

    • notasugarhere says:

      A mystery Indian businessman, who doesn’t know Charles personally, paid for his 600,000 birthday party. Meghan’s friends throwing her a baby shower is no scandal.

      Charles installed Catherine Quinn. Right after, no one was surprised when Kate ended up pregnant with #3.

    • BluePhoenix says:

      Yes agree with this.

    • Lexa says:

      Also, I have no idea why I’m trying so hard to explain the other side of this when I agree with everyone’s assessment that the press loves to make mountains out of mole hills with Meghan and Harry and blow up small things into scandals. LOL *face palm*

      Here’s the piece I had just read when I wrote the above: https://www.thedailybeast.com/meghan-markle-struggles-as-a-vicious-uk-press-rounds-on-her?ref=scroll

    • Act Up says:

      @LEXA Can you copy and paste the article here for everyone who is not a member? Tom Sykes articles are most time rational and give you some insight into what’s happening behind the scenes. I always wanted to find out his thoughts on “they don’t make it easy”.Thank you.

  13. TheOriginalMia says:

    I laughed out loud when I heard about Poor Jason’s promotion. Talk about failing up. He’s had no experience in the charity area. As someone posted above. His real job will be to pump up the Cambridges’ numbers through the Royal Foundation. It’s laughable.

    The Sussexes look like geniuses for their hiring for their foundation.

  14. Lainey F. says:

    Personally, I’m getting ready for all the carbs that come with popcorn because if the past is any indicator, this is going to be entertaining.