I remember William Hague from back in the day, when he was the British Foreign Secretary, a member of David Cameron’s government, and he was very friendly with Angelina Jolie. Jolie and Hague did good work together, and they organized the London summit on sexual violence in war and conflict. In 2015, Hague even stepped down from his parliamentary seat because he wanted to do more work in that area, preventing rape and violence against women in conflict. He was eventually given a title – Lord Hague of Richmond – and he was then a member of the House of Lords. Except he’s giving up that position now, because he wants to spend more time working on The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Royal Foundation. Interesting. This whole Eden Confidential column is fascinating:
Let no one be in doubt over the scale of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s charitable ambitions. I can reveal that one of Westminster’s most experienced figures has been inspired to quit politics to concentrate on his work for their Royal Foundation.
William Hague, who was Foreign Secretary and de facto deputy prime minister for four years, as well as being an ex-leader of the Conservative Party, has vacated his seat in Parliament.
‘I’m taking a leave of absence from the House of Lords,’ he tells me, confirming that he will be ‘working on charitable things including with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’.
Prince William and Catherine appointed Lord Hague of Richmond as chair of their foundation’s board of trustees a year ago. But at the time, it was assumed by many that he would simply be a heavyweight name to add to their charity. In fact, he’s determined to play an active role in helping our future king and queen achieve their ambitions for the foundation, which enjoyed a surge in income last year, to a staggering £11.78 million.
That’s almost double the £6.68 million raised in 2019, when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were still involved. Some royal watchers had predicted that the foundation would struggle after Prince Harry and Meghan quit in 2019 to create their own charitable organisation. They called their new foundation Sussex Royal but were ordered to drop the name by the Queen after they quit royal duties last year. They have created a new body, Archewell, which has been seen as a rival.
Lord Hague, 60, doesn’t appear to be in a hurry to don his ermine robes again, telling me: ‘I do not feel sorry at all that I’m not involved in politics.’
He formed a warm relationship with Prince William and Kate while he was Foreign Secretary, working with them to combat the illegal wildlife trade. As chair of the foundation, Hague replaced Prince George’s godfather, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, who was William’s right-hand man for 15 years.
Going into full-time work for the royals is something people tend to do at either the start or the end of their careers. They’ll start their careers working for the royals and then use those connections to leave royal work for better pay and better jobs. Either that or people – like Hague – will go into royal work at the tailend of a successful career so that they can be a professional “wise man” and consigliere in a position with a fancy title. That’s what this sounds like: Hague wants to influence the future future king, become a trusted advisor and help beef up William and Kate’s charitable bonafides. Plus, it’s always interesting to see the revolving door between Kensington Palace and the Conservative Party. I don’t think anyone working for the Cambridges has ever come from Labour or left to work with Labour. Fascinating, isn’t it?
Now, as for the money stuff… William and Kate have gotten more donations because of the National Emergencies Trust. The NET was launched in 2019, but William didn’t become patron of NET until 2020. Which is when he and Kate got access to the private NET donor list. They’ve been using the donor list to fundraise for their foundation, promising donors that they would parcel out money to worthy causes. I will keep saying this: something very shady is going on with their foundation’s finances. I’ve also felt like the Duchess of Sussex saw some sh-t at the foundation and she realized how scammy it was/is, and that’s one of the big reasons why she and Harry wanted to set up their own foundation.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.