King appoints Rishi Sunak’s former aide as first female equerry

Akshata Murty hosts another instalment of Lessons at 10. This week saw 40 children aged between 4 and 15 years old from military families taking part in a fun activity session led by Sharky and George. Pictured - Kat Anderson
Capt Kat Anderson (centre) at a fun activity session at 10 Downing Street last year for children from military families. It was hosted by Rishi Sunak's wife Akshata Murty (nearest camera) - RORY ARNOLD/NO 10 DOWNING STREET/10 DOWNING STREET
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The King has appointed a former aide to Rishi Sunak as the first female equerry to a sovereign.

Captain Kat Anderson, 33, an officer with the Royal Artillery, will accompany Charles, 75, on official duties and overseas tours.

She joined his team last month on secondment from 10 Downing Street and the Cabinet Office, where she worked as the Prime Minister’s aide-de-camp and assistant private secretary to National Security Advisers Sir Stephen Lovegrove and Sir Tim Barrow.

As an assistant equerry, she will become the “eyes and ears” of the King, who interviewed her for the position personally, according to reports. Equerries are appointed from the Armed Forces by senior working members of the Royal family and usually hold the position for around three years.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky (2L) is greeted by Lieutenant Colonel Johnny Thompson, equerry to King Charles III, as he arrives for an audience with the King at Buckingham Palace, London on February 8, 2023
King's equerry Lieutenant Colonel Johnny Thompson, now promoted to "senior equerry", greets Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky (second from left), as he arrives for an audience with the King at Buckingham Palace a year ago on February 8, 2023 - KIRSTY O@CONNOR/POOL/AFP VIA GETTY/AFP VIA GETTY

Capt Anderson will work alongside the King’s new equerry, Lieutenant Commander Will Thornton, 37, a Royal Navy helicopter pilot.

Lt Cdr Thornton replaces Lt Col Johnny Thompson, who was promoted to the role of “senior equerry” last autumn.

The 40-year-old, who often turned heads in his kilt and has achieved something of a cult social media following,  will now help to organise the monarch’s private affairs behind the scenes.

The father-of-one, who serves with the 5th Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland, was photographed this weekend with his girlfriend Olivia Lewis, 33, a PR executive, almost two years after separating from his wife.

The decision to extend Lt Col Thompson’s secondment from the Army was considered an indication of how highly valued he had become within the Royal household.

Break from tradition

The appointment of Lt Cdr Thornton as his successor marks a break from tradition, as each service usually takes its turn to provide an officer.

Lt Col Thompson’s predecessor was Major Tom White, a Royal Marines officer and Afghanistan veteran, meaning that if the same pattern had been followed, the new appointment would have been made from the RAF.

The King’s other assistant equerry is Captain Hugh Scrope, 27, of the Coldstream Guards, who was appointed in 2022.

Charles is no stranger to appointing female equerries. As the Prince of Wales, in 2006 he was served by Squadron Leader Jayne Casebury.

The Duke of York also worked with two female equerries, Squadron Leader Charlotte Fenn of the RAF, a former senior engineer with the Red Arrows, and Lieutenant Caroline Clark of the Royal Navy, before stepping down from public duties.                

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