The Queen's PR man crowned Burger King

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The Independent Online
Charles Anson, The Queen's press secretary, is leaving Buckingham Palace after six-and-a-half years to represent the virtues of Burger King, writes John Willcock.

He becomes corporate relations director for Grand Metropolitan in February. The British company owns a host of international consumer brands, including Burger King, Haagen-Dazs and Smirnoff.

The 52-year-old has had to deal with some of the severest crises in the Monarchy's history, but he denies that he is going to Grand Met for a quiet life. "I think I'll be just as busy at Grand Met." Asked whether representing Burger King would be easier or harder than batting for the Palace, he said: "Any job which is interesting is going to be demanding."

The suave former diplomat also denies there will be any culture shock moving from the Palace to Grand Met. "I spent three years as spokesman for Kleinwort Benson before I became The Queen's spokesman," he said.

Prior to that, Mr Anson was a member of the British Diplomatic Service from 1966 to 1987. His latest move will take him to Grand Met's head office in Henrietta Place in London's West End, where he will report to David Tagg, group services director.

He follows previous Royal spokesmen into the private sector. Michel Shea went to Hanson Trust, and now has a range of business interests in Edinburgh, while Ronald Allison went to Thames TV in the 1970s.

Mr Anson will be succeeded at the Palace by his Australian deputy, Geoffrey Crawford. Mr Anson's years as The Queen's spokesman have been busy. They included the reduction in the civil list, the opening of Buckingham Palace to the public and numerous Royal visits overseas.

"My present job has been extremely demanding in many ways, and often very positive ways. I will be sorry to leave."

Comparing the Monarchy and Grand Met, he said: "While the two institutions are completely different, the job with The Queen is a very international one, and Grand Met is a British company with a very international portfolio of brands."

John McGrath, chief executive at Grand Met, said: "Charles Anson will bring... very considerable experience and expertise in international government affairs and communications. We are delighted that someone of his calibre has elected to join us."

Meanwhile a leading City figure, Lord Camoys, is to succeed the Earl of Airlie as Lord Chamberlain and Head of the Royal Household. Lord Camoys, 56, played a leading part in creating BZW, the investment bank subsidiary of Barclays Bank. He is still a non-executive deputy chairman of BZW and deputy chairman of Sotheby's.

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