Laura Kuenssberg forced to apologise after awkward Kate Middleton gaffe


Ms Kuenssberg is reportedly in talks to step down from her role as BBC political editor after six years to become presenter on the Today program. The move would be part of a major reshuffle of senior BBC on-air staff, according to reports. Ms Kuenssberg’s spell as BBC political editor, in which she covered the Brexit referendum and two general elections, coincided with a period of immense scrutiny of the BBC and how it shapes the news agenda. 

The BBC and Ms Kuenssberg, as a senior presenter, have faced accusations of bias from across the political spectrum. 

In 2017, concerns for her safety were so severe amid complicated Brexit negotiations that Ms Kuenssberg was forced to attend the autumn party conferences with a bodyguard.

According to the Guardian, who first reported the potential BBC reshuffle via “individuals with knowledge of the negotiations”, the deal has yet to be signed off and there is no confirmed timeframe.

As BBC political editor, Ms Kuenssberg covered some of the most significant British political events this century, however she did not appear as well versed in royal affairs when discussing the Firm in 2019.

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Speaking on Brexitcast, a podcast which garnered a massive audience throughout the lengthy negotiations on the UK’s departure form the EU, the Duchess of Cambridge came up in conversation. 

Ms Kuenssberg was discussing who would sit next to Kate in the Royal Box at that year’s Wimbledon.

At the time the Tory leadership race was hotting up, with Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt battling out to become head of the party – and by proxy the country.

Ms Kuenssberg noted the pair would both have to act as “quasi Prime Minister” until one of them was chosen to replace Theresa May. 

Ms Kuenssberg was referencing the Duchess as she attends Wimbledon every year as patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.

However the BBC’s Brussels foreign correspondent pointed out that Middleton is Kate’s maiden name and that her title had been Duchess of Cambridge, since her 2011 wedding to Prince William.

Ms Kuenssberg quickly apologised. 

Her move will come amid a major shake-up of senior staff at the BBC.

Jon Sopel is stepping down as North America editor and will be returning to the UK.

It is believed he may be replaced in Washington DC by Sarah Smith.

Ms Smith is currently BBC Scotland editor and also presents the Today programme occasionally.

Mr Sopel’s return to the UK means he is also a candidate to be the new BBC political editor, after being previously connected to the job back in 2015.

A BBC spokesperson said: “The North America editor role is currently being advertised internally and the role will go through the normal recruitment process; it’s a bit soon to start speculating about the outcome of this, let alone other jobs which aren’t actually vacant.”

According to the Guardian, Andrew Marr will not be moving jobs after he was given a fresh contract to continue presenting his Sunday morning political interview show.

Sources have suggested this is due to his work producing BBC programmes expected to be broadcast when the Queen dies.



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