Waitrose is to take PR advice from Prince Charles' former private secretary.

Elizabeth Buchanan has been appointed "special adviser" to Waitrose, where she will work with the ­retailer's communications office to develop its CSR strategy.

Buchanan started her career in politics, working at the Conservative Research Department, and worked as special adviser to two Cabinet ministers, Paul Channon and Cecil Parkinson, in the late 1980s.

She moved into PR as the press secretary for Margaret Thatcher from 1992 until 1998 before joining the Royal Household, becoming private secretary in 2005. Responsible for running the Prince's private office and overseeing his programme, Buchanan led his work in agriculture, the countryside, the environment, and his relations with the business community. She now runs her family's organic livestock farm.

Meanwhile Luke Mayhew, former MD of Waitrose parent the John Lewis Partnership, is to succeed Sir Geoff Mulcahy as chairman of the BRC. Mayhew is chairman of Pets at Home.

He was until 2007 chairman of Bank Fashion, prior to which he was MD of John Lewis for five years.