The Duke and Duchess of Sussex‘s renowned personal secretary is set to leave her role after the birth of their child in spring – just weeks after another aide suddenly resigned.
Samantha Cohen, 50, is a key member of Meghan’s Kensington Palace staff and her departure will fuel rumours that the Duchess is difficult to work for.
Ms Cohen is nicknamed ‘Samantha the Panther’ and was also one of the Queen’s most trusted aides having served as a communications secretary and spent 17 years working for the royals.
She joined Meghan and Harry ‘temporarily’ when the post was left vacant by Edward Lane Fox, who left this summer following five years of service. The Duke and Duchess were said to have asked for her to stay on.
The Duchess is reported to have been especially keen to hire her permanently after she resigned from Buckingham Palace- but Ms Cohen reportedly refused and will leave in 2019.
Samantha Cohen (pictured at the back) joined the Duchess of Sussex on her first solo engagement with the Queen
Trusted: Cohen, 49, has been a trusted aide of the royals for 17 years, described as ‘deeply committed to serving the monarchy’ and was given the task of preparing Meghan for her life as a royal earlier this year. Pictured, Australian-born Cohen at the royal wedding in May
Meghan’s personal assistant Melissa Touabti also quit, just six months after the Royal wedding at Windsor Castle in May.
Reported in the Sunday Times, a source close to Meghan said: ‘Sam will be a huge loss.
‘Going forward, Meghan might need someone cut from a slightly different cloth to traditional courtiers, who is not a career civil servant or royal insider’.
The source also revealed the Duchess’ early morning routine and warned that new aides would have to be adaptable and patient.
The Duchess has previously said that she wakes up at 4.30am to do yoga, which ‘heals the mind’.
Ms Cohen, described as ‘deeply committed’ to the Queen, is held in high regard among the royal family.
She was the first woman to ever hold the press secretary’s job and was made a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order by the Queen in 2016.
The mother-of-three known as ‘The Panther’ for her feisty attitude began working in the Royal household after she applied to be a media minder at the palace while she was on a trip to London almost 20 years ago.
From Australia, she has been described as well-liked and ‘unstuffy’ and was seen as the perfect aide for Meghan to settle in the royal family.
Sources claim that she also advised Meghan on her make-up and helped her understand the intricacies of the royal family.
She was spotted with the Duchess during Meghan’s first solo engagement with the Queen and also attended the royal wedding.
Meghan Markle’s aide Melissa Touabti (right) quit just six months after the Royal wedding at Windsor Castle in May. She had also worked for Robbie Williams and his wife Ayda (pictured)
Ms Touabti had helped to organise the wedding earlier this year, above. But a short time after the big day she left her role at Kensington Palace
Meanwhile, Ms Touabti left her job at Kensington Palace just six months after Meghan married into the Royal Family.
Royal insiders were stunned at the abrupt and sudden departure.
After Meghan’s PA quit, a Palace source was authorised to pay tribute to her and the role she played in helping organise Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding.
‘Melissa is a hugely talented person,’ the source said. ‘She played a pivotal role in the success of the Royal Wedding and will be missed by everyone in the Royal Household.’
From her humble Brisbane home to Buckingham Palace: How a small newspaper job advert helped a mother-of-three become the Queen’s trusted Australian aide to teach Meghan Markle how to be a Duchess
By Ben Hill
A no-nonsense Australian nicknamed ‘Samantha the Panther’ has been entrusted by the Queen to prepare Meghan Markle for life as a royal.
Samantha Cohen, 49, is Queen Elizabeth’s assistant private secretary, and has worked with the royal family for 17 years.
Originally from Brisbane and married to a dentist, the mother-of-three is known as ‘The Panther’ for her feisty attitude.
After studying at the University of Queensland, Ms Cohen worked in civil service and public relations and joined Buckingham Palace in 2001.
She was made a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order by the Queen in 2016
Ms Cohen will move from Buckingham Palace to Kensington Palace, where she will spend six months with the new Duchess of Sussex
Ms Cohen is described as being ‘deeply committed to serving the monarchy’
Royal jobs among the most clicked on for LinkedIn
It may be reported as one of the most difficult royal duties, but thousands have clicked on adverts to work for the Duke and Duchess.
A busy royal year which saw Harry and Meghan wed, the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s third child and Princess Eugenie marry her long-term partner helped generate huge interest in the postings.
Professional networking site LinkedIn has compiled a list of the most-viewed jobs on its website during 2018.
Among the most-viewed jobs of the past 12 months are three which involve working closely with the monarchy, from communications assistant in the number two spot, private secretary to Anne in eighth place and a job as a communications officer featuring at 24.
Royal fans curious about working for the Princess Royal viewed the advert for her new private secretary 37,016 times.
The second-placed communications assistant role attracted 67,211 views and the job advert, now closed, stated a starting salary of £22,000 and was seeking someone with ‘energy, enthusiasm and potential’.
It added: ‘Whether covering a state visit, award ceremony or royal engagement, you’ll make sure our communications spark interest and reach a range of audiences.’
She answered a newspaper job advertisement for a media minder at the palace while she was on a trip to London almost 20 years ago.
She became deputy press secretary in 2003, before getting the top job in 2007, becoming the first woman to be appointed in the role.
‘They really like Australians here,’ she told The Age in 2004.
‘We bring something to the job they quite like – enthusiasm, a can-do attitude.’
Ms Cohen had worked for Liberal ministers in both the Queensland and Federal governments, the Daily Telegraph reported.
She was made a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order by the Queen in 2016.
Ms Cohen will move from Buckingham Palace to Kensington Palace, where she will spend six months with the new Duchess of Sussex.
‘It will be six months of listening. She is seeking out advice from a range of people. She is going to proceed with humility. It is not going to be quiet, though. It is going to be a very busy office. She has worked every day of her life. She is used to a demanding schedule,’ a source told The Times.
She was at the royal wedding and is believed to have played a key role in preparing Meghan for a garden party at Buckingham Palace – the Duchess’ first appearance as Her Royal Highness.
The garden party saw more than 6,000 people, all from the charities and military associations most closely linked with the Prince, descend on the grounds of Buckingham Palace for music, speeches – and, of course, a customary cup of tea and cucumber sandwich.
Ms Cohen is described as being ‘deeply committed to serving the monarchy’.