Here's How Meghan Markle Will (Probably) Handle All of This Royal Aide Drama
As one of the most watched members of the royal family, Meghan Markle is used to dominating the headlines. However, as of late, the mom-to-be has been at the center of some major royal drama — first because of a supposed feud with sister-in-law Kate Middleton, and now thanks to the recent shakeups with her royal staff.
When news broke that two of her royal aides — assistant Melissa Toubati and interim private secretary Samantha Cohen — had quit, rumors of the Duchess of Sussex being a “difficult” boss began to arise.
The departure of Cohen was particularly shocking given her 17 years of service to the royal family. But, according to The Sunday Times, her appointment to the Duchess’s team had always been a temporary assignment and Cohen, who only intended to stay for six months, “has let it be known that she intends to leave after Meghan’s baby is born next spring.”
With two open spots on her team, the question of how the Markle will proceed following the drama has left us all very curious.
Here’s what we know:
First things first: It’s not uncommon to lose an aide.
Meghan Markle is far from the only royal to have experienced royal aide drama. In her early days as a Duchess, Kate Middleton lost both her head housekeeper and head gardener within the same day over her supposed inability to follow royal protocol, according to the 2016 Amazon documentary William & Kate: The Journey.
Reporter Ashley Pearson noted that the matter was “controversial” as the staff members had previously worked for Queen. She adds that there was “speculation at the time that Carole Middleton had been interfering in the housekeeper’s duties, that Kate Middleton was doing a lot for herself, and that didn’t sit too well with staff.”
Given that both Duchesses have dealt with rapid turnover from the staff, it appears the coming and going of aides is actually fairly common.
Here’s how Meghan’s aide got hired in the first place.
So just how did Cohen earn the role as the Duchess’s trusty guide? According to The Daily Mail, the Brisbane native responded to a simple newspaper ad for a “media minder” position at Buckingham Palace during a visit to London almost 20 years ago. Thanks to her strong background in civil service and public relations, she got the job and officially became a member of the royal staff in 2001, per the Mail.
Nicknamed, “The Panther” for her feisty attitude, Cohen quickly rose through the ranks to become the royal family’s deputy press secretary in 2003 and later received the “top job” as Queen Elizabeth’s private secretary in 2007, “becoming the first woman appointed in the role,” according to the Mail. She was even promoted to Commander of the Royal Victorian Order by the Queen in 2016. A key member of the royal staff, Cohen was entrusted to guide Markle through her six-month long “Duchess training” back in May.
Here's how Meghan's next aide will probably be hired, according to recent precedent.
When it comes to filling the vacant aide spots on her staff, there’s a great chance that the expectant royal will follow in the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s footsteps and post an opening for the position on LinkedIn. (Yes, LinkedIn.) Back in 2017, Vanity Fair reported that Prince William and Middleton turned to the job posting site to recruit candidates to fill the role of their senior communications officer.
The move came as quite a change for the royals, who typically post about new job opportunities on Kensington Palace’s official job website, such as when the royal mom of three needed to hire a new press secretary in March 2017. According to Vanity Fair, however, the royals have become more keen on using LinkedIn during their hiring process because the pool of applicants is larger. Surely, Markle will appreciate having more diverse candidates apply for the role, as a source mentioned to The Sunday Times that, “Going forward, Meghan might need someone cut from a slightly different cloth to traditional courtiers, who is not a career civil servant or a royal insider.”