ROYAL PAINS

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Are Hiring New Palace Aides

Could it be you?


Chris Jackson/Getty Images

If you come across a classified ad reading “Seeking Personal Assistant for Newly Minted Royal,” it might be for Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle. Markle and her husband Prince Harry are on the hunt for replacements for a handful of staffers who recently gave notice: Melissa Touabti, Markle’s personal assistant; Edward Lane Fox, Harry’s longtime “right-hand man” and personal assistant; and Samantha Cohen, the couple’s private secretary. Per Vanity Fair, they are seeking a new private secretary and personal assistant, to start in the new year.

This is all perfectly reasonable! Usually, when someone vacates a position, their employer will try to find a replacement. Someone has to do the job. But the departures themselves have been treated as particularly dramatic—when the news broke last month that three members of the royal couple’s household staff were planning to leave or had recently left, the Daily Mail cited a source referring to the exits as a “stampede.” But really, Fox announced his departure before the wedding, and Cohen’s appointment was only ever temporary—she came over from Queen Elizabeth II’s staff to fill in for Fox until a permanent replacement could be secured. Again per Vanity Fair, there have been rumors of a falling out between Meghan and Melissa; one for three is not exactly a “stampede” of unhappy exits.

Then again, the tabloids have been out for blood. Outlets like the Daily Mail and the Mirror have drawn connections between Markle’s apparent diligent work ethic and the recent turnover among her staff members; in fact, most of these departures were in the works well before rumors began to surface that Markle, whom the Times recently referred to as “Duchess Difficult,” was working so hard her staff couldn’t keep up.

So why is Cohen’s departure being treated as the latest twist in this saga? The royal couple had apparently hoped they could convince her to stay on—she’s been a member of the queen’s service for 17 years, acting as an assistant private secretary and press secretary; she got the job from a newspaper listing—and she compromised slightly, only agreeing to slightly extend her stay. She originally anticipated six months’ employment with the new royals, assisting their transition; she’s now planning to remain till after Meghan’s baby is born. So, not to “actually” this, but they’ve actually talked her into staying well past her intended length of employment. It’s just been successfully spun as yet another dramatic update in the trials of Meghan Markle.

A source told the Times, as quoted in the Daily Mail, that “Meghan might need someone cut from a slightly different cloth to traditional courtiers, who is not a career civil servant or royal insider” to fill the vacancy left by Fox and Cohen. Since Meghan and Harry seem quite taken with Cohen, this is probably yet another instance of the British press trying to cast Markle as the consummate irreconcilable outsider.

Related: This Apparent Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton Drama, Explained

Meghan Markle’s Ever-Evolving Hairstyles, From Her Signature Messy Bun to a Classic French Twist

Meghan Markle wore flowers in her hair on October 24, 2018, in Suva, Fiji. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Chris Jackson

Meghan Markle wore her hair in a low ponytail while in South Bondi Beach on October 19, 2018, in Sydney, Australia. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Chris Jackson

Meghan Markle wore her hair in a low ponytail to attend the naming dedication and unveiling of a new aircraft in the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) fleet at Dubbo Airport on October 17, 2018, in Dubbo, Australia. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Karwai Tang

Meghan markle wore her hair in a loose low bun on a visit to the University of Chichester’s Engineering and Technology Park on October 3, 2018, in Bognor Regis, England. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Max Mumby/Indigo

It’s rare, but sometimes Markle wears her hair down, like she did at the Sydney Opera House on October 16, 2018, in Sydney, Australia. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Karwai Tang

Meghan Markle wore her hair pulled back, with a few face-framing loose pieces, at the Royal Lancaster Hotel on September 4, 2018, in London, England. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Max Mumby/Indigo

Markle wore her hair in loose waves at the “100 Days of Peace” concert to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War at Central Hall Westminster on September 6, 2018, in London, England. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Max Mumby/Indigo

Markle attended the Sentebale ISPS Handa Polo Cup at the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club on July 26, 2018, in Windsor, England, with her hair in a chic, pulled-back bun. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Karwai Tang

Markle wore her hair in long, loose waves with a chic hat on June 9, 2018, in London, England. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Max Mumby/Indigo

Meghan Markle let her hair loose at the U.K. Team Trials for the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 at the University of Bath on April 6, 2018, in Bath, England. Photo courtesy of Getty images.

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Meghan Markle wore her hair pulled back in a messy bun at Cardiff Castle on January 18, 2018, in Cardiff, Wales. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Samir Hussein

Meghan Markle wore her hair in a center-part updo at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London on August 29, 2018. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Meghan Markle wore her pulled back while attending the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 13, 2018, in London, England, with Kate Middleton. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Karwai Tang/WireImage

Meghan Markle wore her hair down in loose waves at the Terrance Higgins Trust World AIDS Day charity fair at Nottingham Contemporary on December 1, 2017, in Nottingham, England. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Chris Jackson

Meghan Markle on day three of the Invictus Games Toronto 2017 on September 25, 2017, in Toronto, Canada. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Samir Hussein

Meghan Markle wore her long hair in a straight style at a Christmas Day Church service at Church of St. Mary Magdalene on December 25, 2017, in King’s Lynn, England. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Meghan Markle wore her long hair in curls, with a deep side part, in an appearance on Today on March 18, 2016, in New York, New York. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Josiah Kamau

Meghan Markle leaves the Today taping at NBC Rockefeller Center Studios on July 14, 2016, in New York City. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Meghan Markle styled her hair in a long sleek style on March 17, 2016, in New York City. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Desiree Navarro

Meghan Markle wore her hair in a messy bun at the USA Network’s Suits season five premiere, held at Sheraton Los Angeles Downtown Hotel on January 21, 2016, in Los Angeles, California. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Michael Tran
1/20