Harry and Meghan want ‘Samantha the Panther’ to become permanent staff
Harry and Meghan want interim private secretary nicknamed ‘Samantha the Panther’ to become a permanent part of their household – following high-level departures among their staff
- Samantha Cohen is acting as the Sussexes’ private secretary on an interim basis
- Cohen, nicknamed ‘Samantha the Panther’, previously worked for the Queen
- Harry and Meghan are reportedly keen for Cohen to become a permanent aide
- Comes after Prince Harry’s private secretary left following five years of service
- A personal assistant to the couple also quit suddenly, it was revealed last week
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are keen for their interim private secretary to become a permanent part of staff following recent high-level departures from the household.
The Queen’s former assistant private secretary Samantha Cohen is acting as Harry and Meghan’s joint private secretary on a temporary basis as staff work to fill the role left vacant by Edward Lane Fox, who left this summer following five years of service.
However parents-to-be Harry, 34, and Meghan, 37, have reportedly struck up a rapport with Australian-born Cohen, affectionately nicknamed ‘Samantha the Panther’, and want her to stay on in the position full-time, it is reported.
Changing staff: The Queen’s former assistant private secretary Samantha Cohen is acting as Harry and Meghan’s joint private secretary on a temporary basis but the couple, pictured in Australia last month, reportedly want her to stay on full-time following recent departures
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
‘They are aware that they have lost some key staff members in recent months, but they really like Sam and want her to stay on,’ a source told Katie Nicholl at Vanity Fair.
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.
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Originally from Brisbane and married to a dentist, mother-of-three Cohen had previously worked as a private secretary for the Queen and earned the nickname ‘The Panther’ for her feisty attitude.
She moved to the Duke and Duchess’ household this summer.
Shake-up: Former army man Edward Lane Fox joined Prince Harry in 2013, after a career in the the Household Cavalry and with financial communications firm RLM Finsbury. He left his role in Kensington Palace this summer. Pictured, Harry with Mr Lane Fox in Chile in June 2014
‘Right hand man’ Prince Harry and Mr Lane Fox at the Opening Ceremony of the Invictus Games at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London, in September 2014
A statement released in April said: ‘The recruitment process to appoint Mr. Lane Fox’s successor is ongoing. In the meantime, Samantha Cohen, who will shortly complete her tenure as assistant private secretary to Her Majesty the Queen following delivery of a successful CHOGM [Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting], has kindly agreed to serve as interim private secretary, starting late summer.’
It comes days after Richard Eden of the Daily Mail confirmed a personal assistant, named only as Melissa, had ‘quit suddenly’.
A Kensington Palace spokesman declined to comment on the departure of the PA. However, a Palace source was authorised to pay tribute to her.
Sudden departure: A personal assistant named only as ‘Melissa’ has also left her role at the Kensington Palace (pictured in stock image) household, it was revealed last week
‘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.’
It follows the departure of Edward Lane Fox, described as Prince Harry’s ‘right-hand man’ who stopped working for the Prince in the summer after five years in the role.
At the time, a spokesman for the Prince said: ‘His Royal Highness is hugely grateful to Ed for his hard work during a period that has seen the launch and growth of the Invictus Games, countless tours around the world, and the detailed planning for his wedding.’
WHO IS SAMANTHA COHEN?
As a no-nonsense Australian nicknamed ‘Samantha the Panther’, Mother-of-three Ms Cohen, was entrusted by the Queen to prepare Meghan Markle for life as a royal.
The Queen’s assistant private secretary has worked with the royal family for 17 years and will leave a hard-to-fill gap in the royal entourage when she leaves.
Originally from Brisbane and married to a dentist, the mother-of-three is known as ‘The Panther’ for her feisty attitude.
Fresh faced! Samantha Cohen pictured in 2001 at Buckingham Palace after she first joined the royal family as private secretary to the Queen
After studying at the University of Queensland, Ms Cohen worked in civil service and public relations and joined Buckingham Palace in 2001.
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.
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