Meghan gets the Queen’s special adviser: Duchess of Sussex will spend ‘six months listening’ to feisty palace aide dubbed ‘Samantha the Panther’ to learn how to be an effective royal


  • Meghan will be taught how to be a royal by Queen’s aide Samantha Cohen, 49, 
  • Feisty Australian was due to leave palace after handing in her resignation
  • PR expert at centre of row between her boss, Prince Charles and Prince Andrew 
  • Samantha has agreed to say on as interim private secretary to Duke and Duchess

Samantha Cohen, 49, the Queen’s assistant private secretary, has made the move from Buckingham Palace to Kensington Palace and the Duchess of Sussex is said to be ready for ‘six months of listening’.

Ms Cohen’s secondment is part of Meghan’s plans to become an effective royal and she has 17 years of experience as part of the Queen’s top team advising her on a daily basis.

The married mother-of-three, who doesn’t mince her words, will guide Harry and Meghan through their first year of marriage and has already played a key role at the royal wedding and Tuesday’s Buckingham Palace garden party – her first appearance as Her Royal Highness.

Ms Cohen is said to have rejoiced in her nickname Samantha the Panther, given to her in the Noughties because of her no-nonsense approach.

Once the Queen asked her to organise a special Buckingham Palace party to celebrate the most powerful 200 women in Britain and she showed her claws by snubbing Victoria Beckham saying ‘being rich was not enough’ for an invite.

Meghan Markle will be assisted by Palace adviser Samantha Cohen (above), who had planned to leave Buckingham Palace this summerCamilla was joined by the new Duchess of Sussex for her first engagement as an official member of the royal family 
There were so many guests at the Royal wedding last weekend that you might have missed one or two outfits. But that’s why Fashion Finder is here to make sure you’re all caught up!

It can be tricky to know what to wear for such a big occasion, but palace aide Samantha Cohen got it spot on when she chose this pretty pink lace number. It’s by Temperley London, one of the Duchess of Cambridge’s go-to labels, and we can totally see Meghan turning to Temperley in her new role as the Duchess of Sussex.

Aside from the pale pink hue, we love the peplum frill and midi length of this dress. Click (right) to buy it now before it all sells out.

Or dress to impress in one of the lookalike options from our edit below. Ted Baker, Missguided and Asos have got our favourites!

Feisty Ms Cohen, 49, is seen as just the woman to guide Harry and Meghan through their first year of marriage

Ms Cohen jumps out of a helicopter behind the Queen and she is 'deeply committed-to serving the Monarchy'

Video playing bottom right…
Ex-actress Meghan, who had a gruelling schedule filming Suits, wants to stay busy in her new extraordinary life with Harry.
Samantha Cohen was made a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order by the Queen in 2016 for her service

She will spend the rest of the year meeting charities and other good causes in a national tour only punctuated by their honeymoon while learning from mentor Ms Cohen.

A source told The Times: ‘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.’

Ms Cohen had appeared to be on the way out of the royal household after an extraordinary row between her boss, Prince Charles and Prince Andrew.

She resigned ‘in solidarity’ with Sir Christopher Geidt, the Queen’s private secretary, who suddenly announced last July he was suddenly leaving after 15 years of royal service.

Sources said he was ‘forced out’ because he fell out with Charles’ most senior aides and Prince Andrew allegedly ‘deeply dislikes him’ and resented the control he had over his expenses.

Samantha also resigned but she was obviously persuaded to stay and was seen at the royal wedding on Saturday.

She is also said to have played a key role in preparing Meghan for Tuesday’s Buckingham Palace garden party – her first appearance as Her Royal Highness.

Ms Cohen, who was a a student in Brisbane before moving to Britain, is expected to be a temporary replacement for Edward Lane Fox, Prince Harry’s departing private secretary, until next spring.

Meghan puts protective arm around Harry on newlyweds’ first event
Meghan joined Prince Harry, Camilla and Prince Charles for the 'family celebration' today for Prince Charles's 70th birthday 

For the first time at this afternoon's garden party, Meghan will be addressed as Her Royal Highness – HRH – in publicMeghan laughs during the event today

For the first time at Tuesday’s garden party, Meghan was addressed as Her Royal Highness – HRH and the public are now expected to curtsey

The pair never seemed to lose touch with one another, and Meghan held her new husband's arm as she navigated the grass in 4.5-inch heels

Meghan placed a protective arm around Harry as they made their way back inside during the garden party

Married to a dentist and a mother of three children, she worked in the civil service and public relations before joining Buckingham Palace in 2001.
She resigned in protest when her Sir Christopher Geidt was reportedly forced out but has since been convinced to stay

Intially working in PR she became deputy press secretary from 2003 before getting the top job in 2007.

She was promoted to the Private Office in 2010 and became Sir Christopher Geidt’s assistant.

Supported by Ms Cohen, Meghan made her first outing as the Duchess of Sussex this week as she and Prince Harry arrived at Prince Charles’s 70th birthday party at Buckingham Palace, where she was given a warm welcome.

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.

Samantha Cohen, originally from Brisbane, also found herself at the centre of an incredible power struggle between Buckingham Palace and the Prince of Wales’s Clarence House team.

Harry and Meghan make first appearance as newlyweds
Ms Cohen stands behind the Queen and Prince William marking ANZAK Day and the Centenary of the Gallipoli Campaign in London in 2015
The PR woman was in the first wave of women to take control a Palace media office once dominated by men during in Noughties

The Queen’s most senior courtier Sir Christopher Geidt suddenly announced in July that he was leaving after 15 years of royal service.

Sir Christopher is thought to have fallen out of royal favour amid chaotic power struggles as Prince Charles and the younger royals take on more of the Queen’s duties under ‘Operation Handover’.

To heal the rift, the Queen has given her most trusted courtier a fitting send-off.

When Sir Christopher, 56, stepped down as her private secretary on Thursday, HM bestowed yet another knighthood on him — his third in six years — during a private audience at Balmoral.

In addition to his Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO), and Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath KCB, Sir Christopher now bears the highest insignia in the Royal Victorian Order, the Knight Grand Cross (GCVO), given to those who have served the monarch ‘in a personal way’.

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