prince harry and meghan markle

Sad news for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as top royal staff member officially leaves

Samantha Cohen has worked with the royals for 17 years

Aisha Nozari

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have bid a sad farewell to Ms Samantha Cohen, who has been serving as their private secretary. The news was announced on the Court Circular on Friday: “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex this afternoon received Ms Samantha Cohen upon relinquishing her appointment as Private Secretary to Their Royal Highnesses." 

The royal couple have employed Fiona Mcilwham as their new private secretary. Fiona, 45, was formerly the British Ambassador to Albania and reportedly won over palace officials, who had hoped to hire a joint private secretary from within the royal household roster.

The Queen with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex accompanied by Samantha Cohen

Fiona has quite the résumé, becoming one of the youngest ambassadors for Britain when she was posted to Albania aged 35. She also previously worked as Director for Western Balkans and Enlargement at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom.

MORE: Meghan Markle shares nostalgic childhood video to highlight special cause - watch

Samantha Cohen attends the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

MORE: Meghan Markle's sacrifice for Prince Harry revealed by his good friend Nacho Figueras

Before her time with the Sussexes, Samantha served as the Queen's private secretary. Samantha transferred to work for Harry and Meghan as their interim private secretary whilst the couple were looking for a more permanent solution. Samantha recently joined the royals on their tour of Africa. 

After Harry's private secretary Ed Lane Fox stepped down earlier this year, Samantha filled his shoes. According to The Times, she handed in her notice last year, but agreed to stay after she was offered her new position. Originally from Australia, Samantha joined the Buckingham Palace communications office in 2001. She worked in civil service and public relations before joining the royals.

Make sure you never miss a ROYAL story! Sign up to our newsletter to get all of our celebrity, royal and lifestyle news delivered directly to your inbox.

More on: