The new palace hire is a former top-level diplomat

By Simon Perry
August 19, 2019 11:23 AM

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have chosen a top-level diplomat as their new chief of staff.

Fiona Mcilwham is set to join as private secretary next month — putting in place a women-led trio heading up their team alongside communications secretary Sara Latham and deputy private secretary Heather Wong.

Mcilwham, 45, calls herself a “diplomat and wannabe supermum” on her public Twitter account.

The Mail on Sunday, which first reported the appointment, said she made her name as a diplomat when she was posted to Albania in 2009, becoming one of the U.K.’s youngest ambassadors.

Mcilwham will replace the departing Samantha Cohen, who has temporarily been covering the role and helping find a long-term successor. Cohen, who had been assistant private secretary to Queen Elizabeth, has been with Harry and Meghan since the summer after their 2018 wedding, helping Meghan navigate her first steps as a royal and supporting them as they start their own office.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry and Fiona Mcilwham (right).
Chris Jackson/Getty; Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Former private secretary Samantha Cohen (in helicopter) with Queen Elizabeth in 2016.
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

Insiders say that one of Mcilwham’s first major roles will be to join the entourage accompanying the couple on their tour of South Africa and Harry’s visits to Angola, Botswana and Malawi.

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