From Harper's BAZAAR
Meghan Markle was on her first solo event with the Queen this morning, a big step in her royal career. Even though she's quickly jumped into her royal career, she couldn't have taken on today's engagements without a little help.
Enter Samantha Cohen, a member of Her Majesty's personal team and the woman guiding Markle as she transitions into her new life as a duchess. The royal advisor was present at today's events in Cheshire, but you might've been too distracted by the royals to notice. Here's what you need to know about Markle's trusty guide.
She's been with the royals for 17 years.
Cohen, 49, is originally from Australia and joined the Buckingham Palace press office in 2001, The Times reports. She worked in civil service and public relations prior to working with the royal family, according to the Daily Mail. She actually landed the palace job after answering a newspaper ad for a "media minder" during a trip to London almost two decades ago, per the Mail.
She's the Queen's former assistant private secretary.
Since joining Buckingham Palace 17 years ago, Cohen has moved up the ranks, landing deputy press secretary in 2003 and "getting the top job in 2007, becoming the first woman to be appointed in the role," the Mail reports. She was also named Commander of the Royal Victorian Order by the Queen in 2016.
She actually announced her resignation last year following the Sir Lord Geidt, the Queen's private secretary to whom Cohen is very loyal, resigned in July. However, she agreed to stick around with the younger generation of royals. Instead of leaving in the summer as planned, she'll stay for six more months, according to The Sun, and act as interim private secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
She's putting Meghan through six months of "Duchess training."
Cohen will act as a guide for the new Duchess of Sussex as she gets acclimated to royal life. "It will be six months of listening, a source toldThe Times. "She is seeking out advice on a range of people. She is going to proceed with humility. It is not going to be quiet, though. It's going to be a very busy office." Their schedule will likely include traveling the country and meeting with charities, as royals usually do.
Markle had actually started meeting with Cohen after she and Prince Harry announced their engagement in November. The royal advisor "briefed her on the Commonwealth and the workings of the monarchy," The Times reports.
Cohen is in charge of helping Markle "carve out" her new role as a royal, a source told People. "She will make sure Meghan is as happy as she can be without ruffling feathers," the insider added. "She will represent her voice both internally and externally and fight her battles."
So far, she's reportedly helped the Duchess of Sussex with her first post-wedding event, at the garden party honoring Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace, just three days after the royal wedding. Cohen is also believed to be joining the couple on their first royal tour abroad, which includes a stop at her home country, Australia.
The royal family really likes her.
Prince William and Prince Harry are said to be "fond of" Cohen, The Times reports, and both the Queen and Prince Charles approved her decision to stay. The paper adds that she's "well-liked and unstuffy" and "viewed as a resourceful figure."
"There's very little Samantha doesn't know, and she's very well liked and respected at the Palace," another source told Vanity Fair. "She's the perfect aide to help guide Meghan in some of the complexities of protocol."
She wasn't the only royal advisor at Meghan and the Queen's event today.
As Daily Mail's Rebecca English points out, Cohen was joined by Meghan's assistant press secretary Amy Pickerill, the Queen's press secretary Edward Young, and her new assistant press secretary Matthew Magee. It takes a village!
She was at the royal wedding.
Cohen was seen arriving at St. George's Chapel in a blush pink lace dress with the rest of Harry and Meghan's A-list guests. We wonder if she snuck any last-minute tips to the bride before she walked down the aisle.