Behind every royal couple…there’s an army of advisors, from private secretaries to communication experts, stylists to nannies.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment when asked by ELLE UK, but several reports suggest the latest recruit to the Duke and Duchess’s office is Fiona Mcilwham, who has notionally been hired as their new Private Secretary (the equivalent to Chief of Staff).
Describing herself on Twitter as a ‘Diplomat and wannabe supermum’, Mcilwham was formerly the British Ambassador to Albania (and, at 35, was one of the youngest women to ever hold such a position). She has just completed a strategic leadership course at the Royal College of Defence Studies, and is expected to be joining the Sussex’s on their tour of Africa in the Autumn.
If the news its true, Mcilwham will join the royal couple’s formidable team of highly-qualified female senior staff.
She will work alongside newly appointed Head of Communications Sara Latham, who was formerly senior advisor on Hillary Clinton’s electoral campaign and also worked as a special advisor to the late Tessa Jowell.
Also part of the top-tier team is Deputy Private Secretary Heather Wong, who previously worked as a political appointee in the Obama administration and was associate director at London-based communications and policy consultancy Milltown Partners. Before being promoted, Heather was Assistant Private Secretary to Prince Harry, helping with strategy across areas including mental health projects and sport for social development.
A 2018 report outlined a mean gender pay gap of 12.39% in the Queen’s household (the UK average was 17.9%). According to the report, one of the reasons behind this figure was the predominance of men in senior positions.
But this royal couple are pushing for female equality and empowerment, starting with their own team. And we’re totally down with it.
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