In November, Markle’s personal assistant Melissa Touabti was rumoured to have left her post just six months after joining the team. In December, Markle and Prince Harry reportedly accepted the resignation of their shared private secretary, Samantha Cohen.
Now, there are reports that Amy Pickerill, Markle’s closest aide and confidante, will leave her post as the Duchess’s private secretary when she and Prince Harry move to their new residence at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor this month.
According to Dickie, his role required him to act as a royal spokesman, as well as manage media for ceremonial occasions and all major state events inside Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. (In fact, he coordinated the media coverage for the funeral of Princess Diana.)
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The intense nature of work for the Royal Family can add up over time, says Arbiter. Several of Markle and Prince Harry’s staff have been working with the Royal Family for several years — in some cases, decades, so the exits may just be a natural progression.
Prince Harry’s former private secretary Edward Lane Fox retired last summer, after five years as Prince Harry’s right-hand man. Similarly, Prince William’s private secretary Miguel Head exited his role one year ago, after six years on the job.
Even longer, Rebecca Priestley resigned from her post as Kate Middleton’s private secretary in 2017 after 10 years of service to the Royal Family. Cohen — whose role with Markle and Prince Harry was reportedly always meant to be temporary — worked in Buckingham Palace for more than 15 years prior to joining the Sussex household.
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Pickerill can be spotted next to Markle at most of her public outings, which provides some insight into just how grueling her days can be, and she could be responsible for everything from acting as Markle’s adviser, organizing her private meetings and public appearances, to ensuring the personal needs of the Duchess are met, said Arbiter.
The job of private secretary — as with many roles that support the Royal Family — can leave very little time for a personal life.
There is no ‘normal’ when it comes to hiring personal aides for the Royal Family, added Arbiter. It depends on the needs of each household, as well as budget.
Arbiter says another factor at play could be money. “We work to earn good money and the private sector is a lot more lucrative.”
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The rumours about the way Markle treats her staff have emerged alongside intense harassment on social media.
Last week, CNN reported that Kensington Palace staff are now actively blocking Twitter and Instagram accounts that post hateful content targeting Markle and other members of the Royal Family.
Markle is due to give birth at the end of April or the beginning of May. In preparation for the baby, she and Prince Harry are reportedly moving to their new residence at Frogmore Cottage in the next two weeks.