The queen has agreed on a “transition period” as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex seek a new role in the royal family.
With a final decision expected in the coming days, the family’s senior advisors are now involved in the negotiations. So who am I?
Harry and Meghan
Private secretary: Fiona Mcilwham
Fiona Mcilwham is the most recent private secretary to advise royal family members. He is now at the center of plans to develop a completely new way of working for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Joining their team in August 2019, she described herself on Twitter as “crown servant, diplomat, aspiring supermum”.
Previously she held various senior diplomatic posts, including the ambassador to Albania, and was senior consultant for EU enlargement.
Private secretaries are the most powerful helpers of royalty. They offer advice and guidance on political, diplomatic and constitutional issues and currently occupy a crucial position in an unprecedented time for the monarchy.
Since Ms. Mcilwham was named directly by Prince Harry and Meghan, she is likely to have their trust and confidence in what will happen next.
In these uncertain times, his role could become increasingly influential when meaningful decisions are made.
Communications Secretary: Sara Latham
Appointed less than a year ago, Sara Latham is the front line media contact of the Duchess and Duchess. He has already had to deal with a whirlwind of issues, such as their separation from the charity foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and legal action against various newspapers.
Also chosen by Prince Harry and Meghan, she quickly became influential.
Communications secretaries manage the press and information provided by the royal family. But although his official mandate is to deal with the media, he is also likely to offer personal advice to the duke and duchess.
Thought to be a US-British dual citizen, Ms. Latham worked for then President Bill Clinton in the late 1990s and was senior adviser to Hillary Clinton during her 2016 presidential campaign.
In the meantime, she was a special consultant to Baroness Tessa Jowell, then secretary of state for culture, media and sport, and more recently spent time as a management partner at the public relations agency Freuds.
Her transatlantic contacts and her communication experience have appealed to Prince Harry and Meghan and will become especially important now that they intend to forge a new role for themselves in North America.
Private secretary: Sir Edward Young
One of the oldest and most influential members of the royal family is the queen’s private secretary.
Sir Edward Young is expected to “stabilize the ship” in difficult times, within an institution that promotes stability and continuity.
He is considered the oldest figure in the group of private secretaries. And he is helping to guide and advise the queen on a future role for Prince Harry and Meghan that will make everyone happy.
According to Buckingham Palace, the queen’s private secretary is also “the channel of communication between the head of state and the government”. And this is not only in the UK, but also in the other 15 countries that recognize the Queen as sovereign.
Sir Edward joined the royal family in 2004 and made his way from younger private secretary positions. Previously he was responsible for communication with the Granada broadcaster and a Barclays executive.
He has held this role since 2017, when he succeeded Christopher Geidt. Prior to his departure, there were allegations of a “power struggle” between Lord Geidt and the Prince of Wales, which was said to be wary of any change that would reduce his involvement in his key causes such as the fight against climate change.
Communications Secretary: Donal McCabe
Donal McCabe became the Queen’s communications secretary last year.
Ladbrokes’ former director of corporate communications is a veteran of the communications industry, having occupied similar roles for the London Underground, Railtrack and Boots.
Charles and Camilla
Private secretary: Clive Alderton
Clive Alderton spent many years as a diplomat in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with postings in Poland, Belgium, Singapore and France.
He first worked at Clarence House in 2006-12 before becoming a UK ambassador to Morocco.
In 2015, he joined the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall as chief private secretary.
He is a key figure in helping Prince Charles plan the type of monarch he wants to be, as he takes on more and more tasks that would normally fall on the queen.
Communications Secretary: Julian Payne
Julian Payne was the BBC’s director of communications and most recently held a senior role in Burberry.
It has the sometimes difficult task of making sure that Prince Charles’ work receives attention in an environment where there is often a strong focus on younger royalty.
William and Kate
Private secretary: Simon Case
Working as private secretary to the Duke of Cambridge, who will one day become king, requires an eye to the future.
Simon Case is a key consultant to the Cambridge family when they learn more about what is expected of them diplomatically and constitutionally.
With the Queen less and less willing to travel, their role – and consequently the role of Simon Case – will become increasingly important.
He is also involved as the Duke and Duchess continue to develop their mental health projects and other charitable works.
Case is a career civil servant with positions at the Ministry of Defense and on the London organizing committee of the 2012 Olympics.
He was subsequently private secretary to Prime Minister David Cameron.
Case was also responsible for overseeing the Brexit negotiations around the Irish border, before becoming Prince William’s private secretary in 2018.
The Duchess of Cambridge had her private secretary, Catherine Quinn, but is expected to leave the role.
Communications Secretary: Christian Jones
Before joining Kensington Palace last year, Christian Jones was a writer and press secretary for David Davis when he was secretary on leaving the European Union.