The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are becoming well-known for championing the cause of feminism. It’s something that was very close to Meghan Markle’s heart before she got married, and her relationship status or new royal title certainly hasn’t changed that one bit. Now, there’s further proof that her other half is on the same page as her after a new report suggests that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have made royal history with their all-women team of advisors and top aides.
The declaration was made on Monday, as the Daily Mail reported that the couple appointed Fiona Mcilwham as their private secretary, a position that the newspaper notes is similar to a chief of staff. Mcilwham, of course, is heavily credentialed for the role; for example, according to The Daily Express, she was the youngest British ambassador ever when she was appointed to a job in Albania in 2009 at the age of 35. Additionally, her Twitter her bio lists her as a "diplomat and wannabe supermum."
The private secretary position is said to be the most prestigious role within a royal household, according to Harper’s Bazaar, as it will require Mcilwham to support the Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their schedule, paperwork, and managing other household staff. Basically, their right-hand woman.
Another member of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's team is Heather Wong, who has been working as the couple’s deputy private secretary, according to Hola!. She has been in Prince Harry’s employ for some time, assisting the couple as far back as their first public outing together in 2017, the magazine reported.
She previously worked at Milltown Partners, which the Daily Mail calls “a rather secretive business working in ‘behind the scenes’ PR, crisis communication and ‘reputational management.’” Before that, she held a high-powered position in the Obama administration as the deputy assistant secretary of public affairs at the Department of Homeland Security.
Rounding out the couple’s team of closest advisers is Sara Latham, head of communications, according to Marie Claire. She’s no stranger to high-pressure media situations, as she previously worked as special assistant to the Chief of Staff for Bill Clinton and was a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton during her presidential campaign, according to Town & Country. She’s no stranger to the U.K. though; she served as Special Adviser to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media, Sport and Olympics back in 2005 and 2006, according to Town & Country.
Other highly-placed women working for the Sussexs include two senior press officers and three behind the scenes staff, including projects manager Cara Madden, according to the Daily Mail.
And when you consider Markle's own background, the fact that she put together a team of highly qualified and successful women to support her and Prince Harry isn't that surprising. After all, Markle has been solidly established as a feminist for years; she was a UN Women’s advocate and gave an impassioned speech at the 2015 UN Women’s conference. In March 2019, she spoke about the roots of her activism during a panel for the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust on International Women’s Day, according to Vanity Fair. "At the age of 11, I saw a commercial that was sexist,'' she said. "Something struck me internally. No one told me it was wrong, but I knew it was wrong. It really set up a trajectory for me to say if something is wrong."
Prince Harry has his own track record of championing women, too. In 2016, for example, he visited Nepal and attended the Nepal Girl Summit in Kathmandu, according to the royal family's website, where he remarked on the "obstacles between girls and the opportunities they deserve." Additionally, during a January 2019 visit to Birkenhead, he proclaimed himself as such, stating to a small crowd at a women’s charity “I’m a feminist,” according to The Independent.
These welcome appointments are certainly within character for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. They just serve as one more example that they’re committed to walk their talk.