They’re set to complete a marathon 76 engagements in 16 days, taking in four countries with the Duchess in the early stages of her first pregnancy, but Meghan and Harry have come prepared with a team to ensure everything goes smoothly.
The Duke and Duchess are travelling with a 10-strong entourage for their first major official overseas tour of Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, including a top celebrity hairstylist and the formidable royal aide nicknamed ‘Samantha the Panther’.
Samantha, Meghan’s Private Secretary, was seen with the couple in Sydney on Monday morning, alongside Assistant Private Secretary Amy Pickerill and hairdresser George Northwood, after they arrived on a Qantas A380 flight from London via Singapore.
And although she’s not part of the official royal entourage, Meghan’s best friend Jessica Mulroney is also in Sydney to help the former actress navigate up to three outfit changes a day, in clothing that flatters her fledgling baby bump.
Here we reveal who is who in the Sussex squad helping Harry and Meghan negotiate their jam-packed schedule.
Harry and Meghan are set to complete a marathon 76 engagements in four countries over 16 days and are travelling with a team of 10 trusted aides to ensure everything runs smoothly
While Kate relies on the safe royal choice Amanda Cook Tucker, who has been cutting Harry and William’s hair since they were children, Meghan has opted for a much more starry stylist.
London-based George Northwood, who counts the likes of Alexa Chung and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as his clients, is a trusted choice for Meghan to take care of her locks on her first big tour.
While Kate favours a big, bouncy blow dry, George favours a more fashion-forward approach, styling Meghan’s hair in loose waves and unstructured buns.
Meghan (pictured arriving in Sydney with Prince Harry) has been joined by celebrity hairdresser George Northwood (circled, back left) in Australia for her first royal tour
The celebrity hairdresser, who counts the likes of Alexa Chung and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley among his clients, has been very discreet about working with Meghan
He styled Meghan’s hair for her wedding reception and did a dry run for the bigger tour when he joined Meghan in Dublin on her first official overseas visit as a royal back in July.
Northwood, who was photographed arriving with the rest of the couple’s entourage in Sydney on Monday, has been extremely discreet since styling Meghan’s hair for her wedding reception at Frogmore House.
He has not spoken publicly about styling Meghan’s hair, or made any reference to his famous client on his Instagram page.
However, YOU magazine editor Jo Elvin – who is herself one of Northwood’s clients – revealed that he had text her after the wedding, saying that he wasn’t able to ‘breathe a word’ about being chosen for the job ahead of the big day.
Northwood styled the Duchess of Sussex’s hair (above) for her wedding reception at Frogmore House in May
Meghan, 37, showed off two different hair looks on the first day of her visit to Sydney, wearing her brunette locks down in loose waves while dressed in a white shift dress by Australian designer Caroline Gee (above)
THE ‘UNOFFICIAL STYLIST’ AND SOURCE OF MORAL SUPPORT
High-society Canadian stylist Jessica Mulroney, who met Meghan when the actress was filming Suits in Toronto, has been helping the Duchess curate her royal wardrobe since she married Prince Harry.
She and her husband Ben, 42, the son of former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, are joining Harry and Meghan in Sydney in an ‘unofficial’ capacity – meaning they will cover their own expenses.
Although she’s not officially on the payroll as a member of staff, well-connected fashionista Jessica, 38, is on hand to give Meghan style advice, and in return is getting a golden opportunity for her to promote the Canadian brands she’s associated with.
Writer and royal correspondent Omid Scobie reported that Jessica quietly flew into London to help the Duchess assemble a selection of outfits prior to her two-day visit to Dublin in July.
Keeping fit: The pair were both glowing after an intense gym workout when they grabbed supplies
Mother-of-three Jessica, seen with the now Duchess in Toronto in 2016, was Meghan’s unofficial maid of honour at the royal wedding in May. Her daughter Ivy was a flower girl, and her twin sons John and Brian were page boys
And it’s believed she helped arrange potential outfits for Meghan to choose from ahead of her Australia and New Zealand tour.
Australian designer Karen Gee, who is behind the figure-hugging ‘Blessed’ white dress Meghan stepped out in for her first official engagement in Sydney on Tuesday, has revealed she was asked to submit sample outfits prior to the tour.
Ms Gee, who is based in Sydney, explained it was a ‘wonderful surprise’ to see Meghan in one of her designs – although had been aware it could happen after submitting several pieces for consideration.
Jessica Mulroney, who met Meghan when she lived in Toronto, revealed on social media how she had touched down on Tuesday following a ’24-hour journey’. Pictured, an Instagram Story showing Jessica and her Canadian TV presenter husband Ben in the back of a car in Australia
While royals frequently use the services of a hairdresser on an overseas tour, an official stylist isn’t automatically part of the package.
The Duchess of Cambridge, for instance, does not have a stylist and relies on her PA Natasha Archer to help her with her wardrobe.
In addition to fashion advice, Jessica will provide an invaluable source of support to Meghan as she navigates her first big royal tour and pregnancy at the same time.
The pair are so close they are ‘like sisters’ and Meghan considers Jessica’s three children – who were page boys and a flower girl at the wedding – as a niece and nephews.
Support: Jessica, seen helping her flower girl daughter Ivy up the steps of St George’s Chapel along with the Duchess of Cambridge at Meghan and Harry’s wedding in May, is open about her family life on social media, and regularly remarks on juggling her busy career with raising three young children
THE PRIVATE SECRETARY
Shortly after her wedding to Prince Harry in May, it emerged that the Queen had lent Meghan one of her most trusted aides – a feisty Australian nicknamed ‘Samantha the Panther’ – to prepare the former actress for her new royal life.
Samantha Cohen, 49, nicknamed ‘Samantha the Panther’, is also in Sydney with the Duke and Duchess
Samantha Cohen, 49, the Queen’s assistant private secretary, moved over from Buckingham Palace to Kensington Palace with the aim of providing the Duchess of Sussex with ‘six months of listening’.
Ms Cohen’s has 17 years of experience as part of the Queen’s top team, advising her on a daily basis.
The married mother-of-three, who is known for not mincing her words, was tasked with guiding Harry and Meghan through their first year of marriage and was spotted by their side at a Buckingham Palace garden party – their first royal engagement after their wedding.
Ms Cohen is said to have rejoiced in her nickname Samantha the Panther, given to her in the Noughties because of her no-nonsense approach.
She reportedly handed in her notice last year ‘in solidarity’ with Sir Christopher Geidt, the Queen’s private secretary, who suddenly announced last July he was leaving after 15 years of royal service.
However she was persuaded to stay and step into the shoes of Harry’s former Private Secretary Ed Lane Fox, who left earlier this year.
Samantha will be making sure every engagement runs as smoothly as possible and her Australian background will no doubt make her a vital source of advice.
Meghan and Harry’s Private Secretary Samantha Cohen, formerly one of the Queen’s most trusted aides, (pictured attending Harry and Meghan’s wedding in May)
THE ASSISTANT PRIVATE SECRETARY
Amy Pickerill, 32, was previously senior communications officer to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry before she was handpicked by the Duke of Sussex to become his then bride-to-be’s assistant private secretary.
Meghan’s Assistant Private Secretary Amy Pickerill is visible in the background arriving in Sydney on Monday morning
During the Australia and New Zealand tour, she will play an important role by briefing Meghan ahead of engagements.
Other duties include organising Meghan’s schedule to making sure she is briefed before every engagement, plus collecting flowers and gifts during walkabouts.
The pretty blonde grew up in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, with twin brother Ashley, and is a history graduate from the University of Nottingham.
Amy also studied for a post-graduate diploma in broadcast journalism at London’s City University, which she completed in 2009.
Her previous roles have included media relations manager and head of campaigns at the Royal Bank of Scotland.
She took up her current role on a salary upwards of £30,000, late last year, shortly after Harry’s engagement was announced.
Amy (pictured on Meghan and Harry’s visit to Edinburgh in February 2018) helps out by collecting flowers and gifts the Duchess is handed during walkabouts and briefs her ahead of engagements
PERSONAL ASSISTANT AND COMMUNICATIONS OFFICERS
American Jason Knauf, Prince Harry’s communication secretary, is likely to be among the communications team travelling with the royals – although he has not been photographed with the couple on the trip
It’s likely that the Duchess will also travel with a PA to ensure engagements go smoothly, but she’s believed to rely mainly on Amy and doesn’t yet have a dedicated personal assistant.
The couple will also be assisted by four communications officers on their tour, including a digital communications manager and a programme coordinator, according to Hello!
They’re visiting four countries and carrying out multiple engagements each day, so the orderly will play an important role in making sure Harry and Meghan’s belongings and luggage are transported from one place to the next.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge employed their first orderly, a Fijian-born Corporal from the Parachute Regiment, in 2013, two years after they married and a month after Kate’s first pregnancy was announced.
The role of the orderly, whose name the media was asked not to disclose following his appointment, involved chauffeuring, logistics, and occasionally organising the Prince’s wardrobe, it was said at the time.
It suggests the orderly that’s part of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s entourage will perform similar duties, driving the couple as they navigate multiple engagements and potentially acting as valet to Prince Harry on occasion when necessary.