In just over a year of marriage, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have made their shared intention to honor personal values over tradition clear. And nowhere is that commitment more visible than in the opportunities they’ve taken to elevate women — including making history by becoming the first royals to hire an all-female senior staff.
This week, it was announced that Fiona Mcilwham will be joining the Duke and Duchess as their private secretary, rounding out the pair’s women-driven team. With a first assignment of heading the Sussexes’ fall tour of Africa, Mcilwham certainly seems qualified for the job. She’s logged 21 years within the Foreign Office, held posts in the U.S., Middle East, and the Balkans, and recently completed a strategic leadership course at the Royal College of Defence Studies, which instructs senior leaders on international security and national defense matters. What we're saying is, we’re pretty sure her resume checks out.
This hire comes in the wake of Meghan and Harry’s alleged frustration over having to deflect conventional expectations of “royalness.”
"Harry and Meghan have felt frustrated by the one-size-fits-all approach to being a working royal and are aiming their star far higher," a royal source (whatever that really means) told Express UK. “It is clear they think Fiona is the person to do that. Internally, the hope is, as someone with enormous diplomatic experience, she will also understand that, whether you like it or not, there are limitations to being a royal for a very good reason.”
Of course, the Duke and Duchess have already been getting some help with managing expectations from none other than Meghan’s mom, Doria Ragland, who's unofficially the couple’s advisor. With Doria and some other hand-selected powerhouse women by her side, it seems Meghan has assembled a dream team that’s in keeping with a vision she shared this past International Women’s Day.
"Your sense of self and security, your confidence, comes in knowing that a woman by your side, not behind you, is actually something you shouldn't be threatened about, but as opposed to that you should feel really empowered in having that additional support,” she said at a panel on feminism. “That this is really about us working together, that's what gender equality means to me."
Her message above *may* have been more specifically slated for men, but we think it speaks pretty well to her and Harry's staffing decisions, too. Here's to going after what we want with other women by our sides and in our corner!