Who Is Samantha The Panther, Meghan Markle's Aussie Private Secretary?
She's got six months to whip the Duchess into royal shape.
Meghan Markle has barely put a foot wrong since she married Prince Harry back in May, and her success as a newly-minted Duchess might just come down to one woman, and no, we're not talking about the Queen.
And it wasn't us either, even though we did our best to school Megs in how to be a Princess.
A woman named Samantha Cohen is the Australian palace aide who's reportedly behind Meghan's perfect public appearances, including her recent near-flawless tour down under.
So who is Samantha Cohen, and just what is she up to behind the scenes as Meghan's private secretary and 'Duchess teacher'?
Just an Aussie chick
Cohen is a 49-year-old mum of three from Brisbane, who has previously worked in public relations as an advisor to the Australian Government in Indigenous Affairs and Mining and Resources.
She attended Brisbane All Hallows Catholic School, before completing a journalism degree at the University of Queensland.
From there, Cohen nabbed a job at the Sunshine Coast Daily in Maroochydore, Queensland, before moving onto her role with the government.
Her royal beginnings
While on a trip to London in 2001 Cohen rather fortuitously came across a job ad for a media minder at the Buckingham Palace press office.
She applied and landed the role, and has been working for “The Firm” -- as Prince Phillip describes the royal family -- ever since.
Cohen quickly rose to the private office at the palace, and has been Assistant Private Secretary to The Queen since 2011.
In 2016 she was appointed Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, which recognises distinguished personal service to the monarch.
Meghan almost didn't have Cohen as a private secretary, as she had made the decision to leave the palace following the resignation of Sir Christopher Geidt, the Queen’s private secretary, in July 2017.
Despite reportedly handing in her notice last September, Cohen agreed to stay on as interim private secretary for a further six months at the Queen's personal request.
Educating Miss Markle
As Meghan's private secretary, Cohen will deliver an intense bout of Duchess instruction focusing on the ins and outs of royal protocol, according to the New York Times.
The lessons, which are said to have begun back in May following Meghan and Harry's wedding, cover things like travelling protocol and meeting different charities.
“It will be six months of listening (for Meghan),” a palace source told the New York Times earlier this year.
She is seeking out advice from a range of people. She is going to proceed with humility. It is not going to be quiet, though. It’s going to be a very busy office.
What's in a name?
Cohen earned her reported nickname, 'Samantha the Panther,' in royal circles because like the big cat she is also fierce and fiesty.
There are whispers that she once refused Victoria 'Posh' Beckham an invite to a party in the past, which is a bold move to say the least.
V-Becks did end up making the guest list to the wedding, however, so Cohen may have had a change of heart.
Her success so far
Since moving palaces from Buckingham to Kensington -- where Haz and Megs live -- Cohen has by all reports hit the ground running.
She is said to have worked her magic, and fast, by preparing the newlywed Meghan for her debut Duchess appearance at Prince Charles’s 70th birthday party on May 23.
Since then, Cohen has been discreetly guiding the Duchess through numerous public engagements, including her first solo day trip with the Queen in June.
She was an inconspicuous presence on Harry and Meghan's 16 day tour of Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand which was widely heralded as a wild success.
Cohen will wrap up her role as Meghan's Duchess tutor in March 2019, around the same time the royal couple's first bub is due.
And just like a fierce but firm Mary Poppins/Fairy Godmother combo, Cohen will glide off to take on her new project. We're more than happy to be turned into a Duchess, just sayin'...
Feature image: Getty.