“Amy Pickerill will be the lynchpin in Meghan’s team, her right-hand woman, confidante and girl Friday.”
It was revealed this week that Pickerill - whom Kensington Palace describes as an “assistant private secretary in Prince Harry’s office” - is now responsible for managing Meghan’s engagements as the weeks tick down to the May wedding.
But while the eyes of the world will be on the bride, it’s Pickerill who will be responsible for making sure Meghan impresses as a full-time royal.
The former RBS media relations manager, who was with the bank for five years, will be expected to plan the royal diary, handle Meghan’s correspondence and make sure she’s fully briefed for engagements.
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Pickerill, who has worked for Kensington Palace for 18 months, was pictured with Meghan during one of her first official engagements with Prince Harry in Edinburgh, holding flowers given to the actress by a member of the public.
There’s got to be trust, there’s got to be respect and there’s got to be the understanding that the person who is with you is going to offer you the best advice there isDickie Arbiter, the Queen’s former press secretary
“Busy royals can be in France for breakfast and Scotland for dinner,” says former royal aide Alex Bomberg, who worked at Kensington Palace in the 1990s.
“They do three or four engagements every day, so managing that will be quite hectic.”
But according to Dickie Arbiter, the Queen’s legendary former press secretary, Pickerill will need to play an even more vital role in guiding Meghan as she adjusts to life post-Hollywood.
“Amy will need to advise her on what to do and what not to do,” the royal commentator says.
“Having been an actor and an independent free spirit on the other side of the pond, coming here Meghan needs to learn what she can do and what she can’t do.
“What she can’t do is make political statements or comments and get involved in controversies.”
Arbiter, who was also media manager for Prince Charles and Princess Diana during his 12 years at Buckingham Palace, adds: “When it comes to a royal private secretary, there’s got to be trust, there’s got to be respect and there’s got to be the understanding that the person who is with you is going to offer you the best advice there is.
“The chemistry has to be right. Obviously, Meghan Markle feels the chemistry is rightDickie Arbiter
“The chemistry has to be right. Obviously, Meghan Markle feels the chemistry is right.”
Former royal assistant Bomberg agrees that a solid relationship between the royals and their staff is key to making sure the monarchy runs “like clockwork”.
Bomberg, now boss of Intelligent Protection, which provides security for royal families around the world, spent a year living in the Kensington Palace apartments of the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester as part of an Army posting.
“Amy is going to become very close to Meghan,” he says.
“It’s a very private, very personal role. You are with the royal family when they have their royal face on, but also when they have their personal face on.
“When they want to kick off their shoes in the back of the limo, when they have moments of ‘that was difficult, that was emotional’ if they’ve been to the likes of a children’s hospital.
“They’re there in those moments.”
When approached for interview, one former equerry - a type of senior attendant traditionally responsible for the royal family’s transport - told HuffPost UK that the trust between royals and their aides is so great, there’s an “unwritten understanding” among staff that they will not speak to the media, even after stepping down.
But an intense desire to serve and protect the royals is not always beneficial, says editor-in-chief of news website Royal Central Charlie Proctor, especially if it puts aides in the public eye.
“The fundamental rule for private secretaries and members of staff in the royal household is to stay out of the news,” he adds.
“A key example of this can be seen in 2015 when Prince Charles’ communications secretary grabbed a reporter’s microphone from his hand and threw it on the floor.”
Kristina Kyriacou, who was reportedly nicknamed “The Colonel” by one client, made headlines when she body-blocked Channel 4 reporter Michael Crick while he attempted to doorstop the Prince of Wales, pulling apart the journalist’s microphone.
“It was a bizarre moment and one that shouldn’t have happened,” Proctor adds.
“As long as Amy stays in the background and doesn’t grab Michael Crick’s microphone, I’m sure nothing will go wrong.”