Prince Harry and Meghan name top diplomat as the new head of household

Harry and Meghan have appointed a new key member of staff. Credit: PA

Harry and Meghan have chosen a Foreign Office diplomat to take up the most senior role in their Household.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have appointed Fiona Mcilwham as their new Private Secretary.

She will replace Samantha Cohen, who is stepping down.

The announcement of the senior courtier was made internally to royal staff on Monday.

Fiona Mcilwham is a former British Ambassador to Albania and her biography on her social media pages describes herself as an "experienced British diplomat" who specialises in "European, international security, governance and post conflict issues".

She speaks French and Albanian.

By any analysis, she is taking on a huge job. She will head up the office of one of the most famous couples in the world.

A couple who are rarely out of the media spotlight. And a new couple, who are still finding their role within the Royal Family.

Elton John has defended Harry and Meghan's holiday flights. Credit: PA

Harry and Meghan have a huge platform from which to campaign but it also opens them up to criticism from near and far.

The most recent example is the negative stories of their private jet usage for holidays at a time when the Sussexes have been calling for more responsible action to fight climate change.

Elton John, who provided one of the jets and one of the holiday homes, came to the couple’s defence via his Twitter account.

The Sussexes have also seen a number of high profile staff leave in recent months.

That has triggered further stories about the state of Duke and Duchess’ working relationship with their closest advisers.

A royal source says there are lots of people who want Ms Mcilwham to succeed but it will ultimately depend on how she gets along with Harry and Meghan.

Harry, Meghan and baby Archie will be heading to Africa next month. Credit: PA

I understand the new Private Secretary will join the Sussexes on their tour of Africa in September as she gets to grips with her new role.

Harry, Meghan and baby Archie are completing a visit to South Africa and Harry will travel alone to Botswana, Angola and Malawi.

The tour will mark the moment when the current Private Secretary, the widely respected Samantha Cohen signs off from her duties.

Ms Cohen, who moved from her position as Assistant Private Secretary to the Queen to run Harry and Meghan’s office, is leaving the Royal Household.