While the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were attending a rather sombre event on Wednesday (Nov, 28), royal watchers may have noticed a new team member by her side. In a photo, the duchess can be seen being handed a bouquet of beautiful white flowers by her Assistant Private Secretary Natalie Barrows – but make no mistake, she’s actually been part of the team for 18 months!
Natalie has a big job – on top of helping the mother-of-three arrange her official programs and royal engagements, she also briefs the duchess on the people she’ll be meeting, making sure that not a detail goes missed. Like most other senior members of royalty, the 36-year-old always has her assistant close behind during walkabouts as they often help collect generous gifts from well-wishers. She’s also responsible for organizing schedules, coordinating the couple’s diaries, managing her correspondence and ensuring that travel arrangements go smoothly.
It wasn’t long after bringing Natalie onto the team that Kate hired Catherine Quinn, who took over from Private Secretary Rebecca Priestley in October of last year. Catherine has quite the impressive resume, which is likely what caught Duchess Kate’s attention! Having previously worked as the chief operating officer and associate dean for administration at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School, and being the recipient of an MBA, it’s no wonder she was perfect for the job.
Given how closely the royals work with their personal secretaries, it must take some getting used to when teams inevitably change over the years – and 2018 brought more than a few! Back in April, Prince Harry’s private secretary, Ed Lane Fox, stepped down after five years as the prince’s right-hand man, and one month earlier Prince William’s secretary, Miguel Head, announced that he would be leaving. Most recently, Duchess Meghan’s personal assistant left her position after six months.