There’s a new member of Team Sussex.
According to multiple reports, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have appointed a new private secretary, Fiona Mcilwham. A former British Ambassador to Albania and “wannabe” supermom (according to her Twitter bio) will serve as the top aide for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Buckingham Palace declined Vogue’s request for comment.
But if the rumors are true, it wouldn’t be the only impressive hire Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have made in the last few months. In March, Sarah Latham, a former senior advisor for Hilary Clinton’s campaign, signed on as PR Manager.
Along with Heather Wong, their deputy private secretary who worked as a political appointee in the Obama administration, the Duke and Duchess are apparently building quite the office—and a female-led one at that. In fact, the Mail on Sunday, which first announced the news, says all the royal couples’ senior employees are women.
Both Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have described themselves as feminists. “I’ve said for a long time: You can be feminine and feminist. You can be masculine. And I think in terms of masculinity, you understand that your strength includes knowing your vulnerabilities and your sense of self and security,” the Duchess said during a panel on International Women’s Day. The term “feminist” is also used in her official royal bio. In January, Prince Harry identified himself as a feminist during an official engagement.
Of course, simply saying you’re a feminist is different than advancing the cause. But in ways big and small, House Sussex is showing a clear commitment to female empowerment. Take the Duchess’s birthday cake, made from a bakery that teaches skills to socially and economically disadvantaged women. Or her decision to wear rising fashion star Grace Wales Bonner for her first public appearance with baby Archie. Or her patronage, Smart Works, which helps at-risk women with job training. Or, a plethora of overseas appearances: their visit to a girls school in Morocco, the Duchess’s speech in New Zealand about the women’s suffrage movement. Then, their global baby shower—the couple encouraged supporters to donate to charities supporting women and children after a grassroots campaign emerged on social media.
So while the hiring of these qualified women isn’t something that should be overly lauded in 2019 (see: the word qualified), it suggests that the momentum behind these aforementioned initiatives is only growing.
It may already be having a direct impact since, even in the royal family, there’s a problem with equal pay: in the Queen’s household, there was a 12.39% pay gap between male and female employees, according to a 2018 report from the Royal Household. “Looking at the reason for the continuing gap, it is still being driven by a higher proportion of men than women in the senior leadership team, in higher-paid roles,” it states.
But in House Sussex, it looks like this will no longer be the case.
Originally Appeared on Vogue