In a Rare Interview, a Former Royal Aide Reveals What Life at the Palace Was Really Like

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A Rare Interview with a Royal AideMax Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images

Working closely with the royal family isn't always a walk in the park. With packed schedules and constant public attention, the royals have a lot going on—and consequently, so do the people on their staffs. But palace aides are rarely known to speak out about the famous family they serve. All that said, Samantha Cohen, who worked prominently with the royal family for 18 years, has broken that silent streak in a new interview with the Herald Sun featuring a few insider insights about life on the other side of the palace gates.

For starters, Cohen spoke highly of the late Queen Elizabeth as an employer, and even even revealed that she had her own room at the royal residence. “I was away working a lot with a young family but the Queen made it easy, if there was an evening function I’d stay over and sleep in my own bedroom at Windsor so I didn’t have to drive back to London at night," she said told the publication. "When we were on duty at Balmoral we could bring our families, my children had summer holidays there and, when I was on duty every two years at Sandringham, they came there for Christmas, it was a beautiful time." She added, "The Queen and I used to talk a lot. I miss her, she was a special woman."

And while one might assume that the queen only expected the highest levels of precision, Cohen reveals that Elizabeth actually "loved it" when things went awry, explaining the late monarch's delight in the unexpected, "if a cake was not cutting, or a plaque didn’t unveil, because everything was so perfectly organized it spiced her life up when things went wrong.”

It echoes a sentiment both Prince William and Prince Harry shared in a documentary about their grandfather, Prince Philip, in 2021. "Both my grandparents love [when things go wrong]," William said, "because you can imagine they live a life where everything has to go right the whole time, so when things go wrong, they both chuckle an awful lot. Everyone else gets mortally embarrassed, but they love it."

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Cohen was one of a select number of attendees at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding in 2018. Pool - Getty Images

Cohen was so close with the late queen, that she was often photographed traveling with the royal. She later worked on a team for Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, before they stepped back from their roles as working royals, and even accompanied them on their 2019 royal tour of South Africa.

Of course, it wasn't all laughs managing the royal goings-on. In fact, Cohen was once dubbed "Samantha the Panther" by the media for rejecting a celebrity would-be-guest. “The name came about when I was in a junior position at Buckingham Palace and overseeing an event with high profile celebrities when an agent called asking if someone was on the guest list and I said ‘sorry they’re not’," she explained, "They kept phoning back and I said ‘I’m sorry we can’t invite everyone’. The next day I was in the press. I hadn’t shouted. If anything I was new and trying hard to be nice.”

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