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Queen Elizabeth “Loved It When Things Went Wrong” During Public Engagements

The late queen’s life was planned down to the minute, but an aide said she loved it when “a cake was not cutting or a plaque didn’t unveil” because “it spiced up her life.”

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For years, Queen Elizabeth II had a busy schedule that included hundreds of intricately planned engagements where she met with regular people and saw sights across the world. But according to one of her longtime aides, she was more free-spirited than you might think. Samantha Cohen, who worked for the queen for 18 years, told Australian newspaper The Herald Sun, that despite the preparation that went into an engagement for the queen, she was very tolerant when things didn’t go according to plan.

“The Queen had no ego,” Cohen said. “She was so comfortable in herself, yet she loved it when things went wrong—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.”

Australian-born Cohen, who is now chief of staff for mining company Rio Tinto, served as the head of royal communications, assistant and deputy private secretary to the queen, and private secretary to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry during her two decades of service to the palace. She told the newspaper that her role with the queen meant that she sometimes stayed in her own bedroom at Windsor Castle after evening events. “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.”

Cohen told The Herald Sun that the tours to Australia were her favorite parts of her job with the queen. “I loved, loved, loved the job as the Queen’s assistant private secretary,” she said. “They were happy times because the Queen was in great form, and Aussies are liked by the royals because we’re outside the hierarchy and we don’t take ourselves seriously.”

Cohen added that she thinks the royal family is good for Australia. “I think the royals do an extraordinary job and the relationship between the two countries is special. It’s always been symbiotic,” she said. “I think they are a wonderful asset for this country and the Commonwealth, including Australia.”

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