Royals

The Kiwi in charge of Meghan Markle’s every royal move

She was once at the centre of a royal scandal, but Clara Madden is now instrumental in helping Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in the lead up to their big day.

By Emma Land

Kiwi Clara Madden is no stranger to the royal family. The 31-year-old was a trusted aide to Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

She made such an impression on the royal couple that they made a point of meeting Clara's parents when they visited New Zealand in 2014, with William describing her as "the star of the office."

Since 2015 Madden has worked as an assistant to Prince Harry. And she has now been appointed projects manager for the prince and his fiancée Meghan Markle.

Meghan and Harry can relax knowing Clara has everything in hand.
Meghan and Harry can relax knowing Clara has everything in hand.

It is a key role which involves working closely with the couple to ensure everything runs smoothly in the lead-up to their much anticipated May wedding.

Madden is in charge of the couple's diary. She is responsible for making sure their public engagements run like clockwork, and according to reports out of the UK she was instrumental in the success of Meghan's first royal engagement.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's first official public engagement together in Nottingham was a success, largely thanks to Madden's planning.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's first official public engagement together in Nottingham was a success, largely thanks to Madden's planning.

While royal aides usually keep out of the spotlight, Madden inadvertently made international headlines in April 2016 when she was caught in the centre of a royal love triangle.

It was revealed that Nick Loughran, media advisor to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, had split with his girlfriend of two years Rebecca Deacon, private secretary to the Duchess of Cambridge, and had begun a relationship with Madden.

Nick Loughran with his then-partner Rebecca Deacon before their split.
Nick Loughran with his then-partner Rebecca Deacon before their split.

With all three parties working for Kensington Palace, the behind the scenes drama caused quite a stir within royal circles and only months after news of the scandal broke, Loughran had left his job with Kensington Palace and took up a position at London Public Relations firm Freuds.

Nick Loughran in September 2016 on his last day working for William and Kate.
Nick Loughran in September 2016 on his last day working for William and Kate.

His relationship with Madden flourished, however. She brought him home to New Zealand to meet her family in January 2017 and the pair married in the UK in December 2017.

Clara Madden married Nick Loughran in December 2017.
Clara Madden married Nick Loughran in December 2017.

The Madden family ties to the royals don't end with Clara. Her brother Nick is a member of a capella choir The Queen's Six. The group live on the grounds of Windsor Castle and regularly perform for the royal family, including at state occasions.

While it hasn't yet been confirmed if members of The Queen's Six will be involved in Harry and Meghan's wedding, the odds are good. The six also make up part of the wider St George's Chapel choir, who perform at services held at St George's Chapel, where Harry and Meghan will get married.

Previous royal performances at the chapel have included the 1999 wedding of Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones, and the 2005 marriage dedication of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles.

Clara's brother Nick Madden, 2nd from right, poses with other members of The Queen's Six choir.
Clara's brother Nick Madden, 2nd from right, poses with other members of The Queen's Six choir.

In a post on The Queen's Six official Facebook page, the group joked that they were waiting by the phone after the announcement on the royal wedding was made.

"We are thrilled and excited for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as they prepare to get married at St George's, Windsor next year. We wish them every happiness! Waits by the phone," the post read.

With details of the upcoming nuptials being drip-fed in the lead up to the big day, we could yet see another Kiwi involved in the wedding of the year.