Do you have what it takes to work for the Duchess?

Duchess of Cambridge and Rebecca Deacon in 2016 Image copyright PA
Image caption The Duchess's private secretary Rebecca Deacon will be standing down in the summer

Conversations with headhunters will take place soon.

However, anyone who lets slip they might be in the running to be the Duchess's private secretary will not end up sitting behind an antique desk at Kensington Palace.

The successful candidate will be discreet, self-effacing and efficient. A sense of humour and a sense of the absurd will be very necessary personal qualities.

An ability to collect flowers from members of the public and to provide fashion advice won't be written into the job description.

In public, they'll be a hovering presence and they'll call the duchess Your Royal Highness and Ma'am (to rhyme with jam); whether they call her Catherine in private depends on how well their relationship develops.

The new private secretary will be appointed at a critical time. With the Queen a month away from her 91st birthday, the Cambridges will take on more royal duties.

In the coming years the duchess' diet of engagements will grow and will be managed by her newest member of staff.

This senior royal official will be an adviser, a confidante and, at the end of the day, a servant.

They'll have a privileged position inside the House of Windsor bubble and, if they're wise, they won't overstay their welcome.

When they do leave, like Rebecca Deacon before them, they'll know they'll have played a part in shaping, as things stand, the life of a future Queen Consort.

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