Meghan Markle has denied detailed allegations of “intimidating” her former Buckingham Palace staff and accused opponents of running a “calculated smear campaign” ahead of her highly publicized CBS interview with Oprah Winfrey on Sunday.
If Meghan and Prince Harry had anticipated an open field to criticize the royal family and / or express various grievances, certain Buckingham Palace sources seem determined to torpedo their ambitions before Sunday night.
The royal helpers said The times London that Meghan was the subject of an official bullying complaint filed in October 2018 by Jason Knauf, Meghan and Harry’s former communications secretary. The times reported that the complaint detailed how Meghan allegedly “expelled two personal assistants from the home and was undermining the trust of a third staff member.” Prince Harry asked Knauf not to go ahead with the complaint, a source told the newspaper.
“The staff were sometimes reduced to tears” because of the Duchess, The times reported. An aide, anticipating a confrontation with Meghan, told a colleague: “I can’t stop shaking.” Another attendee stated that it felt “more like emotional cruelty and manipulation, which I suppose could also be called bullying.”
Knauf, in an email to Simon Case, then private secretary to the Duke of Cambridge, said the palace’s head of human resources, Samantha Carruthers, “agreed with me on every point that the situation was very dire.” He added: “I am still concerned that nothing will be done.”
“I am very concerned that the Duchess was able to intimidate two personal assistants outside the home last year. The treatment of X * was totally unacceptable… The Duchess seems determined to always have someone in her sights.“
– Jason knauf
Knauf, who is now executive director of the Royal Foundation of Prince William and Kate Middleton, said in his email: “I am very concerned that the Duchess has been able to intimidate two APs outside the home over the past year. X’s treatment was totally unacceptable … The Duchess seems determined to always have someone in her sights. She is bullying Y and seeking to undermine her trust. We have received report after report from people who have witnessed unacceptable behavior towards Y. “
Sympathetic sources around Harry and Meghan conveyed their frustration and pain with the attitudes of palace officials in Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family.
However, palace sources said The times that the bullying allegations had not been investigated by the palace and that officials had made Meghan more “welcome” than the couple’s supporters had long claimed. A source said of the bullying complaint: “I think the problem is that not much happened to her. It was, ‘How can we make this go away?’ Instead of tackling it. “
Another source said The times: “The older people in the home, Buckingham Palace and Clarence House, knew they had a situation where staff members, particularly young women, were being bullied to the point of tears. The institution simply protected Meghan constantly. All the men in gray suits that she hates have a lot to answer for, because they did absolutely nothing to protect people. “
The newspaper said sources were now speaking ahead of Meghan’s interview on Sunday night to give their opinion on Harry and Meghan’s royal life, presumably anticipating that it may be very different from what the couple might convey to Winfrey. The broadcast of the interview, the result of two years of planning by Meghan and Winfrey, is being criticized as untimely given Prince Philip’s illness and hospitalization.
Buckingham Palace declined to comment The times.
“Let’s call this what it is: a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation.“
– Spokesman for the Sussexes
The newspaper also details how Meghan wore earrings to a formal dinner in 2018 that were a wedding gift from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom the CIA concluded last week had ordered the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
The dinner took place three weeks after Khashoggi’s death. At the time, Meghan said that the earrings were loaned. “The Duchess does not deny that this is what she said, despite being aware of where it came from.” The times reported.
In a statement to The times, A spokesman for the Sussexes said of the various allegations: “Let’s call this what it is: a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation. We are disappointed to see that this defamatory portrait of the Duchess of Sussex has been given credibility by one media outlet. It is not a coincidence that distorted allegations from several years ago aimed at undermining the Duchess are being reported to the British media shortly before she and the Duke speak openly and honestly about their experience of the past few years.
“In a detailed legal letter of rebuttal to The times, we have addressed these defamatory claims in their entirety, including false allegations regarding the use of gifts loaned to The Duchess by The Crown. The Duchess is saddened by this latest attack on her character, particularly as someone who has been bullied and is deeply committed to supporting those who have experienced pain and trauma. She is determined to continue her work building compassion around the world and will continue to strive to set an example of doing what is right and what is good. “