Buckingham Palace Hires Lawyers to Investigate Claims Meghan Bullied Staff: Report

TUPOU COLLEGE TOLOA, TONGA - OCTOBER 26: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex talks with students during a visit to Tupou College in Tonga on October 26, 2018. Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are on day 11 of their 16-day tour of Australia and the South Pacific. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth …
Kirsty Wigglesworth - Pool/Getty Images

Buckingham Palace has hired external investigators to look into claims that Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, had bullied royal staff, with a source telling British media: “There are some harrowing stories to tell.”

Media had reported earlier this month on a complaint from 2018, when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were still living at Kensington Palace, that Meghan had forced two personal assistants to leave and she had allegedly “undermin[ed] the confidence” of a third member of staff.

One royal source speaking to The Times on Sunday said that “the actual worst incidences haven’t come out. There are some harrowing stories to tell.”

While another source from within Buckingham Palace told Britain’s newspaper of record: “There’s a lot that could come out in the wash that hasn’t been told.”

In 2018, Jason Knauf, the couple’s then-communications secretary, had reportedly sent an email to the Duke of Cambridge Prince William’s then-private secretary Simon Case, saying: “I am very concerned that the Duchess was able to bully two PAs out of the household in the past year. The treatment of X [name redacted by The Times] was totally unacceptable.”

Mr Knauf added: “The Duchess seems intent on always having someone in her sights. She is bullying Y [name redacted by The Times] and seeking to undermine her confidence. We have had report after report from people who have witnessed unacceptable behaviour towards Y.”

The sources also described how the tense atmosphere at Kensington Palace, which the Sussexes shared with the Cambridges until early 2019, left staff in a state of fear, with one, anticipating a conflict with Meghan, reportedly telling a colleague: “I can’t stop shaking.”

Reports from earlier this month claimed that at least 10 former staff members are allegedly ready to discuss claims that colleagues were “humiliated” and victims of “emotional cruelty and manipulation” by the Duchess of Sussex.

Sources speaking to The Times on Sunday also denied Prince Harry’s claims that Prince Charles had financially him cut off or allegations Meghan had not received help when she complained of mental health struggles.

“It was a surprise to hear he’d been cut off, given the bank statements. The prince continued to provide Harry and Meghan with financial support after their move to America, while they found their feet,” a source close to the Prince of Wales told the newspaper.

Another insider said that Harry and Meghan’s mental health was a “very open part of the conversations generally” in the offices.

Another contested statement made during last week’s interview was that the couple had been married by the Archbishop of Canterbury privately and alone in their garden days before their public, multi-million-pound wedding. The claim raised questions as Church of England rules stipulate a couple already married cannot be married again, any marriage requires two witnesses, and marriages should take place indoors.

Speaking to ChronicleLive on Sunday, Rev Mark Edwards said that when he spoke to a member of staff at Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s official London residence, the source confirmed that “[Archbishop Justin Welby] had a private conversation with the couple in the garden about the wedding, but I can assure you, no wedding took place until the televised national event.”

Buckingham Palace had decided to bring in an external law firm to handle the investigation rather than undertaking it internally. Details are not expected to be made public so that those giving evidence can “feel comfortable”, insiders said.

According to Times sources, no timeframe has been set, but it is expected to start shortly. However, the Sussexes have not been invited to take part, with the Mail on Sunday reporting that Meghan had allegedly demanded to see texts, emails, and other documents related to the complaints against her.

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