The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, is facing allegations that she bullied staffers and royal aides while living at Kensington Palace for a brief period following her marriage to Prince Harry in May 2018.
The accusations have been fiercely denied by spokespeople for the Duchess, who have suggested that Meghan is the victim of a “calculated smear campaign” in the run-up to the airing of her and Harry’s interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The Times in the UK reported on Tuesday that they were approached by unnamed sources who say when Meghan Markle was based at Kensington Palace, she forced at least two senior staffers to leave their jobs.
She is accused of regularly reducing staffers to tears, and on one occasion, a staffer who was expecting a confrontation with the Duchess, allegedly told a colleague, “I can’t stop shaking.”
One former aide claimed they had been personally “humiliated” by the Suits actress, and another told The Times they’d been subjected to “emotional cruelty and manipulation.”
Senior staff reportedly expressed ‘concern’ about Meghan Markle
Meghan and Harry’s communications assistant at the time, Jason Knauf, is said to have reported on the situation in October 2018. In an email, Knauf reportedly wrote: “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 was totally unacceptable.”
He is said to have continued: “The Duchess seems intent on always having someone in her sights. She is bullying Y and seeking to undermine her confidence. We have had report after report from people who have witnessed unacceptable behavior towards Y.”
He reportedly added: “I remain concerned that nothing will be done.”
The Times sources also claimed that Buckingham Palace seemed more concerned at brushing these complaints under the carpet and protecting Meghan instead of seeking to resolve the situation.
Meghan Markle denies accusations of bullying
The Duchess of Sussex has denied the allegations and has said she is “saddened” by the “attack on her character.”
A spokesperson for the Duchess released a statement which read: “The Duchess is saddened by this latest attack on her character, particularly as someone who has been the target of bullying herself and is deeply committed to supporting those who have experienced pain and trauma.”
The statement added: “She is determined to continue her work building compassion around the world and will keep striving to set an example for doing what is right and doing what is good.”
People Magazine has reported how some observers see the accusations as an attack on Meghan in retaliation for the upcoming tell-all interview she and her husband have recorded with Oprah Winfrey, due to be aired this Sunday, March 7.
Spokesperson says Duchess is victim of ‘smear campaign’
A spokesperson for the Sussexes’ said The Times article was part of a smear campaign: “Let’s just call this what it is — a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation. We are disappointed to see this defamatory portrayal of The Duchess of Sussex given credibility by a media outlet.”
The spokesperson also claimed it was a deliberate attack due to the upcoming interview: “It’s no coincidence that distorted several-year-old accusations aimed at undermining The Duchess are being briefed to the British media shortly before she and The Duke are due to speak openly and honestly about their experience of recent years.”
This latest controversy has flared up just two weeks after the Sussexes confirmed they would not be returning to the UK as working Royals. Their decision caused the Queen to revoke their royal patronages and Prince Harry’s honorary military titles.
Meghan also recently won a court victory against a British tabloid after the Mail On Sunday newspaper was found to have breached her privacy.