Bullying or just high standards? Why royal report into Meghan Markle's behavior is being buried
Buckingham Palace has decided to keep details about claims of Meghan Markle's alleged bullying a secret, and now many are wondering whether the Duchess was really a bully or had sky-high standards.
Royal aides announced in March last year that they were launching an inquiry into claims that Meghan's "belittling" behavior towards staff drove two female personal assistants out of the household and "undermined the confidence" of another. However, Buckingham Palace effectively buried a review into the claims, without sharing any reasons why the report cannot be made public.
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According to The Times, Meghan had "always prided herself on being a good boss." The newspaper stated that while working in the American TV series 'Suits', the future royal would sometimes buy the crew pizza. There was also an occasion at Kensington Palace -- as recounted by People magazine in February 2019 -- when she allegedly paid for an ice cream stand for staff. “They were remarking how it was the ‘best day of work ever,’” a friend told the outlet. However, some others who worked for Meghan when she was a working royal appeared to have less fond memories. "Staff were bullied, according to sources, and some were reduced to tears. One said they were humiliated by her on a number of occasions," the Times reported, before noting how two PAs were driven out of the household due to her alleged bullying.
Richard Kay, the Daily Mail's editor-at-large, chimed in on the Palace's decision to bury the report. “Fast forward to June 2022 and now the sound of derision is becoming uncomfortably loud," he wrote in an op-ed for the newspaper. "Fifteen months after the matter became public and a little short of four years since the bullying claims were first privately raised, it is clear that the allegations are still being buried. The Palace’s internal inquiry into how claims of Meghan’s ‘belittling’ behavior were handled, which was announced in March last year (albeit with no focus on any specific allegations), will, conveniently, not be made public."
“This appears to mean that peace with the Sussexes — a peace at any price — is preferable to showing what lessons might have been learned from the whole shabby episode," Kay continued. “As one exasperated old Palace hand told me: ‘Once again, the public will think it’s a case of how can we make this go away rather than actually addressing it.’ It remains to be seen if this approach is enough to stem a rising chorus of criticism," the journalist added.
Buckingham Palace said lessons had been learned from a review into the bullying allegations made by royal staff against the Duchess of Sussex, albeit there was no indication of the report's conclusion. The HR review was announced last March after the allegations surfaced, including claims that she had reduced some of her assistants to tears and mistreated others so badly that they resigned. Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry, subsequently issued a statement denying she had bullied anyone. Shortly after, they sat down with Oprah Winfrey for an explosive interview in which Meghan accused the palace of "perpetuating falsehoods."
The Queen's treasurer Michael Stevens said the privately-funded review had been established to examine the handling of the accusations and to improve practices across royal households overall. “The review has been completed and recommendations on our policies and procedures have been taken forward," Stevens said in a statement. "But we will not be commenting further."
Back in October 2018, a senior aide to Harry and Meghan reportedly raised a complaint alleging that the duchess had bullied some of her assistants and that her husband had asked the aide to stop pursuing the issue. Nonetheless, the Palace launched a review saying it was "very concerned" about the allegations and that all who had participated had been informed of its outcome. However, royal sources did not say whether the Duchess herself was involved in the probe, and her lawyers vehemently denied the allegations when they were made. “I think the objectives have been satisfied because lessons have been learned," a senior royal source was quoted as saying following the Palace's decision not to make the report public.