Is Meghan Markle a 'bully'? Duchess accused of 'emotional cruelty' in bullying claims at Kensington Palace
As Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are set to sit down with Oprah Winfrey for a much-anticipated interview on Sunday, March 7, a new report is leveling allegations by royal aids against the Duchess of Sussex of being a bully.
On Tuesday, March 2, The Times reported that the Duchess of Sussex faced a bullying complaint made by one of her close advisers during her time as a working royal at Kensington Palace. The complaint was made in October 2018 by the couple's former communications secretary Jason Knauf, who claimed that Meghan drove two personal assistants out of the household and threatened a third staff member. The report also suggests that Knauf submitted the charges in an effort to protect palace staffers who were allegedly bullied by Markle, at times reduced to tears. One royal aide, who anticipated a confrontation with Meghan, is alleged to have told a colleague "I can't stop shaking."
The Times story also suggests that a source stated Harry pleaded with Knauf not to pursue the HR complaint. But the couple's lawyers deny that any meeting took place or that Markle would have interfered with any staff matter. Knauf allegedly sent an email to Simon Case, Prince William's private secretary at the time and now the cabinet secretary, after discussions with Samantha Carruthers, the head of HR. The case was then forwarded to Carruthers. In his email, Knauf said Carruthers "agreed with me on all counts that the situation was very serious." He added, "I remain concerned that nothing will be done."
In 2019, a lot of people who were close to Markle claimed that she herself was a target of "global bullying" by the tabloid press, with a friend noting, "Meg has silently sat back and endured the lies and untruths." A November 2018 report by The Daily Mail called the Duchess "Hurricane Meghan" and claimed that she "bombarded aides" with 5 am emails and texts.
Markle, through her spokesperson, called out the royal aides' report and claimed that this is another "attack" on her character ahead of her and Prince Harry's big Oprah interview airing this Sunday. In a statement to the outlet, the Duchess of Sussex's spokesperson said, "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. 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."
Meghan's communications team provided a fuller statement to The Times, echoing that sentiment: “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. 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."