United Kingdom

MEGHAN 'BULLY' CLAIM: Duchess 'bullied two of her staff' during her time as a working royal

A bullying complaint was lodged against the Duchess of Sussex by a senior member of Kensington Palace staff before she and Prince Harry quit as working royals, it was dramatically claimed last night.

The Times reported it was made in October 2018 by Jason Knauf, who worked as communications secretary to Harry and Meghan. 

He is said to have claimed the duchess 'drove two personal assistants out of the household and was undermining the confidence of a third staff member'.

The newspaper says Mr Knauf, who now heads the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's charitable foundation, seemingly acted to get Buckingham Palace to protect staff he claimed were coming under unbearable pressure from Meghan. It further claims Harry 'pleaded' with him not to pursue the allegations.

The Times also reported a spokesman for the Sussexes vehemently denied the claims, saying they were 'the victims of a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation'.

Sensationally, the couple's lawyers told the newspaper it was 'being used by Buckingham Palace to peddle a wholly false narrative' before this weekend's interview with Oprah Winfrey.

They said the duchess was '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'. 

A bullying complaint was lodged against the Duchess of Sussex by a senior member of Kensington Palace staff before she and Prince Harry quit as working royals, it was dramatically claimed last night

The Mail also approached a spokesman for the Sussexes for comment. The Times said it was contacted by sources who felt a 'partial version' had emerged of Meghan's two years as a working royal.

It makes clear they wished to tell their side in advance of Sunday's 'tell all' television interview, which is likely to make uncomfortable viewing for Buckingham Palace. 

The newspaper says Mr Knauf sent his email to Simon Case, then the Duke of Cambridge's private secretary and now the cabinet secretary, after conversations with Samantha Carruthers, the head of HR. Mr Case then forwarded it to Miss Carruthers, who was based at Clarence House.

In his email Mr Knauf also made clear he was concerned nothing had been done, or would be done in future, to protect palace staff. 

The Times quotes from his email, which is alleged to say: 'I am very concerned the duchess was able to bully two PAs out of the household in the past year. The treatment of X* was totally unacceptable.' 

He added: '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 behaviour towards Y.' 

The Times reported it was made in October 2018 by Jason Knauf, who worked as communications secretary to Harry and Meghan

A bullying complaint was lodged against the Duchess of Sussex by a senior member of Kensington Palace staff before she and Prince Harry quit as working royals, it was dramatically claimed last night 

After Harry was told about the complaint a source insists he had a meeting with Mr Knauf in which he begged him not to pursue it, The Times says. Lawyers for the duke and duchess deny that any meeting took place.

The newspaper also claimed Meghan wore a pair of diamond earrings to a dinner in Fiji in 2018 that were a wedding gift from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, said by the US to have approved the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

The dinner took place three weeks after the killing. At the time it was reported the earrings were borrowed. The Times says Meghan does not deny this was what she said, despite being aware of their provenance.

Lawyers for the duchess denied she had misled anyone about their provenance. The couple's lawyers told The Times it was 'being used by Buckingham Palace to peddle a wholly false narrative' before the interview. 

Buckingham Palace declined to comment when contacted by the Mail. The duchess denies bullying and her lawyers stated that one individual left after findings of misconduct.

The spokesman for the Sussexes said in a statement to The Times: 'Let's just call this what it is ‚ÄĒ 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.'

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