- Buckingham Palace is investigating claims that Meghan Markle bullied members of the royal staff.
- The Times reported on Tuesday that Markle “humiliated” a staffer and made others cry.
- The allegations come ahead of Prince Harry and Markle’s sit-down interview with Oprah.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Buckingham Palace is investigating allegations that Meghan Markle bullied members of the royal staff, according to a new statement from the palace.
“We are clearly very concerned about allegations in The Times following claims made by former staff of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex,” the palace said in a statement obtained by Insider on Wednesday.
“Accordingly our HR team will look into the circumstances outlined in the article,” the statement went on to say. “Members of staff involved at the time, including those who have left the Household, will be invited to participate to see if lessons can be learned.”
“The Royal Household has had a Dignity at Work policy in place for a number of years and does not and will not tolerate bullying or harassment in the workplace,” the same statement read.
The investigation comes after The Times of London reported that the duchess bullied two senior staff members during her time with the royal family. Representatives for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have since denied these allegations.
On Tuesday evening, The Times’ Valentine Low reported that an anonymous senior staff member said Markle “humiliated” them, while others were “reduced to tears” by her.
The Times also reported that Jason Knauf, Markle and Prince Harry’s communications secretary at the time, filed an official complaint about the duchess to the palace’s HR department in October 2018, as Insider’s Mikhaila Friel previously reported. No action was taken as a result of the complaint.
A spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex denied the claims to The Times, saying that the allegations were intended to undermine Prince Harry and Markle’s interview with Oprah, which will air on CBS on Sunday.
“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 said in a statement obtained by The Times.
“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.”
“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 spokesperson 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.”
According to The Times, Knauf reportedly sent an email to Simon Case, who was the Duke of Cambridge’s private secretary in 2018, regarding a conversation he had with the head of palace HR, Samantha Carruthers.
“I am very concerned that the Duchess was able to bully two PAs out of the household in the past year,” Knauf reportedly wrote, saying that Carruthers “agreed with me on all counts that the situation was very serious.”
The email went on to say that he and Carruthers “have had report after report from people who have witnessed unacceptable behavior” to an individual staff member who was kept anonymous in The Times’ reporting.
“The institution just protected Meghan constantly,” an unnamed source told The Times. “All the men in grey suits who she hates have a lot to answer for, because they did absolutely nothing to protect people.”
But in July 2020, legal representatives for Markle said that she was “prohibited from defending herself” and “unprotected by the institution,” as Friel previously reported, contradicting Knauf’s email.
Representatives for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on the investigation.