- Buckingham Palace is investigating claims that Meghan Markle bullied two staff members.
- The lawyer for 20 Epstein accusers says it’s an attempt to divert attention from Prince Andrew.
- The palace has protected Andrew over his friendship with Epstein.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Buckingham Palace is using the Meghan Markle bullying saga to divert attention from Prince Andrew’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, a lawyer representing Epstein’s accusers has suggested.
The palace said on March 3 that it was investigating claims published in The Times of London that Markle – who alongside her husband Prince Harry stepped back from their royal duties last year – had bullied two senior staff members.
A spokesperson for Markle said the allegations were “a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation.”
And in a statement Monday, Gloria Allred, who represents 20 of Epstein’s accusers, suggested the investigation was also a red herring.
“The investigation into Meghan Markle is a distraction, and it appears hypocritical under the circumstances. I have to wonder if it reflects a calculated decision to take the focus off of Prince Andrew” Allred said, according to The Guardian.
“Allegations about him are far worse than the allegations about Meghan Markle. Prince Andrew was a working royal when he became a friend of Jeffrey Epstein, who was a sexual predator.”
Striking a similar note, Carolyn Durand, who cowrote a biography of Harry and Markle, told Sky News on Friday: “Why were Prince Harry’s military honors stripped, but Prince Andrew’s haven’t been?”
The palace is yet to announce an internal investigation into Prince Andrew’s conduct, and Allred said it was “long overdue for the palace to change its priorities.”
One of Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Roberts Giuffre – whom Allred does not represent – has claimed that she was forced to have sex with Andrew on three occasions between 2001 and 2002, when she was 17 years old.
Giuffre says she was recruited for Epstein by the British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell while a student.
Andrew has repeatedly denied Giuffre’s allegations, and a Buckingham Palace spokesperson “emphatically denied” the allegations in a 2019 statement to Insider.
The prince is also accused of making sexual advances on women by Johanna Sjoberg, a woman who said he groped her at Epstein’s house 18 years ago. Buckingham Palace denies the claim.
The allegations of Meghan’s bullying in The Times were published days before CBS aired an interview in which Markle and Harry told the TV host Oprah Winfrey about their mistreatment by the royal family and the palace. The couple’s claims include:
- Markle saying she was “silenced” by the royal family and told to never comment on false news reports about her.
- Markle and Harry saying there were “concerns and conversations” among royals about how dark their son Archie’s skin would be before his birth.
- Markle saying she had suicidal thoughts after she joined the royal family.
- Harry saying the royals never acknowledged the tabloids’ racist coverage of Markle and did not offer their support.
More than a day after the Oprah interview was aired, the royal family has still not responded, and is said to be stuck in crisis talks.