Meghan Markle Slams Bullying Claims From Royal Staffers, Calls It A 'Calculated Smear Campaign'
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle aren't the only ones speaking out. Just days ahead of their bombshell tell-all with Oprah Winfrey, the two have come under fire after new allegations aimed at the Duchess of Sussex surfaced.
Five days before the highly anticipated interview is set to air on Sunday, March 7, a new report accused Meghan of bullying her royal staffers while she was still a working member of the royal family — something her office has heavily refuted.
“Let’s just call this what it is — a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation,” a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said in a statement, while noting: “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,” referring to the couple's upcoming special with Winfrey.
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"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 statement 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."
Buckingham Palace has since declined to comment on the allegations to the UK Times, who reported the "bullying" claims from her staffers. However, royal sources told Daily Mail that the claims made by the ex-staff members were not orchestrated by the palace or the royal family, as they are busy dealing with Prince Philip — who was admitted to the hospital two weeks ago as a "precautionary measure."
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According to the new report, the complaint against Meghan was made in October 2018 by the couple's former communications secretary, Jason Knauf. At the time, Knauf claimed Meghan "drove two personal assistants out of the household and was undermining the confidence of a third staff member."
Knauf reportedly sent an email to the Duke of Cambridge's private secretary, Simon Case, who is now the cabinet secretary, after conversations with Samantha Carruthers, the head of HR.
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According to Daily Mail, the email read: "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. 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 behavior towards Y."
After learning of Knauf's complaint, Harry allegedly insisted on meeting with the couple's former communications secretary and begged him not to pursue the complaint. Lawyers for the Duke and Duchess denied the meeting ever took place, The Times reported.
Meghan's alleged treatment to her royal staffers comes as she and Harry get ready to air their primetime 90-minute sit down with Winfrey. After years of staying quiet, the duo will finally have the chance to talk about their decision to leave their royal life behind, the intense public pressure they endured and more.
"I just want to make it clear to everybody there is no subject that's off-limits," Winfrey said in a sneak peek of the interview before she asked: "Were you silent or were you silenced?"
However, the debut of the special also comes as Prince Philip battles a pre-existing heart condition in the hospital. As OK! previously reported, many worry that this may be the end of the road for the Duke of Edinburgh, 99, as royal commentators beg Harry and Meghan to hold off on releasing the interview until Philip's health scare is taken care of.