Buckingham Palace said Wednesday it was launching an investigation after a newspaper reported that a former aide had made a bullying allegation against the Duchess of Sussex.
The Times of London reported allegations that the duchess drove out two personal assistants and left staff feeling “humiliated.” It said an official complaint was made by Jason Knauf, then the communications secretary to Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry. He now works for Harry’s elder brother, Prince William.
Also read: Meghan suit set for hearing in UK High Court
The palace said it was “clearly very concerned” about the allegations.
It said in a statement that the palace human resources team “will look into the circumstances outlined in the article” and would seek to speak to current and former staff.
“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,” it said.
American actress Meghan Markle, a former star of the TV legal drama “Suits,” married Harry, a grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son, Archie, was born the following year.
In early 2020, Meghan and Harry announced they were quitting royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. They recently bought a house in Santa Barbara, California, and are expecting a second child.
The bullying allegations were reported four days before the scheduled broadcast of an Oprah Winfrey interview with Meghan, which is anticipated to draw a huge audience. It also comes less than two weeks after the palace announced that the couple’s split from official duties would be final.
A spokesman for the duchess said she 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.”
In a 30-second clip released by CBS Wednesday night, Winfrey asks Meghan how she feels about the palace “hearing you speak your truth today?”
“I don't know how they could expect that after all of this time we would still just be silent if there was an active role that the firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us,” Markle says. “And if that comes with risk of losing things, I mean, there's been a lot that's been lost already.”
Prince Harry says the process of separating from royal life has been very difficult for him and his wife, Meghan.
In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Harry invoked the memory of his late mother, Princess Diana, who had to find her way alone after she and Prince Charles divorced.
“I’m just really relieved and happy to be sitting here talking to you with my wife by my side, because I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like for her going through this process by herself all those years ago,” Harry said, adding, “because it’s been unbelievably tough for the two of us.”
“But at least we have each other,” Harry said, in a clip from the interview special, which is scheduled to air March 7 on CBS and the following day in Britain. Diana was shown in a photo holding toddler Harry as he made the comments. His mother died in 1997 of injuries suffered in a car crash.
Harry and Meghan sat opposite Winfrey and side-by-side, holding hands during the interview that was conducted in a lush garden setting. The couple lives in Montecito, California, where they are neighbors of Winfrey. Meghan, who recently announced she is pregnant with the couple’s second child, wore an empire-style black dress with embroidery. Harry wore a light gray suit and white dress shirt, minus a tie.
As Meghan Markle, the actor starred in the TV legal drama “Suits.” She married Queen Elizabeth II’s grandson at Windsor Castle in May 2018, and their son, Archie, was born a year later.
The brief promotional clip was one of two of that aired Sunday during CBS’ news magazine “60 Minutes.” Winfrey’s questions and comment were predominant in the other clip, including her statement that, “You said some pretty shocking things here,” without an indication of what she was referring to. Meghan was not heard from in the clips.
Harry and Meghan stepped away from full-time royal life in March 2020, unhappy at media scrutiny and the strictures of their roles. They cited what they described as the intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media toward the duchess, who is African American.
It was agreed the situation would be reviewed after a year. On Feb. 19, Buckingham Palace confirmed that the couple will not be returning to royal duties and Harry will give up his honorary military titles — a decision that makes formal, and final, the couple’s split from the royal family.
The pair, also known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, verified “they will not be returning as working members of the Royal Family. “
A spokesperson for the couple hit back at suggestions that Meghan and Harry were not devoted to duty.
“As evidenced by their work over the past year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain committed to their duty and service to the U.K. and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organizations they have represented regardless of official role,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
Britain’s Prince William tested positive for the coronavirus in April, around the same time as his father Prince Charles, BBC reported.
The report cited unidentified palace sources and The Sun newspaper, which said William kept his telephone and video engagements without revealing his diagnosis because he didn’t want to worry anyone.
Kensington Palace declined to comment Sunday but did not deny the report.
The newspaper said William was treated by palace doctors and followed government guidelines by isolating at the family home Anmer Hall.
Prince Charles had mild COVID-19 symptoms in March. In his first public engagement after recovering, Charles revealed he lost his sense of taste and smell while he was sick.
William made a public appearance in mid-October with his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II, who was making her first public engagement outside of a royal residence since early March. They met with scientists at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down in southern England.
Prince William has joined forces with renowned British broadcaster and naturalist David Attenborough to launch a new environmental award, the Earthshot Prize, which has grand ambitions to “incentivize change and help to repair our planet over the next 10 years,” reports AP.
The prize takes its inspiration from the Moonshot challenge that President John F. Kennedy set for the U.S. in 1961 to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade.
William, who has been immersed in environmental issues all his life, said the same resources used to tackle the coronavirus pandemic should be devoted to saving the natural world.
“According to the experts, it really is the point of no return,” he told Sky News. “We have 10 years to fundamentally fix our planet.”
The plan envisions five prizes of 1 million pounds ($1.3 million) awarded each year for the next 10 years, providing at least 50 solutions to the world’s greatest environmental problems by 2030.
The first five Earthshots center on protecting and restoring nature, clean air, reviving oceans, building a waste-free world and fixing the climate.
“We very much hope that even if we can’t necessarily change the world in ten years’ time just from the prize alone, what we do hope is that, just like the Moonshot landings where they developed cat scanners, X-ray machines, breathing apparatus, stuff like that I think has been really, really important to come out of that,” William said.
Nominations open on Nov. 1 with an annual global awards ceremony held in a different city each year, starting with London in the fall of 2021. William will be part of the panel that makes the decisions.
The prize fund will be provided by the project’s global alliance founding partners, a group which includes the philanthropic bodies of billionaires like Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, Alibaba founder Jack Ma, and Michael Bloomberg.
Attenborough, 94, said time is of the essence.
“Suddenly there are real dangers that there may be a tipping point in which the icecaps of the North Pole begin to melt, which it’s doing already,” he told BBC radio. “It’s a matter of great urgency now.”
William also spoke about how his seven-year-old son, Prince George, is getting concerned about what’s going on in the world. He said his son was left so saddened by an Attenborough documentary about extinction that he told his father “I don’t want to watch this anymore.”
The Queen's marriage to Prince Phillip is the longest of any British sovereign. And next month, the Royal couple will reach the milestone of 73 years of marriage. But for the past seven decades, the couple have reportedly managed to keep one secret closely guarded — an inscription inside their wedding ring.
The British Queen's wedding ring, made in Welsh gold, is inscribed with a secret message, that even those closest to the Nonarch don't know, and was chosen by then young Prince Philip in 1947, a new book has revealed.
"At least Philip didn't have the expense of a wedding ring, as the people of Wales supplied a nugget of Welsh gold from which the ring was made. She never takes it off and inside the ring is an inscription. No one knows what it says, other than the engraver, the Queen and her husband," royal biographer Ingrid Seward wrote.
According to the book, 'Prince Philip: A Portrait of the Duke of Edinburgh', the Queen's engagement ring was also a gift, as her young husband then made it from a tiara that belonged to his mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg.
Princess Alice had received it as a gift from Tsar Nicholas II of Russia when she married Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark. And before proposing, Philip, now 99, had the tiara taken apart and repurposed the diamonds to make a ring for his bride-to-be, now 94, the 'Daily Mail' newspaper reported.
The couple got married on November 20, 1947, at Westminster Abbey.