Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are set to sit-down for a tell-all with Oprah Winfrey in the coming days, and just as the couple prepare for the “no topics off-limit” interview, The Times has reported that the Duchess of Sussex has been accused of bullying by Palace staff. The timing is interesting, to say the least, and the now-pregnant duchess has been forced to issue a statement denying the accusations, calling out the accusations as a “calculated smear campaign.”
Per The Times report, Markle’s behaviour at the palace led to a written complaint in October 2018 by the couple’s former communications secretary, who claimed the duchess “drove two personal assistants out of the household and undermined the confidence of a third staff member.” Further allegations claim that several palace staffers were bullied by Markle and were often reduced to tears by her “unacceptable” behaviour.
The story also notes that Markle wore earrings, which were a wedding gift from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, during a royal visit to Fiji, who is said by US intelligence agencies to have “approved the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”
Following the article, Buckingham Palace announced it would be investigating the accusations made against Markle, releasing a statement that said they were “concerned” over the allegations.
“Accordingly our HR team will look into the circumstances outlined in the article,” the statement, released via royal reporter Omid Scobie, said. “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.”
Buckingham Palace’s statement continued, “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.”
A representative for Markle denied all of the claims to The Times, and, unsurprisingly, questioned the timing of the article. “Let’s just call this what it is—a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation,” the statement read. “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.”
In an additional statement to People, the representative said Markle was “saddened by this latest attack on her character,” especially as “someone who has been the target of bullying herself and is deeply committed to supporting those who have experienced pain and trauma.”
Markle and Harry’s interview with Oprah will be airing on March 7.