New claims have emerged about the Duchess of Sussex ahead of her big television interview with Oprah Winfrey at the weekend.
The Times is reporting that Royal aides have “hit back” at Meghan by alleging that she faced “a bullying complaint made by one of her closest advisers” according to the newspaper’s royal correspondent Valentine Low.
He writes that the anonymous sources came to him as “they felt that only a partial version had emerged of Meghan’s two years as a working member of the royal family”.
Both the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have given an interview to their friend, the US TV star Oprah Winfrey, which will air in what the CBS network calls a “primetime special” on Sunday.
The complaint against Meghan – alleged in The Times – was made in October 2018 by the couple’s then communications chief, Jason Knauf who claimed that Meghan “drove two personal assistants out of the household and was undermining the confidence of a third staff member”.
At the time Mr Knauf was running the communications at Kensington Palace for both Prince William and Kate, and Prince Harry and Meghan.
He was also named in Meghan’s recent privacy case against the Mail on Sunday as the man appointed by the Palace to deal with the Duchess’ father Thomas Markle who had pulled out of the royal wedding in 2018.
According to The Times, Mr Knauf took the move to “protect staff who he claimed were coming under pressure” from Meghan.
The newspaper claims it has been told by a source that Prince Harry pleaded with his communications secretary not to send the complaint.
The Times’ royal correspondent writes that he was approached by sources who wanted to talk about the “turmoil” which existed between the time of Meghan’s arrival in 2017 and the couple’s decision to quit as working royals in 2020.
But the timing of the story – just days before Harry and Meghan’s two hour sit down interview with Oprah is broadcast – will raise eyebrows.
And it reaffirms that the Sussexes and the rest of the institution are at war following their acrimonious split last month, when the Queen took back all the royal patronages she had bestowed on her grandson and his wife.
The Times says Mr Knauf wrote an email to Prince William’s former Private Secretary Simon Case after conversations with the Royal Household’s HR chief.
Previous stories during Meghan’s time in the Royal Family hinted at discord with staff but this is the first time that claims have been made about a complaint of bullying.
Lawyers for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex say that The Times is “being used by Buckingham Palace to peddle a wholly false narrative” before the Oprah interview.
And a spokesperson for Harry and Meghan responded to the story saying: “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.
"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.”
ITV News has also contacted Kensington Palace, Jason Knauf and Simon Case who have not yet responded to our calls.
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