Buckingham Palace on Wednesday announced that its human resources department would investigate accusations by former employees that Duchess of Sussex Meghan had bullied her staff, Reuters reported. Meghan, a former American actor, is the wife of Prince Harry.
The Royal Household said it was “clearly very concerned about allegations” contained in an article in The Times of London.
The Times newspaper ran a report on Wednesday, citing unidentified sources as saying that an aide to Harry and Meghan had raised a complaint in October 2018 alleging that she had reduced some of her assistants to tears, and treated others so badly that they had quit. The paper said Harry had urged the aide, who has now left their staff, to drop the complaint, and it never progressed.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the Buckingham Palace said it “does not and will not tolerate bullying or harassment in the workplace”. It said its human resources team would look into the allegations, and that members of staff involved at the time would be invited to participate.
Meghan’s spokesperson denied the allegations on her behalf, saying the duchess 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”, The Washington Post reported.
The public relations aide said that Meghan “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”.
“Let’s just call this what it is – a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation,” the spokesperson added. “We are disappointed to see this defamatory portrayal of the Duchess of Sussex given credibility by a media outlet.”
The Oprah Winfrey interview
Meghan and Harry, who married in May 2018, stepped back from their official duties in March last year to forge new careers and a financially independent life in California, United States. The decision was confirmed last month, when they also handed over all their royal patronages.
The latest tussle between the Royal Family and the couple came ahead of Meghan and Harry’s appearance on a two-hour CBS special interview with Oprah Winfrey. An advance excerpt of the interview was released on Wednesday, hours after Buckingham Palace released the statement announcing it would inquire into the allegations against Meghan.
In the interview, Meghan alleged that Buckingham Palace was “perpetuating falsehoods” about her and her husband.
“How do you feel about the Palace hearing you speak your truth today?” Winfrey asks Meghan in the excerpt.
She responded: “I don’t know how they could expect that after all of this time, we would still just be silent, if there is an active role that ‘The Firm’ is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us.” The Firm is the name that the British royal family sometimes uses to describe itself.
“And if that comes with risk of losing things, I mean, there’s a lot that’s been lost already,” Meghan added.