Meghan Markle braced for ‘brutal showdown’ as ex-staff ‘line up’ to give bullying evidence
Sources say Duchess of Sussex will demand Palace hands over ‘point-by-point’ details of alleged wrongdoing
Meghan Markle is preparing to defend herself against a flood of bullying allegations as former royal staff come forward to give evidence to an independent inquiry.
A source “close to the inquiry” told the Daily Mirror that the Duchess of Sussex is heading for a “brutal showdown” with Buckingham Palace over claims that she bullied staffers during her time as a working royal.
“At least ten” ex-Palace employees are “queueing up” to present evidence, according to the paper, while Markle is expected to issue a “complete rebuttal” and to demand that the Palace hands over a “point-by-point” breakdown of all the claims against her.
The findings of the “review” of Palace working practices by an independent law firm were expected to be announced in the publication of the annual Sovereign Grant report tomorrow. But the Mirror reports that the investigation, launched in March, may not conclude until next year.
A Palace spokesperson said yesterday that “the review is ongoing and we would not comment while it is still under way”.
The row exploded back in March when The Times published allegations that the duchess “faced a bullying complaint made by one of her closest advisers” while working as a royal. Sources told the paper that she had been accused of driving “two personal assistants out of the household” and “undermining the confidence of a third staff member”.
The claims were published just days before the Sussexes sat down for their tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The unnamed aides reportedly spoke out “because they felt that only a partial version had emerged of Meghan’s two years as a working member of the Royal Family and they wished to tell their side”. But eyebrows were raised over the timing of the negative briefings, which the Sussexes' spokesperson alleged were part of a “calculated smear campaign”.
The extent of the royal rift has been underlined by newly published claims by royal historian Robert Lacey, who consults for Netflix’s The Crown. Lacey is alleging that contrary to what was reported at the time, Harry did not have a sit-down conversation with William and Kate Middleton following Prince Philip’s funeral in April in a bid to make peace.
In a revised version of his book Battle of Brothers, serialised in Times2, Lacey writes that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge “could see no point in talking to Harry, since any discussion of substance would go straight back to Meghan to be leaked out via Oprah”.
Other royal commentators have also claimed that fears of leaks are hobbling hopes of a reconciliation.
Following Philip’s funeral, royal author Phil Dampier told The Sun that “one of Charles and William’s big fears is that whatever discussions they have with Harry are immediately leaked.
“They will be worried that if they get into any great detail, the next thing they know it will be out in the public domain, which makes it extremely difficult to heal the wounds long-term.”