Over the past two years, the Royal Family has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons, including the ongoing dispute with the Sussexes. To find a solution, the family matriarch took strict measures to minimize the dirty laundry aired in public.
One of the reasons royal brothers Prince William and Prince Harry had a fallout was the way Meghan Markle allegedly treated royal staff.
When the Duke of Cambridge learned of the bullying allegations against the former actress, he immediately phoned his brother to respond. However, this conversation degenerated.
Prince William and Prince Harry pictured after the coffin during Prince Philip’s ceremonial funeral procession to St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on April 17, 2021 in Windsor, London. / Source: Getty Images
Royal expert Robert Lacey gave insight into how everything went from that point on in an article written for The Times published in June 2021. He described the siblings’ confrontation as “fierce” and “Bitter,” adding that for Prince William it was okay to question his sister-in-law’s fitness:
“The confrontation between the two siblings was fierce and bitter. Prince William’s brotherly doubts had been tentative, based on how the rookie seemed to be. The elder brother didn’t really know Meghan in those early days.”
Lacey pointed out that by then the Duke had seen enough of what she was capable of, strongly resenting her reservations about her. The prince was beginning to believe that the accusations of mistreatment of royal staff might be true.
Prince William, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry pictured leaving after the Royal Family’s traditional Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham on December 25, 2018 in Norfolk, England. / Source: Getty Images
He was alerted by his friend and communications secretary Jason Knauf who was serving at Kensington Palace. Ever since Knauf told him the news about Markle, the royal has begun to believe the Duchess of Sussex has an “agenda”, pointing out that the allegations against her are worrying.
Prince William also revealed that his wife Kate Middleton had been suspicious of Markle from the start. Lacey said the American native was not only undermining royal protocol by mistreating staff, but also alienating Prince Harry from his older brother, which upset the future King of England:
“William felt deeply hurt. ‘Hurt’ and ‘betrayed’ were the two feelings he described to his friend.”
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge during day four of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 17, 2022 in Ascot, England. / Source: Getty Images
For the most part, Prince Harry was just as livid as Prince William readily believed speculation against his wife, so he became very combative in her defense.
HARMFUL ALLEGATIONS ARISE BEFORE THEIR INFAMOUS INTERVIEW
In March 2021, the Sussexes went live on TV to air the grievances they suffered while serving as royals. Oprah Winfrey hosted the iconic interview broadcast by CBS.
Just days before the then highly anticipated special, royal aides dropped a bombshell accusing Markle of abusing them. According to staff, the Duchess faced a bullying complaint filed by one of her closest advisers while at Kensington Palace.
Said sources approached The Times to tell their side of the story as they believed that only half of the version had been exposed during Markle’s two years in service. The plaintiff revealed that the King chased away two personal household assistants and undermined the trust of a third member of staff.
Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex visiting the New Zealand household to sign a condolence book on behalf of the Royal Family at a mosque in Christchurch on March 19, 2019 in London, England. / Source: Getty Images
The sources feared that nothing had been done about the injustice and pushed for an investigation. They also feared that they were not protected against the possibility of being intimidated by a royal member.
Insiders assured the outlet that they had done all they could to welcome Markle into the royal household and helped her get to grips with her new role, which the public had not been aware of.
However, the Duchess and her husband have denied the charges against her. Their lawyer told the Times that the newspaper was “only used by Buckingham Palace to peddle an entirely false narrative”. A spokesperson for the royal couple said they were just victims of a smear campaign based on misleading and damaging information.
BUCKINGHAM PALACE LAUNCHED INVESTIGATION FOLLOWING COMPLAINTS
A photograph of an exterior view of Buckingham Palace in London. / Source: Getty Images
After news broke of the bullying allegations against Markle, Buckingham Palace announced it would launch an investigation, saying it “does not and will not tolerate bullying or harassment”.
The palace said it would engage with the royal staff involved “to see if any lessons can be learned”. The bullying complaint was filed in October 2018, during which the Sussexes were living at Kensington Palace.
Buckingham Palace issued a statement following a leaked email discussing the unusual circumstances that transpired then, writing that they were disturbed by allegations reported in The Times by the former royal of the royal couple:
“As a result, our HR team will review the circumstances described in the article. Staff members involved at the time, including those who have left the household, will be asked to participate to see if any lessons can be learned.”
“The Royal Household has had a Dignity at Work policy in place for several years and does not and will not tolerate bullying or harassment in the workplace,” the statement concluded.
THE SURVEY IS COMPLETE BUT WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED
Queen Elizabeth II pictured arriving with other members of the Royal Family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch a military flyby marking the centenary of the Royal Air Force (RAF) on July 10, 2018 in London, England. / Source: Getty Images
In June 2022, The Times reported that the investigation was complete, revealing that the result prompted the palace to improve policies and procedures in its human resources department.
Interestingly, the findings of the investigation, conducted by an independent law firm, will never be published. According to the publication, the Royal Family felt it was best to keep the outcome secret to protect the privacy of those who participated and to avoid further tension between the family and the Sussexes.
Additionally, royal aides have insisted that the finds remain buried to ensure those involved in the investigation feel “comfortable”. However, those involved would be disappointed if the report was “buried”. Moreover, they were not informed of its outcome, which caused more upset.
THE QUEEN ASK FOR PEACE
Royal expert Katie Nicholl revealed to Entertainment Tonight why the report would not be released. She said Her Majesty was doing her best to keep the matter “in-house” after a crushing year of high-profile royal drama:
“All I’m hearing right now outside the palace is that the Queen doesn’t want any more drama. She just doesn’t want dirty laundry aired out in public anymore.”
“By taking it internally, the Queen is trying to limit any further damage, any further damage to the monarchy, potentially any further damage to the staff who made these allegations and also, to the Duchess of Sussex, who has denied these allegations Nicholl added.
She explained that the report would never see the light of day to protect everyone involved, as there is speculation that the findings were damning for Markle to read. Nicholl pointed out that another reason was to preserve the reputation of the monarchy.