For the past two years, the Royal Family has hogged headlines for the wrong reasons, including the ongoing conflict with the Sussexes. In finding a solution, the family matriarch has taken stringent measures to minimize the dirty laundry aired in public.
One of the reasons why royal brothers Prince William and Prince Harry had a fallout was because of how Meghan Markle allegedly treated the royal staff.
When the Duke of Cambridge learned about bullying allegations against the former actress, he immediately telephoned his brother to address it. However, that conversation went downhill.
Prince William and Prince Harry pictured following the coffin during the ceremonial funeral procession of Prince Philip to St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle on April 17, 2021 in Windsor, London. / Source: Getty Images
Royal expert Robert Lacey gave insight on how everything unfolded from that moment in a written piece for The Times published in June 2021. He described the siblings’ confrontation as “fierce” and “bitter,” adding that for Prince William, it was acceptable to question his sister-in-law’s suitability:
“The showdown between the two siblings was fierce and bitter. Prince William’s fraternal doubts had been provisional, based on how the recruit appeared to be. The elder brother didn’t really know Meghan in those early days.”
Lacey stressed that at that time, the Duke had seen enough of what she was capable of, feeling strongly about his reservations towards her. The prince was beginning to believe that accusations of poor treatment 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 served at Kensington Palace. Since Knauf broke the news to him about Markle, the royal began to believe that the Duchess of Sussex had an “agenda,” raising the fact that allegations against her were worrisome.
Prince William also revealed that his wife Kate Middleton had been wary of Markle from the onset. Lacey said not only was the American native undermining royal protocol by mistreating the staff, but she was also taking Prince Harry away from his older brother, which upset the future king of England:
“William felt deeply wounded. ‘Hurt’ and ‘betrayed’ were the two feelings that he described to his friend.”
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge during day 4 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 17, 2022 in Ascot, England. / Source: Getty Images
For the most part, Prince Harry was equally livid that Prince William easily believed the speculations leveled against his wife, so he became highly combative in her defense.
DAMAGING ALLEGATIONS AROSE BEFORE THEIR INFAMOUS INTERVIEW
In March 2021, the Sussexes went live on television to air grievances suffered while serving as senior royals. Oprah Winfrey hosted the iconic interview broadcasted by CBS.
Just a few days before the then-much anticipated special, royal aides dropped a bombshell accusing Markle of mistreating them. According to the staff, the Duchess faced a bullying complaint made by one of her closest advisors during her time at Kensington Palace.
The said sources approached The Times to tell their side of the story because they felt that only half the version got exposed during Markle’s two-year service. The complainant revealed the royal drove two personal assistants out of the household and undermined the confidence of a third staff member.
Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex visiting New Zealand House to sign a book of condolence on behalf of The Royal Family at a Mosque in Christchurch on March 19, 2019 in London, England. / Source: Getty Images
The sources were concerned that nothing had been done about the injustice and lobbied for an investigation. They also feared they would not be protected from the possibility of being bullied by a royal member.
The insiders assured the outlet that they did everything possible to welcome Markle into the royal household and helped her get acquainted with her new role, something the public had not been privy to.
However, the Duchess and her husband denied the accusations made against her. Their lawyer told The Times that the newspaper was only “being used by Buckingham Palace to peddle a wholly false narrative.” A spokesman for the royal couple stated they were merely victims of a smear campaign based on misleading and harmful information.
BUCKINGHAM PALACE LAUNCHED AN INVESTIGATION FOLLOWING CLAIMS
A photograph of an exterior view of Buckingham Palace in London. / Source: Getty Images
After news broke of bullying claims against Markle, Buckingham Palace announced that it would be lodging an investigation, saying it “does not and will not tolerate bullying or harassment.”
The palace stated it would engage with royal staff involved “to see if lessons can be learned.” The bullying complaint was made in October 2018, during which the Sussexes lived at Kensington Palace.
Buckingham Palace released a statement following an email leaked discussing the unusual circumstances that took place then, writing that they were perturbed about the allegations reported in The Times by the former royal of the royal couple:
“Accordingly, our HR team will look into the circumstances outlined in the article. Staff members involved at the time, including those who have left the household, will be invited to participate to see if lessons can be learned.”
“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,” the statement concluded.
THE INVESTIGATION IS COMPLETE BUT WILL NOT BE PUBLISHED
Queen Elizabeth II pictured arriving with other members of the Royal Family onto the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch a military fly-past to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force (RAF) on July 10, 2018 in London, England. / Source: Getty Images
In June 2022, The Times reported the investigation had been completed, revealing the outcome influenced the palace to improve the policies and procedures in its HR department.
Interestingly, the findings from the inquiry, which an independent law firm conducted, will never be published. For the publication, the Royal Family felt it best to keep the outcome under wraps to protect the privacy of those who participated and avoid more tension between the family and the Sussexes.
Moreover, royal aides insisted that the findings remain buried to ensure those involved in the investigation feel “comfortable.” However, those who got involved are said to be disappointed that the report is being “buried.” In addition, they have not been notified of its outcome, which has caused more upset.
THE QUEEN DEMANDS PEACE
Royal expert Katie Nicholl revealed to Entertainment Tonight why the report would not be published. She said Her Majesty was doing her best to keep the matter “in-house” following an overwhelming year of royal drama being highly publicized:
“Everything that I’m hearing at the moment out of the palace is that the Queen doesn’t want any more drama. She just doesn’t want any more dirty linens aired in public.”
“By taking it in-house, the Queen is trying to limit any further damage, any further damage to the monarchy, potentially any further damage to those staff members who have made those allegations and also, to the Duchess of Sussex, who denied those allegations, “Nicholl further stated.
She explained that the report would never see the light of day to protect everyone involved, as there are speculations that the findings were damning for Markle to read. Nicholl highlighted that another reason was to preserve the monarchy’s reputation.