Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, responded to a Times UK report claiming she bullied aides and made her cry while at Kensington Palace as the working queen.
In the report, released late Tuesday, The Times said some unidentified sources approached the publication because they believed Markle had a page that the public was not fully aware of. Sources alleged that Markle’s behavior forced two personal assistants to leave the palace and “undermined the trust of a third employee.”
The report comes less than a week before the highly anticipated sitting interview with Markle, Prince Harry and Oprah Winfrey, which will air on Global in Canada on Sunday night.
Markle, 39, said through her spokesman that she was “sad” about the allegations and outright denied them.
“Let’s just call it what it is – a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation. We are disappointed to see that this defamatory portrayal of the Duchess of Sussex has been made credible by a media company,” said the spokesman for Markle and Harry partially to The Times.
“It is no coincidence that distorted, multi-year-old allegations intended to undermine the Duchess are reported to the British media just before she and the Duke are supposed to speak openly and honestly about their experiences over the past few years,” read a separate statement Statement from the speaker.
“The Duchess is saddened by this recent attack on her character, especially as someone who has been the target to bully himself and who is deeply committed to supporting those who have experienced pain and trauma,” he continued. “She is determined to continue her work to build compassion around the world and will continue to strive to set an example of what is right and what is good.”
The 2018 Times report complaint was allegedly filed by Markle and Harry’s former communications secretary Jason Knauf, who filed it to protect Kensington Palace staff. According to the report, some employees were moved to tears by Markle’s alleged bullying.
“Older folks in the household, Buckingham Palace and Clarence House, knew they had a situation where staff, especially young women, were bullied to tears,” a source told The Times.
An unidentified royal aide, highlighted in the article and fearful of a confrontation with Markle, reportedly said to a colleague, “I can’t stop shaking.”
Another former aide told the Times that it “felt more like emotional cruelty and manipulation, which could also be described as bullying.”
Harry Knauf, 36, reportedly asked not to continue the complaint. Harry and Markle’s lawyers denied that such an encounter had taken place, saying that Harry would never disturb the palace staff like that.
The couple’s lawyers told The Times, prior to their interview with Winfrey, that the allegations “are being used by Buckingham Palace to sell a totally false narrative”.
This isn’t the first time Markle has been accused of bullying at Kensington Palace – nor is it the first time Markle has emphatically refuted the allegations.
An email from Sunday, reporting from November 2018, called Markle “Hurricane Meghan” and said that the Duchess often “bombarded” aides with emails and texts in the early hours of the morning.
Last month, a judge in London’s High Court ruled that the tabloid had breached her privacy and copyright law by publishing portions of the five-page letter she wrote to her father, Thomas Markle, which she dropped out on the eve of her wedding to Queen Elizabeth’s grandson, Prince Harry.
Judge Mark Warby ruled in their favor without going to court, saying the articles were a clear breach of privacy after the newspaper argued the Duchess intended to make the letter’s contents public and that it was part of a media strategy .
Additionally, Harry and Markle announced that they are expecting their second child this year and confirmed that they will not be returning to their royal roles.
The couple’s first television interview since leaving royal duties will air on Sunday evening at 8 p.m. ET on global.
– – with files from Reuters