EXCLUSIVE: Lady Colin Campbell isn’t surprised Buckingham Palace announced it was launching an investigation after a newspaper reported that a former aide had made a bullying allegation against Meghan Markle.
On March 2, The Times London alleged that the 39-year-old drove out two personal assistants and left staff feeling “humiliated.” Markle’s team strongly refuted the allegations.
Then on March 3, Buckingham Palace said it was “clearly very concerned” about the allegations, and that the palace human resources team “will look into the circumstances outlined in the article” and would seek to speak to current and former staff.
The allegations came days before the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s televised interview with Oprah Winfrey aired on Sunday. They were also made public less than two weeks after the palace announced that the couple’s split from official duties would be final.
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“The staff went to Prince William and said, ‘This situation is untenable,’” the British aristocrat claimed to Fox News. “‘We need justice to prevail. He said, ‘We will follow the correct procedure.’”
“When it became apparent that Meghan’s narrative was most likely going to be that she was mistreated by the palace aides, at that point, several of the staff demanded that the complaints that they had made some two years ago be reactivated,” she continued.
“Those who said they were bullied wanted their case to be acted upon because they were worried that Meghan’s complaints about them would jeopardize their future professional prospects. While some of them had already left the palace, they were still very much concerned about how Meghan’s complaints would impact their futures. It was Prince William who said, ‘Proceed.'”
Before the bombshell book “Finding Freedom” written by royal reporters Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand was released in summer 2020, Campbell published “Meghan and Harry: The Real Story.” Her book aimed to provide a “behind-the-scenes authoritative account” on Markle and Prince Harry’s whirlwind romance, high-profile marriage as well as their decision to step back as senior members of the British royal family.
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Campbell, who previously published a book on Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana, said she spoke to royals, past and present courtiers, fellow aristocrats, as well as mutual well-connected friends for her latest release.
“The palace aides are bringing up these complaints now because they suspected Meghan was not going to speak kindly about them in the interview,” the 71-year-old shared. “They wanted the opportunity to defend themselves. They wanted justice to prevail.”
“And this is not a smear campaign that the palace somehow cooked up in the last few days because it started two years ago,” she alleged. “None of this is new. Meghan keeps on saying she has a voice and she wants to be heard. Well, these courtiers also have a voice and they want to be heard, too. Her accusations could potentially make them lose their jobs.”
In a statement, the palace said: “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.”
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A rep for Willliam, 38, did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
According to The Times, the complaint was first made in October 2018, by Jason Knauf, the couple’s former communication’s secretary. The outlet reported that Knauf submitted the complaint in an effort to protect staffers who alleged they were being bullied by Markle. Some claimed they were reduced to tears. One royal aide allegedly told a colleague: “I can’t stop shaking.”
Knauf allegedly sent an email to Simon Case, who served as William’s private secretary at the time. The email was then forwarded to Samantha Carruthers, head of human resources. In the email, Knauf claimed Carruthers “agreed with me on all counts that the situation was very serious,” adding, “I remain concerned that nothing will be done.”
Knauf now works for William who is second in line to the throne.
MEGHAN MARKLE ‘IS SADDENED’ BY ALLEGATION OF BULLYING PALACE STAFF: CLAIMS ARE AN ‘ATTACK ON HER CHARACTER’
A spokesperson for the Duchess of Sussex told Fox News she 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.”
Campbell claimed that several senior members of the royal family are disappointed by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s tell-all with Winfrey, 67.
“My understanding is that there is absolutely not one member of the royal family that is not incensed by what has happened,” she alleged. “Harry absolutely has no support. Every single member is bemused, suffering from disbelief that Harry can allow Meghan to mount an attack upon the family. Because she used the term ‘The Firm,’ which means the family. The Firm does not mean the palace. The palace is entirely different from The Firm, which represents the family itself.”
“Some of [the palace aides] even went on to seek medical treatment for post-traumatic stress,” Campbell also alleged.
During the sit-down, Harry, 36, acknowledged he does not have a close relationship presently with his brother William. His relationship with their father Prince Charles, 72, has also been impacted.
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“There is a lot to work through there,” Harry said about his relationship with the Prince of Wales. “I feel really let down. He’s been through something similar. He knows what pain feels like. And Archie is his grandson. I will always love him, but there is a lot of hurt that has happened.”
When asked about the Duke of Cambridge, Harry told the media mogul about his brother: “You know, as I’ve said before, I love William to bits. He’s my brother. We’ve been through hell together. I mean, we have a shared experience. But, you know, we’re on different paths. The relationship is space, at the moment. And, you know, time heals all things, hopefully.”
Markle married Queen Elizabeth II’s grandson at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son Archie was born a year later.
On Valentine’s Day, the couple confirmed to Fox News that they are expecting their second child.
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Markle and Harry stepped away from full-time royal life in March 2020, unhappy at media scrutiny and the strictures of their roles. They cited what they described as the intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media toward the duchess, who is African American.
It was agreed the situation would be reviewed after a year. On Feb. 19, Buckingham Palace confirmed that the couple will not be returning to royal duties and Harry will give up his honorary military titles — a decision that makes formal, and final, the couple’s split from the royal family.
The pair verified “they will not be returning as working members of the Royal Family. “
A spokesperson for the couple hit back at suggestions that Markle and Harry were not devoted to duty.
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“As evidenced by their work over the past year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain committed to their duty and service to the U.K. and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organizations they have represented regardless of official role,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.