‘There’s a lot that’s been lost’: Meghan slams The Firm for ‘perpetuating falsehoods about us’ in teaser released for bombshell Oprah interview just hours after the palace launched probe into allegations she bullied royal staff
- CBS has released a second clip previewing Sunday night’s Oprah Winfrey interview with Meghan and Harry
- In the clip, the Duchess of Sussex is seen sitting alone talking to the talk show host
- She is asked by Winfrey whether she had worried about the consequences of speaking out
- Markle replies that she felt she had no choice, because the Royal Family were ‘perpetuating falsehoods’
- She said that, despite the risk of ‘losing things’, she felt that ‘there is a lot that has been lost already’
- The clip, recorded several weeks ago, aired on the day Buckingham Palace announced a bullying inquiry
- The inquiry was launched after The Times on Tuesday reported allegations of bullying by the duchess’s staff
Meghan Markle has accused the Royal Family of ‘perpetuating falsehoods’, telling Oprah Winfrey why she and Prince Harry decided to speak out.
The Duchess of Sussex spoke to Winfrey several weeks ago for the interview, which will air on Sunday night.
On Wednesday CBS released a second clip from the eagerly-anticipated two-hour interview.
Winfrey asks Markle: ‘How do you feel about the Palace hearing you speak your truth today?’
She replies: ‘I don’t know how they could expect that after all of this time we would still just be silent if there is an active role that The Firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us.
‘And, if that comes with risk of losing things, there is a lot that has been lost already.’
Meghan Markle spoke to Oprah Winfrey for the interview, which will air on Sunday
The new clip came as Buckingham Palace announced they will launch an investigation into allegations that Markle bullied royal aides.
The Duchess of Sussex is accused of ‘driving out’ two PAs and shattering the confidence of another member of Kensington Palace staff – with one former aide branding Prince Harry and his wife ‘outrageous bullies’ in The Times on Wednesday.
It also claimed the monarchy’s ‘men in grey suits’ were aware of the purported actions of the duchess – but did ‘absolutely nothing to protect people’.
Meghan has denied the allegations and accused the newspaper of being ‘used by Buckingham Palace to peddle a wholly false narrative’ about her.
Royal officials initially refused to comment, with sources telling MailOnline that aides and senior family members are focused on Prince Philip’s health problems in hospital.
But on Wednesday night, the Palace confirmed that its HR team will ‘look into’ the allegations, saying it ‘does not and will not tolerate bullying or harassment in the workplace’.
A spokesperson said: ‘We are clearly very concerned about allegations in The Times following claims made by former staff of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
‘Accordingly our HR team will look into the circumstances outlined in the article.
‘Members of staff 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.’
A bullying complaint was lodged against the Duchess of Sussex by a senior member of Kensington Palace staff before she and Prince Harry quit as working royals, it was dramatically claimed on Tuesday
The Duchess of Sussex (pictured with the royal family) is accused of ‘driving out’ two PAs and shattering the confidence of another member of Kensington Palace staff – with one former aide branding Harry and his wife ‘outrageous bullies’ in The Times today
Jason Knauf (pictured on Meghan and Harry’s wedding day) – the Sussexes’ then communications secretary who now heads the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s charitable foundation – made a bullying complaint in October 2018 in an apparent attempt to force Buckingham Palace to protect staff
On Wednesday night, the Palace confirmed that its HR team will ‘look into’ the allegations, saying it ‘does not and will not tolerate bullying or harassment in the workplace’
It is understood the palace hopes to start the investigation soon.
Any changes in policies or procedures will be shared in the Sovereign Grant report which is published annually and documents royal accounts for the year.
Meghan said The Times is being ‘used by Buckingham Palace to peddle a wholly false narrative based on misleading and harmful misinformation’ about her treatment of staff after former aides accused her of ’emotional cruelty and manipulation’, reducing them to tears and leaving them ‘shaking’ with fear.
Revealed: Meghan’s £500,000 diamond earrings were NOT ‘borrowed’ but a ‘wedding gift from Saudi Crown Prince’ – and worn by duchess three weeks after assassination of Jamal Khashoggi in consulate
The Duchess of Sussex was again seen wearing the earrings one month later on November 14, 2018 as she was photographed leaving Kensington Palace to attend Prince Charles’s 70th birthday party at Buckingham Palace
Meghan Markle wore a pair of striking diamond earrings that were a wedding gift from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, who approved the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, it was claimed today.
Kensington Palace had said at the time of the formal dinner in Fiji in October 2018 – which took place three weeks after the killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul – that the jewellery was ‘borrowed’, without stating from whom.
Lawyers for the Duchess of Sussex have now told The Times that she may have stated they were borrowed, but did not say they were borrowed from a jeweller – and denied that she had misled anyone about their provenance.
The newspaper was also told by Meghan’s team that every relevant member of royal staff knew who the earrings were from, and the duchess was unaware of rumours at the time that bin Salman was involved in the killing.
Bin Salman is not thought to have met Meghan or given her the earrings in person. The jewellery is considered Crown property because it was a gift from a foreign head of state, and she would not be allowed to sell them.
The earrings Meghan wore for the black tie reception at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva, which was hosted by Fiji’s president Jioji Konrote, were later revealed as being made by celebrity designer Butani.
Her lawyers said the former actress 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’.
Jason Knauf – the Sussexes’ then communications secretary who now heads the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s charitable foundation – made a bullying complaint in October 2018 in an apparent attempt to force Buckingham Palace to protect staff.
A source told the newspaper Harry begged his senior aide not to take the matter further, but it also reported lawyers for the duke and duchess deny the meeting took place and that Harry would not have interfered with staff matters.
Mr Knauf reportedly sent an email outlining the duchess’s alleged actions to Simon Case – the Duke of Cambridge’s then private secretary and now the cabinet secretary – after conversations with Samantha Carruthers, the head of human resources.
Mr Case then forwarded it to Miss Carruthers, who was based at Clarence House.
The Times reported Mr Knauf wrote in his email: ‘I am very concerned that the duchess was able to bully two PAs out of the household in the past year. The treatment of X was totally unacceptable.
‘The duchess seems intent on always having someone in her sights.
‘She is bullying Y and seeking to undermine her confidence.
‘We have had report after report from people who have witnessed unacceptable behaviour towards Y.’
Mr Knauf also made clear he was concerned nothing had been done, or would be done in future, to protect palace staff.
He said Miss Carruthers ‘agreed with me on all counts that the situation was very serious’, but added: ‘I remain concerned that nothing will be done’.
Melissa Touabti, the second of Meghan’s personal assistants to leave, departed six months after the royal wedding after she ended up in tears, according to reports.
Lawyers for the duke and duchess said the Sussexes believed staff to be comfortable and happy.
The article came as ITV1 confirmed the ViacomCBS show, called Oprah With Meghan and Harry, will be broadcast in the UK between 9pm and 11pm on Monday night, almost 24 hours after it is shown in the United States.
Staff told The Times they have spoken out to give their story before the couple’s tell-all interview, claiming that when Meghan was urged to support palace staff she replied: ‘It’s not my job to coddle people.’
It is also claimed that the couple’s treatment of aides worried Harry’s brother William so much, because some staff were shared, that he and his most senior advisor Mr Case hastened the split between the Sussex and the Cambridge households and the destruction of their joint foundation.
Other extraordinary revelations in The Times include claims Meghan wore a pair of £500,000 diamond earrings to a dinner in Fiji in 2018 that were a wedding gift from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, three weeks after the US claims he approved the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
And in a further twist Ms Markle, a campaigner for women’s rights, told aides they were borrowed from a jeweller, rather than a present from a regime known for human rights abuses and the oppression of women.
Lawyers for the Duchess of Sussex have told The Times that she may have stated they were borrowed, but did not say they were borrowed from a jeweller – and denied that she had misled anyone about their provenance.
The newspaper claims that on the same official tour the duchess was seen being ushered out of an official engagement to a local market due to apparent security concerns.
In fact, it says, Meghan had cut short the visit because she had ‘reservations’ about the organisation UN Women, which had an involvement in the event.
Describing life working for Meghan and Harry, aides have claimed they ‘bent over backwards’ to help her when she arrived after the couple became engaged in 2017.
A source told The Times: ‘Everyone knew that the institution would be judged by her happiness’.
According to the Times their sources say two ‘senior’ members of royal staff were bullied by the duchess. An ex-employee alleged they had been ‘humiliated’.
Another aide described the experience of working for the Sussexes as ‘more like emotional cruelty and manipulation, which I guess could also be called bullying’.
It came as ITV1 confirmed the ViacomCBS show, called Oprah With Meghan and Harry (the show’s trailer, pictured), will be broadcast in the UK between 9pm and 11pm on Monday night, almost 24 hours after it is shown in the United States
Meghan Markle wore a pair of striking diamond earrings that were allegedly a wedding gift from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. She is pictured wearing them at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva, Fiji, on October 23, 2018, three weeks after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul
A spokesman for the Sussexes said in a statement to The Times: ‘Let’s just call this what it is – a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation’
Staff claimed they had occasion been reduced to tears after dealings with Meghan and one aide told a colleague ‘I can’t stop shaking’ as they anticipated a row with the duchess.
Meghan’s lawyers vehemently deny she is a bully and said that one person had left the job because of misconduct. The Times said it could not corroborate that claim before publication last night.
Meghan Markle’s aide Melissa Touabti (right) quit just six months after the Royal wedding at Windsor Castle in May 2018. She had also worked for Robbie Williams and his wife Ayda (pictured left)
The Mail also approached a spokesman for the Sussexes for comment.
The Times said it was contacted by sources who felt a ‘partial version’ had emerged of Meghan’s two years as a working royal.
It makes clear they wished to tell their side in advance of Sunday’s ‘tell all’ television interview, which is likely to make uncomfortable viewing for Buckingham Palace.
A spokesman for the Sussexes said in a statement to The Times: ‘Let’s just call this what it is – a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation’.
Insiders told The Times that despite Mr Knauf’s intervention nothing was done to investigate the situation or to protect staff from bullying from senior royals in the future.
One source told The Times: ‘I think the problem is, not much happened with it. It was, “How can we make this go away?”, rather than addressing it’.
The email also described his worries about the stress the Sussexes’ private secretary Samantha Cohen was placed under.
Mr Knauf wrote: ‘I questioned if the Household policy on bullying and harassment applies to principals’.
The Sussexes’ lawyers told The Times the couple remained close to Samantha today, and are very grateful for all her work them, denying she was ever bullied.
The Times claims that after the email was sent, Prince Harry had a meeting with Mr Knauf and asked him not to pursue the claims against his wife. Lawyers for the couple deny the claim, or that the meeting took place at all.
Aides say that they did more to welcome Meghan than has been publicly acknowledged and wanted to give their side of the story before her interview with Oprah is broadcast in the US on Sunday and in the UK on Monday.
Mr Knauf’s email also described his worries about the stress the Sussexes’ private secretary Samantha Cohen was placed under (pictured behind Meghan and the Queen). The Sussexes’ lawyers have said they remain close to Samantha and deny she was bullied
One source claimed: ‘Senior people in the household, Buckingham Palace and Clarence House, knew that they had a situation where members of staff, particularly young women, were being bullied to the point of tears.
‘The institution just protected Meghan constantly. All the men in grey suits who she hates have a lot to answer for, because they did absolutely nothing to protect people’.
Times sources described a ‘febrile’ atmosphere at Kensington Palace, where the Sussexes lived alongside Harry’s brother William and his family. After the 2018 royal wedding there was a split between the royal households, which was made public in 2019.
The newspaper claims that concerns over the treatment of staff, shared by both William and Harry, became so urgent that William and his aide Mr Case sped-up the split of the two households. The source said: ‘What was a long-term plan became an immediate plan’. Kensington Palace has not responded to the claims.
The Times says Mr Knauf sent his email to Simon Case, then the Duke of Cambridge’s private secretary and now the cabinet secretary, after conversations with Samantha Carruthers (pictured), the head of HR
When Meghan arrived in London she claimed to have been a good boss. People magazine in the US claimed she once paid for an ice cream stand at Kensington Palace to treat staff in February 2019.
A friend of the duchess said that workers ‘were remarking how it was the ‘best day of work ever’.
Meghan’s personal assistant Melissa Touabti quit just six months after the Royal wedding at Windsor Castle in May in 2018.
The 41-year-old from France had previously worked for X Factor judges Robbie Williams and his wife Ayda Field, who she loved working for, according to friends.
‘Robbie Williams is a lively character, but she worked for him longer than she worked for Meghan,’ a friend of Melissa’s told the Daily Mail at the time.
Royal biographer Robert Jobson claimed in his book Charles At Seventy, that Meghan’s wedding preparations were so stressful that Harry became ‘petulant and short-tempered’ with members of staff. He wrote: ‘Raising his voice on occasion, Harry would insist: “What Meghan wants, she gets”.’
Both PAs who left signed non-disclosure agreements. Lawyers for the Sussexes said they had no idea about the NDAs.
The Times claims that after Harry and Meghan became engaged in late 2017 a senior member of palace staff warned them about the problems they may have if staff were treated badly. Meghan allegedly replied: ‘It’s not my job to coddle people.’
Friends of the couple have since explained that Meghan was not being rude, but she came from a different culture.
Defending the duchess’ management of people, Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand’s Finding Freedom book says: ‘Americans can be much more direct, and that often doesn’t sit well in the much more refined institution of the monarchy.’
But staff who spoke to The Times allege that it was worse than that. One said: ‘I had unpleasant experiences with her. I would definitely say humiliated.’ Another said they were ‘shaking’ and ‘terrified’ after a row about whether Meghan was told the media was attending one of her events.
Months after the wedding the couple embarked on their first royal tour, visiting Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga. When staff complained of stress it is said that a senior adviser tried to reassure them by saying: ‘You are dealing with a very difficult lady’.
Meghan’s lawyers have said that their client had been distressed by negative press stories about her while living in the UK and her friends became ‘rightly concerned for her welfare, specifically as she was pregnant, unprotected by the institution and prohibited from defending herself’.
But aides trying to defend themselves before Sunday’s Oprah interview, have described bending over backwards for her as soon as she arrived. They also revealed that she was asked if she wanted to continue acting or working in the film industry, such was the clamour in the Royal Household to keep Harry’s new wife on side. But Meghan politely declined.
An insider with knowledge of the conversation told The Times: ‘The entire place, because of everything about her, and because of what Harry’s previous girlfriends had been through, was bending over backwards to make sure that every option was open’. Another source told the newspaper: ‘Everyone knew that the institution would be judged by her happiness’.
Meghan’s lawyers say she had left her life behind in the US to support her husband and work with him on charitable work and joint passion projects. The Finding Freedom book the couple deny collaborating with, says: ‘Nothing could convince Harry that some of the old guard at the palace simply didn’t like Meghan and would stop at nothing to make her life difficult’.
Responding to this allegation, a source told The Times: ‘The way I see it, their view of not getting institutional support was that they were not getting permission to blow up the institution’s relationships with the media’. The Sussexes’ lawyers denies these claims.
Another insider claimed that staff were panicked when there were rows with the Sussexes, because it was considered so unusual in the royal palaces.
‘When someone decides not to be civil, they have no idea what to do. They were run over by her, and then run over by Harry. They had no idea what to do’, the source said.
A spokesman for the Sussexes said in a statement to The Times: ‘Let’s just call this what it is — a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation.
‘We are disappointed to see this defamatory portrayal of The Duchess of Sussex given credibility by a media outlet.
‘It’s no coincidence that distorted several-year-old accusations aimed at undermining the duchess are being briefed to the British media shortly before she and the duke are due to speak openly and honestly about their experience of recent years.
‘In a detailed legal letter of rebuttal to The Times, we have addressed these defamatory claims in full, including spurious allegations regarding the use of gifts loaned to the duchess by The Crown.
‘The duchess is 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. She is determined to continue her work building compassion around the world and will keep striving to set an example for doing what is right and doing what is good.’
Buckingham Palace declined to comment when contacted by the Mail yesterday. The duchess denies bullying and her lawyers stated that one individual left after findings of misconduct.
‘Revelations about race’ in Oprah interview… and nothing is off-limits
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will discuss race is Britain in the 21st century with Oprah Winfrey and open up about her experience as a mixed race woman, it has been claimed
Meghan Markle will talk about her experience of race issues in Britain during her interview with Oprah Winfrey, it has been revealed.
There is a growing expectation that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s talk with the US chat show queen will live up to its billing of having no subject ‘off-limits’.
It was claimed yesterday that the programme will be a ‘horror show’ for the Royal Family.
The journalist who broke the story that the Sussexes were doing the TV interview claimed Meghan’s comments about ‘the issue of race in Britain’ would be ‘what we will all be talking about’ the day after it is aired.
Chris Ship, the royal editor for ITV News, told Good Morning Britain yesterday: ‘I know that she’s going to mention things like mental health and the impact that being in the UK had on her mental health. I know that she’s going to mention about the press intrusion… but also she’s going to raise the issue of race in Britain.’
Mr Ship suggested this would be the main thing viewers discuss after watching the interview, to be broadcast in the US on Sunday night. Meghan’s mother Doria is African-American and her father Thomas is white.
ITV was facing growing criticism over plans to broadcast the interview with Miss Winfrey in Britain while the Duke of Edinburgh remains in hospital. There is increasing unease about the ‘horrendous’ timing. There were warnings last night that the broadcast could be a ‘reputational mess’ for everyone, which could ‘herald terrible consequences’ for the royal pair.
There were calls for ITV to ‘await events’ before screening the programme in the UK. One critic branded the broadcaster’s decision to buy up the interview rights as ‘deplorable’.
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