Thursday 30 June 2022 10:18 AM Buckingham Palace faces questions over Meghan 'bullying' probe as it 'revises' ... trends now

Thursday 30 June 2022 10:18 AM Buckingham Palace faces questions over Meghan 'bullying' probe as it 'revises' ... trends now
Thursday 30 June 2022 10:18 AM Buckingham Palace faces questions over Meghan 'bullying' probe as it 'revises' ... trends now

Thursday 30 June 2022 10:18 AM Buckingham Palace faces questions over Meghan 'bullying' probe as it 'revises' ... trends now

Buckingham Palace today confirmed it has 'revised' its HR policies in the wake of a report into allegations of bullying by the Duchess of Sussex - but will never publish the bombshell investigation - as one insider claimed: 'The household seems to be terrified of upsetting or provoking Harry and Meghan.'

The Queen announced the probe after sensational claims emerged 15 months ago following complaints by staff during a 'toxic period' before the couple emigrated in early 2020.

'Broken' royal aides told of feeling humiliated, 'sick', 'terrified', left 'shaking' with fear, and being reduced to tears. Meghan was accused of having inflicted 'emotional cruelty' on her staff and 'drove them out'. One branded the Sussexes 'outrageous bullies'. 

The palace employees who spoke out claimed to The Times last year that there had been a litany of alleged 'emotional cruelty'.

A number of those aides who worked for the Sussexes were interviewed as part of the probe by a third party law firm. But today palace officials would confirm only that their investigation had concluded and ‘recommendations on our policy and procedures’ had been taken forward. 

And amid a veil of secrecy over the probe, it is said that those who took part in the inquiry haven’t been told what the outcome is. Meghan and Harry were reportedly not interviewed over the allegations.

One source said: ‘People suspected it would be buried, and now it seems that it has. Considering those who participated did so at great personal and reputational risk to themselves, the fact that they haven’t even been told what the findings are is unfathomable.

'I am sure they will be deeply distressed, but perhaps not entirely surprised given how things have been handled. The household seems to be terrified of upsetting or provoking Harry and Meghan.’

Another insider critical of the probe, and the decision not to publish, declared: 'What was the point?'. 

Lawyers for the Sussexes vehemently denied the couple bullied or mistreated staff. Meghan then accused the Royal Family of 'perpetuating falsehoods' about her and Harry in their interview with Oprah Winfrey that was released hours after the allegations emerged in March 2021. 

Controversial: Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, during last year’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, which was broadcast in March 2021 just hours after the bullying claims emerged

The couple returned to the UK in June for the Platinum Jubilee

Controversial: Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, during last year’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, which was broadcast in March 2021 just hours after the bullying claims emerged. The couple returned to the UK in June for the Platinum Jubilee (right) but were largely in the background

How the 2021 allegations unfolded with a statement from the Duchess of Sussex at the time saying it was a 'calculated smear campaign'. Harry and Meghan were reportedly not interviewed as part of the probe

How the 2021 allegations unfolded with a statement from the Duchess of Sussex at the time saying it was a 'calculated smear campaign'. Harry and Meghan were reportedly not interviewed as part of the probe

A spokesman for the Sussexes did not respond when asked to comment - nor did they respond to claims that the couple's lawyers had been in touch with the palace throughout the process. It is also not known if Harry's brother William and his wife Kate were asked to give evidence, because several of the aides at the centre of the row were shared between the Sussexes and the Cambridges.

Royal aides announced in March last year that they were launching an inquiry into claims that Meghan’s ‘belittling’ behaviour while a working member of the Royal Family drove two female personal assistants out of the household and ‘undermined the confidence’ of a third.

Staff were said to have been left in tears and feeling ‘traumatised’ – with some likening their condition to having post-traumatic stress.

The Royal Household employed a third-party law firm, paid for by the family privately, to probe the claims in a move that some predicted could increase tensions between Harry and Meghan and ‘the institution’.

The allegations have always been strongly denied by the duchess, whose lawyers described them at the time as a ‘calculated smear campaign’. They did not respond to requests for comment yesterday.

Last year a palace spokesman made clear that the specifics of the allegations – which were brought to the attention of senior household staff at the time by Harry and Meghan’s concerned press secretary, Jason Knauf – would not be probed.

But they said they would investigate how the ‘historic allegations of bullying’ were handled by officials and whether any changes to their HR policies and procedures should be instigated as a result.

A spokesman confirmed that ‘if’ those findings were to be made public, they would be included in this year’s Sovereign Grant report – the official annual review into the Queen’s public finances and the running of her household.

But announcing the report yesterday, her Master of the Privy Purse, Sir Michael Stevens, said of the investigation: ‘There is nothing on this in the report. As we said last year, this work was undertaken privately and had no Sovereign Grant money spent on it.

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