A year after a law firm was appointed to investigate allegations about the Duchess of Sussex’s treatment of palace staff, Her Majesty has taken a surprising decision.
Is it in a mahogany desk drawer? Placed in the back of a 70s metal filing cabinet in an assistant’s office? Got lost on the Buckingham Palace intranet Z drive?
Somewhere in the Royal Household currently lies one of the most controversial documents ever produced for the Queen – and a report that will never see the light of day again.
This week, TheSunday time announced that anything an outside law firm might have uncovered during its investigation into allegations that Meghan, Duchess of Sussex had bullied the staff will be stay hidden from public view. The Duchess has always vehemently denied these allegations.
But what might at first glance look like Team Windsor noticeably quelling a spark that could reignite hostilities with the rebel duo is actually a more charged and potentially explosive move.
Go back to March 2021 and there was only one royal story the world was talking about: Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex and Meghan detonating a bomb under the palace via their interview with Oprah Winfrey.
For more than two hours, they presented highly damaging accusations of racism and complete disregard for their sanity from an institution that had essentially thrown them to the wolves of the media.
However, less than a week before it aired (although it was caught on camera), it was Meghan who was in the crosshairs after the The temperature published a bombshell story alleging Meghan bullied royal staff.
According The Time‘ valentine stockingsa bullying complaint was filed in October 2018 by their then communications secretary, Jason Knauf, which alleged the Duchess kicked “two personal assistants out of the house and undermined the trust of a third member of staff”.
Low wrote that “the staff were at times reduced to tears; an aide, anticipating a confrontation with Meghan, told a colleague: “I can’t help but shake.”
Elsewhere, the report stated that “another former employee said The temperature they had been personally “humiliated” by her and claimed that two staff members had been intimidated.
“Another aide claimed it sounded more like emotional cruelty and manipulation, which I guess could also be called bullying.”
A Sussex spokesperson argued the allegations were part of a “calculated smear campaign”, according to The temperatureand that Meghan was “saddened by this latest attack on her character, especially as someone who has been the target of bullying and who is deeply committed to supporting those who have suffered pain and trauma”.
The day after the report was released, Buckingham Palace announced that it had opened an investigation into the allegations. Later the same month, it was revealed that the Palace had hired an outside law firm to take over the investigation.
Then came Oprah and amid the ensuing global media scrum, those bullying allegations largely faded from view. This is largely how things have remained over the past year. There have been few stories about the investigation and only a scattering of information. This situation had pretty much gone cold.
That’s until this week The Sunday Times‘ Roya Nikkhah revealed that the report “has been buried”.
“The findings of the highly sensitive investigation, which was privately funded by the Queen and conducted by an independent law firm, will never be published,” Nikkhah wrote.
While no details have emerged on what the anonymous law firm may or may not have found, “the investigation … led Buckingham Palace to ‘improve the policies and procedures’ of its human resources department, according to sources. royal sources.
However, believing that the changes to the human resources policy would be included in the next Sovereign Grant report, published this month, the Palace “no longer plans to make a public statement on the investigation, or even publicly acknowledge the changes. of its human resources”. Strategies.”
One of the factors contributing to the Palace’s decision to hide the report, Nikkhah wrote, was “to limit tensions between the Sussexes and the Palace”.
Outwardly, it looks like the queen’s mature game here. Why fan the flames and bring this particular company back into the spotlight? Better put it away to preserve what remains of the frayed ties between London and Montecito.
But whether intentionally or not, by keeping the schtum on the conclusions the lawyers reached, Her Majesty has actually done her granddaughter a disservice and cursed Meghan.
The Duchess of Sussex has vehemently denied the claims from the start and it’s easy to see how an energetic woman armed with nothing more than her zeal, her HRH and an AirBook could have put on some standout British caramel noses.
It’s easy to see how the qualities that had helped propel Meghan somewhere to the heights of Hollywood’s food chain could fit inside the rarefied palace walls.
Yet reports of his alleged treatment of Palace staff have been swirling for years and are a regular leitmotif in the Sussex narrative.
In November 2018, The sun reported that “the Queen warned Prince Harry about Meghan Markle’s behavior and attitude” and that “the Queen’s message was very important for Meghan to think about how she speaks to staff members”.
The next month, The mirror reported that “the Duchess’s personal assistant [had] resign after being reduced to tears by the royal’s demands.
In 2021, Robert Lacey Battle of the Brothers alleged that Prince William “was horrified” when he was “told about Meghan’s alleged behavior” and that he “gone ballistic when he heard the ‘distress file’ that Knauf had put together”.
Later that year, Meghan’s lawyer, Jenny Aifa, appeared in the BBC documentary The princes and the press and pushed back, saying the bullying allegations were not true and contained “massive and massive inaccuracies.”
So where is the truth here? We will never know.
However, what is clear is that the Palace’s decision this week means they have permanently banned Meghan from exculpating herself.
Instead, the shadows of those claims will now follow her in perpetuity.
You must also be wondering here, how did the news of Buckingham Palace removing this report make its way into the news? It’s one thing for the royal powers that be to ask that it remain hidden. It’s quite another that this decision ends up on the front page of The Sunday time.
Has the Palace, in trying to manage this very delicate situation, made things worse?
By ‘burying’ the report, and then the world finding out about this secret move, the Palace has only added to the miasma of rumors and speculation swirling around here. It’s all only gotten worse given that this cloak of secrecy is said to be, in part, motivated by a desire not to inflame the Sussexes. What exactly could he say that would piss them off?
Was it all just ruined by royal aides or did someone inside The Firm catch up on his Machiavelli playlist?
Whether you think we’re done because of clumsiness or careful calculation, the bottom line is that the Palace and Meghan are now permanently trapped in this never-ending story.
Daniela Elser is a royal pundit and writer with over 15 years of experience working with a number of top media titles in Australia.
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