Prince Philip, 99, prepares to spend third weekend away from the Queen while he recovers from heart surgery in hospital – as Royals brace for bombshell Oprah interview with Harry and Meghan on Sunday
- Meghan and Harry will not stop the broadcast of their Oprah interview going ahead saying matter is for CBS
- Prince Philip, 99, has ‘successful’ operation on Wednesday at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in City of London
- He was transferred there on Monday after spending 14 days at King Edward VII Hospital in Marylebone
- Daughter-in-law Camilla revealed Wednesday while visiting Croydon that the Duke was ‘slightly improving’
- Philip has been receiving treatment for infection as well as testing for his pre-existing heart condition
Prince Philip is set to spend a third weekend away from the Queen as Harry and Meghan’s bombshell interview airs in the States.
The Duke of Edinburgh, 99, is today spending his 18th day away from Her Majesty as the furore surrounding their grandson and his wife continues.
He has already undergone a ‘successful procedure for a pre-existing heart condition’ and is expected to remain in hospital for ‘treatment, rest and recuperation for a number of days.
The Sussexes had been urged to postpone their tell-all with Oprah Winfrey on Sunday night after Philip had the major surgery after more than a fortnight in hospital.
Harry’s grandfather had the operation on Wednesday at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the City of London – Britain’s top heart hospital – after being transferred there on Monday from the private King Edward VII Hospital in Marylebone where he was being treated for an infection.
There is a growing backlash against the Sussexes after sources close to the couple said that the Oprah interview will go ahead regardless, claiming it is down to the broadcasters not them.
‘There are a lot of people who are going to talk about this until the programme airs, but the programming and all the rest of it is ultimately up to CBS, we’re not involved in that side of things’, the source said, adding: ‘As it stands, I don’t think there is any intention from the programme maker to change its air date’.
As the Queen’s husband had surgery, Harry and Meghan were also busy stepping up their war of words with Buckingham Palace, accusing them of spreading smears about their treatment of staff.
The Queen has launched an investigation into the bullying claims, inviting the Sussexes to take part, and then hours later the couple hit back again in a new clip of their Oprah interview where Meghan insisted she could not be silenced about ‘her truth’ if ‘The Firm’ played a part in ‘perpetuating falsehoods’ about her and Harry.
She said: ‘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’, adding: ‘And, if that comes with risk of losing things, there is a lot that has been lost already.’
It was business as usual for the Queen this week, who held a telephone audience on Thursdaywith the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Wigston. Her Majesty heard about the RAF’s ‘commitment to supporting the nation’s response to the pandemic’, Buckingham Palace said.
Philip’s continuing health troubles and the bullying row at the palace, came as:
- Harry and Meghan vow tell-all Oprah interview WILL go ahead – despite growing backlash and demands to shelve two-hour special as Prince Philip recovers in hospital;
- Friends of Meghan claim she and Harry ‘knew it would get ugly’ ahead of their Oprah interview;
- An aide Meghan allegedly bullied welcomed the Queen’s investigation into the claimed mistreatment of staff, saying: ‘We can finally tell the truth’;
- Buckingham Palace says it is ‘very concerned’ about claims Meghan mistreated staff and allegations some were forced out and others left ‘shaking’ and sobbing because of her alleged ’emotional cruelty and manipulation’
- A royal insider scotched hopes they could one day return for royal events such as Trooping the Colour, saying: ‘I can’t ever see those two back on the balcony’;
- New claims that Meghan ‘hissed’ at staff and reduced one aide to tears on a royal tour emerge;
This is the 18th day of Prince Philip’s treatment in hospital and tomorrow will be his third weekend under medical care
City of London Police officers stand at the entrance to St Bartholomew’s Hospital this morning where Philip is being treated
Philip’s grandson Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle are interviewed by Oprah Winfrey in a TV special to air on Monday
St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the City of London is pictured this morning as Prince Philip continues to be treated there
Meghan and Harry will not block the broadcast of their interview with Oprah Winfrey despite Prince Philip’s health problems after allies claimed the couple can’t stop it and CBS hasn’t ‘any intention’ to either.
The couple are under huge pressure to ask Ms Winfrey to delay the broadcast in the US on Sunday night and across the world on Monday after it was revealed Harry’s 99-year-old grandfather underwent heart surgery yesterday.
But a source close to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex today confirmed that the screening is still expected to go ahead as planned because the decision now lies with the broadcasters set to make millions from the two-hour show.
‘There are a lot of people who are going to talk about this until the programme airs, but the programming and all the rest of it is ultimately up to CBS, we’re not involved in that side of things’, the source said. The insider added: ‘As it stands, I don’t think there is any intention from the programme maker to change its air date’.
Tory MP Bob Blackman told MailOnline: ‘The reality is I don’t think the interview is appropriate at all. The less they say the better, irrespective of the state of health of the Duke of Edinburgh. But to be doing a tell-all interview screened in the UK when he is in hospital – they are badly advised to put it mildly. None of these royal interviews have gone well… and I can’t see this going any better.’
Mr Blackman said ITV has ‘got a choice to make’. ‘I don’t think they should be showing it,’ he said. ‘Everyone’s sympathies should be for the Queen, a remarkable lady who has given a lifetime of service.’
Yesterday, Philip’s daughter-in-law Camilla revealed while visiting a vaccination centre in Croydon that the Duke was ‘slightly improving’ and that everyone in the Royal Family was ‘keeping our fingers crossed’.
Giving an update on his condition at 9.30am this morning, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said: ‘The Duke of Edinburgh yesterday underwent a successful procedure for a pre-existing heart condition at St Bartholomew’s Hospital. His Royal Highness will remain in hospital for treatment, rest and recuperation for a number of days.’
Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said today that the update on Philip’s health was ‘good news’, adding: ‘The Iron Duke is fighting back. Wonderful.’ And royal biographer Angela Levin added: ‘That is very good news.’
ITV royal correspondent Chris Ship said it was possible that Philip has had a stent fitted, which medical experts had predicted when he was moved on Monday. The Duke had a stent fitted in 2011 after a blocked coronary artery.
In that serious health scare, Philip was rushed to Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire by helicopter from Sandringham in Norfolk after suffering chest pains as the Royal Family were preparing for Christmas.
The development comes as ITV prepares to broadcast an interview Philip’s grandson Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle gave to Oprah Winfrey, which is set to air next Monday evening in a two-hour special from 9pm.
The Queen, who is being kept regularly updated about her husband’s condition, will not be permitted to visit Philip at St Bart’s and is thought to be unlikely to see him until he leaves.
This is because visitors are currently excluded at the hospital apart from a handful of ‘exceptional’ circumstances, including end of life.
She did not visit him at King Edward VII Hospital because she is always reluctant to cause disruption to any hospital’s vital work and knows her presence would place unnecessary pressure on staff at the best of times.
It means the Queen will have been parted from her husband of 73 years for at least three weeks.
It was revealed that Philip had surgery as Meghan accused the Royal Family of ‘perpetuating falsehoods’ about her and Harry in their interview with Oprah in a new teaser clip released just hours after Buckingham Palace launched a probe into her alleged bullying of staff.
Timeline of Prince Philip’s long stay in hospital as his grandson films with Oprah Winfrey and Meghan declares war on Buckingham Palace
Here is the timeline of the Duke of Edinburgh’s stay in hospital since his admission two weeks ago as Harry and Meghan discuss
- Tuesday, February 16 – The duke is admitted to King Edward VII’s Hospital on a precautionary basis after feeling unwell. He travels from Windsor Castle by car. Philip is said to be in ‘good spirits’ and walks into the private hospital unaided. He is expected to stay for a few days.
- On the same day it is understood that Harry and Meghan were filming with Oprah
- Friday, February 19 – Sources say Philip is now expected to remain in hospital for ‘observation and rest’ over the weekend and into the next week.
- Saturday, February 20 – The Prince of Wales makes a 200 mile-round trip to see his father, spending around half an hour at the hospital.
- Tuesday, February 23 – Seven days after the duke was admitted, the Palace says he is being treated for an infection and is ‘comfortable and responding to treatment’, but is not expected to leave hospital for several more days. The Earl of Wessex says the duke is a ‘lot better’ and looking forward to getting out.
- Sunday, February 28: CBS release a teaser trailer of Oprah’s sit-down with the Sussexes, which makes headlines around the wirk
- Monday March 1 – Philip is transferred to St Bartholomew’s Hospital for treatment for an infection and testing and observation for a pre-existing heart condition.
- Wednesday March 3: The Times reports claims from aides that they were allegedly bullied by the Sussexes who want to have their say before the Oprah interview;
- Thursday March 4: Buckingham Palace reveals that the Duke of Edinburgh has had heart surgery
- On the same day a new clip of the Oprah interview is released where Meghan wages war on ‘The Firm’ claiming: ‘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’
Ramping up her war of words with the royals, the Duchess of Sussex calls her husband’s family ‘The Firm’ in the 30-second trailer released by CBS today and blames them for speaking out in a show set to be watched by millions around the globe.
In a clip set to dramatic music, Ms Winfrey asks her: ‘How do you feel about the Palace hearing you speak your truth today?’
And an emotional Meghan 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’.
The Duchess adds: ‘And, if that comes with risk of losing things, there is a lot that has been lost already.’
It is not known what ‘falsehoods’ Meghan is talking about because the interview was recorded before she was 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 yesterday.
An aide claiming to have been bullied by Meghan today welcomed the Queen’s investigation into her and Harry’s alleged mistreatment of staff and declared: ‘We will finally be able to tell the truth’.
The unnamed palace worker’s claim will pile even more pressure on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to give evidence to the probe after they were invited to take part by Buckingham Palace.
The Sussexes are accused leaving behind a ‘lot of broken people’ with ‘young women broken by their behaviour’ and a source describing one member of their staff as ‘completely destroyed’ by the ordeal.
The Queen has now launched an unprecedented inquiry into allegations that Meghan and Harry bullied their staff – leaving royal employees ‘shaken’ by ‘unhappy memories’ being brought up about a ‘toxic period’ before the couple emigrated.
Devastating claims that the Duchess of Sussex inflicted ’emotional cruelty’ on underlings and ‘drove them out’ were ‘very’ concerning, Buckingham Palace said.
The whistleblower told The Times: ‘We will finally be able to tell the truth. It’s not going to be easy, but this is very welcome and long overdue. We don’t have to be silent any more’. Lawyers for the Sussexes have vehemently denied they have bullied or mistreated staff.
Meghan Markle will talk about her experience of race issues in Britain during her interview with Oprah Winfrey.
And in dramatic promotional clips released on Monday, Miss Winfrey is seen asking Meghan if she was ‘silent or silenced’, with the duchess’ answer not revealed.
In response to a comment by the duchess, the presenter says: ‘Almost unsurvivable. Sounds like there was a breaking point?’
The royal aides at the centre of palace intrigue
Melissa Touabti (right) is pictured with Robbie Williams’ wife Ayda for whom she previously worked
PA WHO QUIT AFTER WEDDING:
Melissa Touabti, the duchess’s former personal assistant, had previously worked for Robbie Williams and Madonna.
She played a key role in preparations for Meghan and Harry’s wedding in May 2018, but quit after just six months.
The Frenchwoman, 41, took a job with the billionaire Livingstone family – owners of the stately home Cliveden.
THE AMERICAN SPIN DOCTOR:
THE AMERICAN SPIN DOCTOR: Jason Knauf (left) walks behind the couple at the Invictus Games in Toronto
Jason Knauf joined the royals in 2014, having acted as a ‘crisis management expert’ at the Royal Bank of Scotland.
The 36- year-old American, who completed his master’s at the London School of Economics, served as communications secretary to the ‘Fab Four’ of William, Kate, Harry and Meghan before the Cambridges and Sussexes created separate offices in March 2019.
Mr Knauf now heads William and Kate’s charitable foundation.
Simon Case in Dundee in 2019
THE WHIZ-KID WHO RUNS WHITEHALL:
Simon Case became the youngest head of the civil service for over a century when he took the post at the tender age of 41.
The Cambridge history graduate – a noted fan of tweed suits and Barbour jackets – had previously been the principal private secretary to successive Tory prime ministers, David Cameron and Theresa May. He also worked at spying centre GCHQ as a ‘director of strategy’.
His most recent role before becoming Cabinet Secretary last year was serving as private secretary to Prince William.
THE TOUGH TALKING AUSTRALIAN:
Formerly the Queen’s assistant private secretary, Samantha Cohen had planned to quit Buckingham Palace in 2018. Instead, she agreed to stay on and help the duchess through her first months in the Royal Family.
The well-liked but tough-talking Australian became the Sussexes’ private secretary, but left in 2019 to work for the environmental charity Cool Earth.
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Queen Elizabeth II (accompanied by Samantha Cohen) attend a ceremony to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge on June 14, 2018 in Widnes, England
THE PRINCES’ HR HEAD HONCHO:
Experienced human resources director Samantha Carruthers worked for De Beers and investment bank Lazard before joining the royals.
Head of HR for Prince Charles and Prince William until 2019, she is now deputy chairman of the board of trustees for child bereavement charity Winston’s Wish.
Samantha Carruthers worked for De Beers and investment bank Lazard before joining the royal
At one point in the trailer, Miss Winfrey tells viewers: ‘Just to make it clear to everybody, there is no subject that is off-limits,’ as Meghan nods in agreement.
The clip then cuts to Harry, 36, in a grey suit and white shirt with no tie, as he says: ‘My biggest fear was history repeating itself.’
The teaser then shows Harry and Meghan sitting side by side holding hands as Miss Winfrey says: ‘You have said some pretty shocking things here’.
In a second clip, also set to dramatic music, Prince Harry compares his mother’s situation to the one he says he and Meghan found themselves in.
As he speaks, a picture is shown of him with his mother when he was a little boy.
‘For me, I’m just really relieved and happy to be sitting here talking to you with my wife by my side, because I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like for her going through this process by herself all those years ago because it’s been unbelievably tough for the two of us. But at least we have each other,’ he says.
Today’s clip with Meghan’s views on ‘The Firm’ came as Buckingham Palace announced they will launch an investigation into allegations that Markle bullied royal aides.
Buckingham Palace has released more details about how the royal family will celebrate the Commonwealth in a special programme to be screened just hours before the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Oprah interview in the US.
The palace said: ‘In Her Majesty’s annual Commonwealth Day message, the Queen will pay tribute to the way in which communities across the family of nations have come together in response to the pandemic.’
A Celebration for Commonwealth Day will be broadcast on BBC One at 5pm on Sunday March 7 – a few hours before Meghan and Harry’s sit-down with Oprah is shown.
The Prince of Wales has recorded a message for the programme addressing ‘the universal devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic’.
Prince Charles will also celebrate the ‘critical work’ being carried out by nations across the Commonwealth to combat climate change and protect its unique landscapes, marine environments and biodiversity.
Harry and his wife were both labelled ‘outrageous bullies’, according to sensational claims reported yesterday.
‘Broken’ royal aides told of feeling humiliated, ‘sick’, ‘terrified’, left ‘shaking’ with fear, and being reduced to tears by the duchess.
The Queen launched the unprecedented inquiry into allegations that Meghan and Harry bullied their staff – leaving royal employees ‘shaken’ by ‘unhappy memories’ being brought up about a ‘toxic period’.
Devastating claims that the Duchess of Sussex inflicted ’emotional cruelty’ on underlings and ‘drove them out’ were ‘very’ concerning, Buckingham Palace said.
It came as a royal insider scotched hopes they could one day return for royal events such as Trooping the Colour, saying: ‘I can’t ever see those two back on the balcony.’
Harry and his wife were both labelled ‘outrageous bullies’, according to sensational claims reported yesterday.
‘Broken’ royal aides told of feeling humiliated, ‘sick’, ‘terrified’, left ‘shaking’ with fear, and being reduced to tears by the duchess.
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 gray 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 royal source told the Daily Mail last night that the emergence of the bullying claims yesterday had ‘shaken’ many staff, both past and present, and brought up ‘many unhappy memories’ about a particularly ‘toxic period’.
There is no timetable to the investigation but it is understood that any changes in policies and procedures will be shared publicly in an annual review expected later in 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.
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’.
Will Harry and Meghan give evidence to the Queen’s bullying probe – and will William and Kate be dragged into it? How how will the Buckingham Palace investigation be run?
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be under huge pressure to give evidence to the Queen’s inquiry into allegations they bullied staff, forced two PAs out of their jobs and palace officials brushed it all under the carpet.
The couple may wait until members of staff are invited to contribute in confidence before having their say on allegations, or could choose not to take part at all.
Evidence could be submitted in written or in a formal interview in person or on Zoom. Lawyers could also be present.
Lawyers for the Sussexes have vehemently denied they have bullied or mistreated staff.
Harry’s brother William and his wife Kate could also be asked to give evidence, because several of the aides at the centre of the row were shared between the Sussexes and the Cambridges when they lived side-by-side.
MailOnline has asked Kensington Palace for comment.
It was claimed in The Times yesterday that the Harry and Meghan’s treatment of aides worried William so much that he and his most senior advisor, Simon Case, hastened the split between the Sussex and the Cambridge households and the destruction of their joint foundation.
Jason Knauf, who now works for William and raised the bullying claims in 2018, would be central to the investigation.
HR officials would also want to speak to their old boss Samantha Carruthers, then the Palace’s HR chief, who was emailed by Mr Knauf along with Mr Case, who now works for Boris Johnson.
Mr Knauf’s email also described his worries about the stress the Sussexes’ private secretary Samantha Cohen was placed under, and Ms Cohen, who now works for the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, will also be approached.
Melissa Touabti, the duchess’ former personal assistant, who quit six months after the royal wedding would also be asked to give evidence.
One whistleblower told The Times today: ‘We will finally be able to tell the truth. It’s not going to be easy, but this is very welcome and long overdue. We don’t have to be silent any more’.
There is no timetable to the investigation but it is understood that any changes in policies and procedures will be shared publicly in an annual review expected later in the year.
Palace officials will also be asked why the initial claims of bullying that were made in October 2018 were not acted on at the time.
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.
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.
Case then forwarded it to Carruthers, who was based at Clarence House.
The Times reported 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 behavior towards Y.’
Knauf also made clear he was concerned nothing had been done, or would be done in future, to protect palace staff.
He said 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, 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 Markle, a campaigner for women’s rights, told aides they were borrowed from a jeweler, 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 jeweler – and denied that she had misled anyone about their provenance.
From having a second stent, replacing one fitted a decade ago, or getting a pacemaker: All the treatments Prince Philip could have had in hospital for his underlying heart condition
Prince Philip yesterday underwent a ‘successful procedure’ for a pre-existing heart condition, Buckingham Palace confirmed today.
But exactly what treatment the Duke of Edinburgh — who had a stent inserted during heart surgery in 2011 and has battled a secret heart ailment for 30 years — received remains a mystery.
The 99-year-old has spent 16 nights in hospital so far after being admitted to a private facility with an undisclosed infection on February 16. His infection was not related to coronavirus.
He was transferred to leading cardiac centre St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London on March 1 for ‘testing and observation’ for a pre-existing heart condition.
Cardiologists told MailOnline today the most recent operation may have involved having a second stent fitted, getting one replaced or having a pacemaker inserted.
Buckingham Palace representatives said although the Duke — who will turn 100 in June — remains comfortable, they expect him to remain on the wards until ‘at least the end of the week’.
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, said yesterday during a visit in south London that Prince Philip was ‘slightly improving’, adding: ‘We keep our fingers crossed.’
The Duke of Edinburgh has already spent 16 nights in hospital for an un-named infection and ‘observation’ of an underlying heart condition. He was moved to leading cardiac centre St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the city of London on Monday
A stent is a small tube that is used to clear a blockage in an artery. It is inserted and expanded with a balloon to expand the artery and ensure blood can flow normally again. Dr Aseem Malhotra, an NHS cardiologist, said it was possible that Prince Philip was having another installed
Above is an explanation of how a stent is fitted
Is Prince Philip getting a second stent fitted while in hospital to treat a heart blockage?
An NHS cardiologist has suggested Prince Philip may be getting a second stent fitted while he is in hospital, arguing his infection may have put strain on his heart and triggered a partial blockage in his coronary artery.
Stents are tiny tubes used to clear arteries and allow blood to flow normally again. During an up to two-hour operation, they are inserted into a blockage and inflated to widen the blood vessel.
They are then left in place with doctors saying the procedure is permanent, although in some cases they may need to be replaced.
There are three coronary arteries flowing to the heart, and the Duke has already had a stent fitted to one of them ten years ago at the Royal Papworth Hospital in London.
Dr Aseem Malhotra, a cardiologist at the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, said it was possible the Duke could be getting a second stent fitted to a separate coronary artery.
‘The infection could have put strain on his heart and either triggered a minor heart attack or unstable angina (when the heart muscle doesn’t get enough oxygen because of blood flow problems),’ he told MailOnline
‘There are three coronary arteries, it is more likely he suffered a new blockage and needed a second stent.
‘He is fortunate to be in a country home to some of the best cardiologists in the world.’
The Duke pictured leaving King Edward VII hospital in central London on Christmas Eve in 2019, where he spent four nights before heading home to Sandringham for Christmas. Buckingham Palace said the stay was for a ‘pre-existing condition’
Could doctors be replacing his stent or clearing a blockage that could have formed inside it?
It has also been suggested that the Duke could be in hospital because doctors are replacing the stent he had fitted ten years ago, or clearing a blockage that has formed inside it.
Experts said, however, that it is extremely rare for any stent to need to be replaced – and any blockages within it would only appear within the first six months.
The Harvard Medical School says online in response to a question asking whether they ‘wear out’ after a few years: ‘What’s important for the future is that you needed a stent in the first place. Other arteries, or spots in the same artery, almost certainly have cholesterol-filled plaques that could cause blockages, or worse.’
They said it was possible for a blockage to form inside the stent, but that this usually occurs within the first six months. If they are in place for longer without problems it is a ‘sign it has done its job well’.
After Prince Philip had his fitted in 2011, he was not readmitted to hospital with further heart problems until this year, according to Buckingham Palace. This suggests the operation was successful.
When the stent is implanted tissue grows over it, making it part of the artery wall. But, if damage tissue grows instead, this can spark a further blockage and mean further operations are needed.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip pictured in the quadrangle of Windsor castle ahead of his 99th birthday in June last year
Could the Prince be having a pacemaker installed to treat his underlying heart condition?
It has also been claimed that the Duke is having a pacemaker installed to treat his heart condition.
The heart beat is normally controlled by electrical signals from the body’s internal ‘pacemaker’, which triggers between 60 to 100 beats a minute. But the pulse can be disrupted – in a condition known as arrhythmia – by other heart conditions, smoking or stress.
A pacemaker stops this from happening by emitting regular electrical signals. They can be fitted just under the chest in an hour long operation, which would then require a day of rest in hospital to ensure the procedure worked.
Dr Malhotra told MailOnline: ‘A less likely option instead of a stent would be he needed a pacemaker, if he had a problem with his heart rhythm.’
There has been no previous suggestion that the Duke has suffered from an irregular heartbeat, although he does have an underlying heart condition which can spark this.
Palace officials have remained tight-lipped as to the cause of his time in hospital.
A police officer carries a balloon and a touching message for Prince Philip outside St Bartholomew’s Hospital yesterday
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 jewelery 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 jeweler – 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 rumors 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 jewelery 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.
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 organization UN Women, which had an involvement in the event.
Daily Mail Royal Editor witnessed the aftermath and wrote today: ‘I was there at the time and witnessed Meghan turn and ‘hiss’ at a member of her entourage, clearly incandescent with rage about something, and demand to leave.
‘I later saw that same – female – highly distressed member of staff sitting in an official car, with tears running down her face. Our eyes met and she lowered hers, humiliation etched on her features’.
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’.
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.
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 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’.
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
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’
ITV confirms bombshell ‘£1M’ Oprah interview with Harry and Meghan will be broadcast at 9pm on Monday – amid furious backlash from viewers over ‘horrendous timing’ with Prince Philip
ITV has confirmed it will show Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah Winfrey next Monday evening after paying £1million for the rights.
The broadcaster will air the bombshell two-hour special next Monday from 9pm to 11pm, which will be 20 hours after it debuts on US network CBS at 1am UK time.
ITV managing director Kevin Lygo said: ‘This interview is already a national talking point and ITV is pleased to be able to offer UK audiences the opportunity to see it.’
ITV said the show will be called ‘Oprah With Meghan and Harry’ and will feature an ‘intimate conversation’ begining with be a ‘wide-ranging interview’ with Meghan.
It will cover ‘everything from stepping into life as a Royal, marriage, motherhood, philanthropic work to how she is handling life under intense public pressure’.
Meghan will then be joined by Prince Harry as they ‘speak about their move to the United States and their future hopes and dreams for their expanding family’.
It comes amid claims that ITV bid less than its rivals Sky and Channel 4 to show the programme, but US producers Viacom CBS wanted to maximise the audience.
A source close to the talks told the Daily Mirror: ‘A key aim is for it to do well in the UK and ITV gives it a fair chance of getting the highest ratings of the year so far.’
The email also described his worries about the stress the Sussexes’ private secretary Samantha Cohen was placed under.
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 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.
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, 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.
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.
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’
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
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’.’
From a blocked coronary artery to a urinary infection, Prince Philip’s ailments in past 10 years
Despite enjoying an active lifestyle and carrying out Royal engagements until 2017, Prince Philip has suffered with an undisclosed heart condition for 30 years, which was only made public in 2007.
The 99-year-old and still enjoys an active lifestyle. But in recent years he has struggled a little more with illness, suffering from a number of ailments over the past decade, including:
- December 2011, four days in hospital: Prince Philip is airlifted to Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire from Sandringham two days before Christmas after suffering chest pains, and undergoes surgery for a blocked coronary artery
- June 2012, six days: Philip is taken to hospital after developing a urinary infection during the river pageant to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
- June 2013, 11 days: He has abdominal surgery for an undisclosed condition and spends his 92nd birthday in hospital
- December 2016: Both the Queen and Philip suddenly cancel plans to leave London for their festive break in Norfolk after they both come down with heavy colds
- June 2016: The Duke pulls out of a Battle of Jutland anniversary event citing a minor ailment
- June 2017, three days: Philip is admitted to hospital as ‘a precautionary measure’ for an infection arising from a pre-existing condition
- April 2018, 11 days: The Duke spends nearly a fortnight in hospital following his successful hip replacement
- December 2019, five days: He is treated at King Edward Hospital in London for a ‘pre-existing condition’
- February/March 2021, 17 days (so far): Prince Philip is admitted to King Edward VII Hospital for treatment for an infection on Feb 16, before being transferred to St Bartholomew’s Hospital 14 days later because of a pre-existing heart condition. He underwent a ‘successful’ procedure on March 3
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 clamor 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.
Meghan’s friends accuse Royal aides of painting Duchess as an ‘angry woman of colour’ with ‘bullying’ allegations in an ‘ugly’ bid to ‘destroy her character’ ahead of tell-all Oprah interview
Meghan Markle’s friends have rushed to her defence amid the Buckingham Palace ‘bullying’ row – with one claiming the dramatic fallout has been fuelled by racism.
Omid Scobie, author of the Finding Freedom biography of the Sussexes, quoted a series of Meghan’s friends standing up for her in a report for Harper’s Bazaar.
One friend said Meghan was another example of a ‘woman of colour in a senior position… accused of being too angry, too scary, too whatever in the workplace’.
The author was also told Meghan and her husband Prince Harry have found the claims ‘distressing and upsetting’, and that she is always ‘kind and considerate’.
Omid Scobie, royal editor at large for Harper’s Bazaar and author of the Finding Freedom biography of the Sussexes, quoted a series of Meghan’s friends who have stood up for her
Meghan is pictured during her interview with Oprah Winfrey set to air on ITV next Monday
Omid Scobie: Harper’s Bazaar royal editor who left Heat after allegedly being called a ‘P**i’
Omid Scobie started his career on the celebrity magazine Heat before moving on to cover the royals.
He is now royal editor at large for Harper’s Bazaar.
Born to a Scottish father who runs a marketing agency and an Iranian mother who works in child welfare, he said he left Heat after an executive is alleged to have called him a ‘P**i’.
He is a royal contributor for Good Morning America and host of ABC’s royal podcast, ‘The Heir Pod’.
Mr Scobie has boasted of his exclusive access to Prince Harry and Meghan.
Mr Scobie is co-author of Finding Freedom, a biography about Harry and Meghan
He is described in the blurb for the Sussexes biography Finding Freedom as ‘an authoritative voice on the lives and philanthropic endeavors of the Royal Family’s younger members and maintains strong access to the Sussexes’ working world’.
Mr Scobie, the royal editor of Harper’s Bazaar, regularly stands up for Meghan on social media and last night retweeted a series of positive messages backing her.
In an article he also claims that the couple, who deny helping him with his book, ‘knew that it would get ugly in the run up’ before their Oprah Winfrey interview.
The ‘tell-all’ two-hour conversation will be broadcast in the US on CBS this Sunday night at 1am UK time, before being shown in Britain on ITV on Monday from 9pm.
Writing in Harper’s Bazaar, Mr Scobie quotes a anonymous friend of Meghan saying: ‘I hate to say it, but find me a woman of colour in a senior position who has not been accused of being too angry, too scary, too whatever in the workplace. It’s sad that it’s happening, but I’m not surprised. These claims are so far from the woman I know.’
Another said: ‘Harry and Meghan knew that it would get ugly in the run up but seeing such an obvious attempt at destroying her character was distressing and upsetting.’
It comes as the Duchess said she could not be expected to stay silent if the royal family played a part in ‘perpetuating falsehoods’ about her and Harry.
A clip of Meghan making the remarks to Oprah Winfrey was released in the early hours of today, in which the Duchess added ‘a lot … has been lost already’.
The couple’s interview with the US chat show queen is expected to lift the lid on their short period as working royals before they stepped down for a life in America.
In the 30-second clip released on social media, Oprah asks the Duchess: ‘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, I mean, I … there is a lot that has been lost already.’
‘The Firm’ is widely considered to be shorthand for the institution of the royal family.
The clip was released just hours after Buckingham Palace said last night it had launched an investigation into claims that the Duchess bullied former royal staff.
Past and present employees are to be invited to speak in confidence about their experiences of working for Meghan, after it was alleged she drove out two personal assistants and that staff were ‘humiliated’ on several occasions.
The Times newspaper has reported that the duchess ‘destroyed’ one member of staff and another was left in tears before she departed. Meghan’s lawyers have vehemently denied she is a bully.
The Queen, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry on the Buckingham Palace balcony in July 2018
Mr Scobie last night retweeted a series of positive messages backing the Duchess of Sussex
Revenge of the Sussex survivors’ club: The extraordinary inside story of how a fairytale turned into a nightmare of ‘traumatised’ staff – by Royal Editor REBECCA ENGLISH, who saw so much of it herself
‘They’re sitting in a garden in California in the sunshine when we’ve all been through a cold lockdown winter’: Royal experts speak out about Harry and Meghan row
Royal biographer Hugo Vickers told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: ‘The Queen was extremely generous to them and when Harry dropped a bombshell and said they wanted to go off in January last year. The Queen left the door wide open for them and said ‘let’s have a year to think about it, see how it all goes’.
‘Even Harry in his interview with James Cordon the other day referred to chats via Zoom with Prince Philip. They’ve not been cut off, that’s ridiculous. I mean they may think these things but I’m afraid it seems to be very much of their own making.’
Another royal biographer, Angela Levin, told the programme: ‘I think it is shaky ground but I think the Queen has to put aside her favourite motto which is don’t explain and don’t complain and actually come back.
‘You cannot have this torrent of accusation and not do anything. I mean we’re not in 1936 now when Edward VIII made tremendous fuss about the monarchy and there was bad feeling because he married Wallace Simpson and he felt they were badly treated.
‘This is modern Britain and with all the outlets, the pounding on their head – I think it’s quite extraordinary that Meghan would want to do this while she was pregnant. She had a miscarriage. You are very vulnerable when you’re pregnant. Why put yourself in this terrible position?
‘She’s one of the most famous women in the world. She’s very rich now. She’s got what more than anybody could ask for and yet if she doesn’t get her own way she’s powerful – she will just go on and on and on.’
Mr Vickers added: ‘The Royal Family has been doing their best during the pandemic to keep our morale going. We’ve had some very good broadcasts from the Queen, we’ve had William and Kate zooming in all over the place, the Royal Family getting out and about and to be honest that’s what they do and these things will just pass by.
‘The Queen actually gave Harry and Meghan the entire Commonwealth to work with and the job of the Royal Family is to support the Queen in their role and then when the Queen doesn’t need them, they can pursue their own endeavours – lots of them do wonderful work – so I personally feel the Royal Family is not in crisis because they are doing a good job, they are serving us whereas I cannot help but agree with Angela that Harry and Meghan are serving themselves. They’re sitting in a garden in California in the sunshine when we’ve all been through a cold lockdown winter – look at the contrast.’
It is the one royal group that no one wants to join. Referred to only half-jokingly as the ‘Sussex Survivors’ Club’, its membership is sadly rising.
But its select band of members have one thing in common: all have worked for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and lived to tell the tale.
Joking aside, some even believe they may have a form of post-traumatic stress, defined by doctors as an anxiety disorder caused by distressing or frightening events.
Such experiences, of course, are now widely acknowledged not to be limited to soldiers who have undergone traumatic experiences on the battlefield, but also to people at work.
Even if that work is in a palace.
And today, many former palace staff look back on the moment that Prince Harry introduced to the world his beautiful, intelligent and passionate bride-to-be as the beginning of one of the most traumatic periods in their lives.
Let us be clear: Harry is a complex man but one with a strong sense of natural justice and charity, given to acts of compassion and kindness.
‘He wears his heart on his sleeve and genuinely wants to do good in the world,’ one admirer tells me.
But he is also equally capable, say those who know him well and like him, of behaving ‘like an absolute brat’.
It had been clear for years to anyone he came into contact with that he wasn’t happy working with the palace machinery – or, particularly, the British media (sometimes understandably so).
He was, they say, always capable of self-destructively ‘pressing the nuclear button’ on his royal life.
Meghan, they stress, was simply the catalyst.
But the result was more toxic, more personally harmful, than anyone could ever have imagined.
To begin with, however, the atmosphere at Kensington Palace was heady and exciting.
Here was a glamorous couple, clearly deeply in love. Meghan was the missing piece of the jigsaw that poor, motherless Harry had been searching for all those years.
Famously she once paid for an ice cream stand for her new staff at Kensington Palace, with the event later – surprise! – being breathlessly revealed in People, a ‘pro-Sussex’ American magazine, as the ‘best day of work, ever’.
More than that, they were a couple determined to do good on a world stage – at the same time sprinkling a little stardust on Britain’s ‘fusty’ old Royal Family.
And their small team of loyal staff believed in them – until, that is, the scales fell from their eyes.
Notoriously, within a few weeks of Meghan’s arrival in England and the announcement of the couple’s engagement in November 2017, word was leaking out about the couple’s ‘autocratic’ and ‘difficult’ behaviour.
Occasionally it slipped into print: that Meghan (a claim robustly sourced by the Mail) had refused to wear a hat on her first official engagement with the Queen in Chester, despite being strongly advised it would be appropriate and respectful to do so.
Then came the famous row over which tiara she wanted to wear to the couple’s wedding, resulting in Harry publicly admonishing one of the Queen’s most senior members of staff, Angela Kelly: ‘What Meghan wants, Meghan gets.’
There were also claims that the Duchess of Cambridge had told Meghan she shouldn’t speak to her staff so dismissively and that there was so much friction at a pre-wedding bridesmaid fitting that Kate was left in tears.
The Times has reported that the ‘febrile’ atmosphere within Kensington Palace saw staff, on occasion, weeping. Two say they were bullied by the duchess, a third that they had been ‘humiliated’ by her.
The paper quotes one aide, who was anticipating a confrontation with Meghan, as saying: ‘I can’t stop shaking.’ At first, my sources tell me, Harry tried to keep the peace, gently placating his wife and quietly apologising to staff.
On one occasion described to me by several sources, he even gently admonished Meghan about the way she behaved with palace staff – many of whom work long hours for relatively little money out of pride for the institution – after a particularly explosive encounter.
The details are subject to conjecture (and have become something of a palace legend) but resulted in Harry speaking to one of his close protection officers, who confirmed his fiancee’s behaviour.
But as the weeks went on, the prince became increasingly hostile to his once-loyal aides.
Rebecca English with Prince Harry to learn about the work of his new charity Sentebale in Lesotho in 2006
The Times has claimed Harry knew of a complaint made by the couple’s former communications secretary, Jason Knauf, that Meghan had driven two personal assistants out of the household and was undermining the confidence of a third staff member. Harry is said to have had a meeting with Mr Knauf in which he begged him not to pursue it. The Sussexes deny this.
They also describe the allegations as ‘old’, ‘distorted’ and aimed at ‘undermining’ Meghan. It has been suggested by others that staff may have ‘misunderstood’ Meghan’s more direct, American style. But I have personally witnessed more than one member of staff driven to tears by the treatment they were subjected to by the duke and duchess before the couple acrimoniously quit as working royals.
One person sobbed down the phone to me after a particularly harrowing day. They clearly felt emotionally broken and could no longer cope with the pressure they were being subjected to.
Others have indicated to me they were being asked to behave in a manner they did not feel professionally comfortable with, particularly in their dealings with the media. Several aides have also told me that Meghan in particular was very good at ‘drawing’ staff into her confidence, flattering them as if they were the only person in the world she could trust and asking them to help her with various duties.
Often these were things that were far beyond the scope of their normal work – in one case being instructed to make plans for her father Thomas to be flown from his home in Mexico before the wedding and taken to a fully-stocked ‘safe house’ in LA for a few days in order to fool any waiting media.
And then, when things didn’t go to plan, the sun would no longer shine on them. It was made ‘horribly clear’ they were out of favour.
Toxic, hostile, distrustful, poisonous: all words I have heard regularly used over the past few years to describe people’s experiences working in the Sussexes’ household.
The Times reports matters became so bad that Mr Knauf, an experienced PR operator who cut his teeth defending the bank RBS at the height of its financial scandal, decided to put his strongly held concerns in writing.
He made clear in October 2018, little more than six months after the couple married, that he believed the duchess had already driven two members of staff out and another was being targeted.
‘I am very concerned that the duchess was able to bully two PAs out of the household in the past year. The treatment of [redacted] was totally unacceptable,’ he wrote.
‘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.’
The Times has chosen not to match incidents to individual names, but the members of staff leaving the Sussexes’ employment were all women and all seasoned professionals. A well-placed source said: ‘[One woman’s] job was highly pressurised and in the end it became too much. She put up with quite a lot. Meghan put a lot of demands on her and it ended up with her in tears.’ One member of staff, a seasoned professional, was initially said to have left on good terms.
But I have since been told that this popular aide was deeply unhappy about her experience working for the duchess and had been ‘desperate’ to get out as long as she could professionally put a brave face on it. Likewise a third member of staff. Mr Knauf makes clear in his email, as reported by The Times, that he was also concerned about the couple’s hugely experienced deputy private secretary, Samantha Cohen. She had worked for the Queen for more than 20 years and was personally persuaded by the monarch to stay on and help the couple navigate their first few years of royal life.
He indicated that she was experiencing extreme stress and said: ‘I questioned if the Household policy on bullying and harassment applies to principals [the term used to refer to a member of the royal family].’
One source tells me wryly, with an eye to Meghan’s much-hyped championing of female empowerment: ‘Note that everyone concerned was a woman.’
Another adds: ‘Sam always made clear that it was like working for a couple of teenagers. They were impossible and pushed her to the limit. She was miserable.’
The Times also makes reference to an incident during the couple’s tour to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga in 2018, which was a particularly difficult one for all concerned, Meghan included. She was, of course, pregnant at the time.
The newspaper reports how Meghan cut short a visit to a market in Fiji because she was concerned about the presence of a UN organisation promoting women, with which she had worked before and made clear she no longer wished to have anything to do with.
At the time officials had suggested that it was because it was humid and the crowd was oppressive in the market.
I was there at the time and witnessed Meghan turn and ‘hiss’ at a member of her entourage, clearly incandescent with rage about something, and demand to leave.
I later saw that same – female – highly distressed member of staff sitting in an official car, with tears running down her face. Our eyes met and she lowered hers, humiliation etched on her features.
At the time I was unable to document anything as I couldn’t conclusively link the two incidents together, despite my suspicions. I have subsequently found out from other sources that my instincts were right.
It should be stressed that lawyers for the duchess said she met other leaders from UN Women later on the tour and denied she left for the reason alleged.
So why has this all come out now, you might ask?
The Times makes clear that these aides have ‘hit back’ before Meghan’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey this Sunday.
The newspaper says it was approached by sources because they felt ‘only a partial version had emerged of Meghan’s two years as a working member of the royal family and they wished to tell their side’.
They were also concerned at how such matters were handled by the palace.
One source put it more succinctly to me yesterday. ‘Those concerned are fed up with the sheer hypocrisy of it all. The suggestion that they [the Sussexes] were being bullied and forced out when others were experiencing that very treatment at their hands!’ exclaimed the source.
Another insider told me they believed some staff had even sought psychological therapy over their experiences – something that Harry, who moved the nation when he revealed how he had himself sought professional help to cope with the emotional fall-out over his mother’s death and has long campaigned on mental health issues, should know all about.
‘People have been broken by this, genuinely so. Absolutely traumatised,’ I am told.
Lawyers for the duchess say she wished to fit in and be accepted and had left her life in North America to commit to her new role.
What a sad, sorry mess.
The irony, another source says, is that no one wanted a battle. But the Sussexes have waged this war and enough is enough.
Those aides who have broken the royal omerta say they refuse to sit by and watch Harry and Meghan’s ‘duplicitous’ behaviour, especially when ‘good people and brilliant professionals’ are having their reputations unfairly traduced. One source warns: ‘The royals cannot fight back. ‘Never complain, never explain.’ But they can.’
A spokesman for the Sussexes has told The Times that they are the victims of a ‘calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful information’.
They have said 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.’
Kate Middleton’s mother Carole asks publishers of Good Housekeeping not to promote her cover interview to avoid being ‘insensitive’ to Prince Philip, 99,
Kate Middleton’s mother Carole has asked the publishers of Good Housekeeping magazine not to promote a cover interview with her over fears it will look ‘insensitive’ while Prince Philip is battling ill-health in hospital.
Carole Middleton, who runs party supply company Party Pieces, interviewed with the magazine in January but has reportedly asked its publishers not to promote it as Prince Philip, 99, is still in hospital.
The news comes ahead of a ‘tell-all’ interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Oprah Winfrey which is set to air in the UK on Monday night, despite criticism of its timing.
Kate Middleton’s mother Carole turned down publicity for an interview in Good Housekeeping magazine because she did not want to be ‘insensitive’ while Prince Philip, 99, was in hospital
Respectful: Carole Middleton, pictured on the cover of Good Housekeeping, discusses her business and family life in the interview which features in the April issue and is out now
A source told the Sun: ‘Carole is incredibly proud of her company and all the hard work that goes into it.
‘But whilst backing the business, she didn’t want to turn any news into a media circus because she is so respectful and sensitive to Catherine, and the royal family.
‘She always gets William’s go-ahead before any interview like this, and he is incredibly supportive.
‘But the more the PR machine rolled out in Los Angeles with Meghan and Harry, the more sensitive Carole became.
‘She decided she didn’t want to do any PR for the interview – even if it cost her thousands in potential lost marketing.’
In the interview, which features in the April issue and is out now, Carole shares insights into her company Party Pieces as well as her family life.
She appears on the cover of the magazine wearing a £375 Seventies-inspired floral print dress from Wyse London, befitting the arrival of spring.
Royals’ Meghan ‘bully’ crisis: As Buckingham Palace launches an unprecedented investigation into sensational bullying claims against Meghan, make no mistake this is a crisis that echoes the Abdication, writes RICHARD KAY
When Jason Knauf left the Treasury to go and work for RBS — the bank that had been bailed out with £45 billion of taxpayers’ money following the 2008 financial crisis — he was dubbed ‘gamekeeper turned poacher’.
But his silky skills in crisis management were never tested there as they were in his next big job — working for Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex.
Yesterday, the quietly spoken American was revealed to have been the author of a sensational bullying complaint against former actress Meghan, which threatens a new royal crisis every bit as divisive as the War of the Waleses.
That, of course, was the bitter and acrimonious battle for public sympathy waged between Princess Diana and Prince Charles throughout the 1990s.
A sensational bullying complaint against former actress Meghan threatens a new royal crisis every bit as divisive as the War of the Waleses
The crisis has echoes of the dramas that followed the Abdication of Edward VIII in 1936 after he chose to marry American divorcée Wallis Simpson (pictured)
Mr Knauf’s email, alleging that the Duchess’s intimidating behaviour had driven two personal assistants out of the household, reopens a rift far more critical and damaging for the future of the monarchy: the split between Harry and his brother, Prince William.
But last night the email had an even more shocking immediate effect.
Stung by Meghan’s astonishing statement in response to allegations of bullying — that she was the victim of a ‘smear’ and that the newspaper that published the email was ‘being used by Buckingham Palace to peddle a wholly false narrative’ — the Queen hit back.
Announcing an inquiry into the claims about the two employees who left their jobs and a third whose confidence was said to have been undermined is an astonishing development.
Never before has the Palace held a member of the Royal Family to account, and its move represents a serious blow to the Duchess’s carefully curated status of victimhood.
It also shows that the Queen’s deep reserve of patience for her grandson, Harry, has reached a tipping point.
The move was not just a result of the incendiary remarks of the Sussexes’ American public relations team, but also because of the implications that the Palace could face legal action over nothing being done when the complaints were first raised. In other words, a cover-up.
I also understand that individuals who fear their reputations will be damaged in the Sussexes’ upcoming Oprah Winfrey TV interview have demanded the protection of the Palace.
‘The Palace is taking the gravity of the situation extremely seriously,’ I am told.
Even to the most neutral and fair-minded of observers, the bombshell revelations coming just four days before the Oprah interview is broadcast, represent a moment of potential danger for the Royal Family.
It has echoes, too, of the dramas that followed the Abdication of Edward VIII in 1936, when the Queen’s father reluctantly took the throne as George VI, triggering years of hostility between the brothers and, crucially, their wives.
The Queen Mother blamed, and never forgave, the Duchess of Windsor — the former Wallis Simpson — for the premature death of her husband.
The Queen’s father (pictured) reluctantly took the throne as George VI, triggering years of hostility between the brothers and, crucially, their wives
Just who leaked Mr Knauf’s 2018 email to The Times scarcely matters. Its very existence suggests an escalation in the fraught relationship between William and Harry.
The reason? Mr Knauf’s current job as the Duke of Cambridge’s right-hand man.
For more than two years he has worked exclusively for Prince William, and is now chief executive of the Cambridges’ Royal Foundation.
His email was one of a series of claims about Meghan’s treatment of staff after former aides accused her of ’emotional cruelty and manipulation’, which had reduced them to tears and left them ‘shaking’ with fear.
The fact aides had managed to keep a lid on these troubling claims for so long demonstrates the unease over what might be unleashed when the Oprah interview is broadcast in the U.S. on Sunday night.
It is also a sign that the Palace will not sit back and allow the Sussexes’ partial and highly selective account of their brief life as working royals to go unchallenged.
Yesterday, royal officials were insisting that the complaints about Meghan, which began to surface within weeks of her and Harry’s starry Windsor wedding, were not being orchestrated by Buckingham Palace or by members of the Queen’s family.
Their focus, they said, was on 99-year-old Prince Philip, who remains a patient at Barts Hospital in London.
Complaints about Meghan began to surface within weeks of her and Harry’s starry Windsor wedding. Pictured: Harry and Meghan at Ascot in July 2018
All the same, some courtiers are privately describing developments as ‘the Crown getting its revenge in first’.
Whatever the case, you don’t have to be much of a conspiracy theorist to see a pattern in the revelations.
For on any reading of the claims, what appears to emerge is a streak of wilfulness in Meghan and a pusillanimous Harry torn between his family and his wife.
As someone who has reported on the royals for 35 years, I have heard of complaints about the failings of the royals’ internal human resources departments on a number of occasions — and they were a key factor in the war of words between Charles and Diana.
This probably accounts for Mr Knauf’s pointed observation in a 2018 email leaked to The Times this week. It said that while the household’s head of human resources, Samantha Carruthers, had ‘agreed with me on all counts that the situation was serious . . . I remain concerned that nothing will be done’.
The intervention of the Queen last night indicates that was almost certainly true.
Sources quoted by The Times claim HR attitudes were ‘How can we make this go away?’, rather that addressing it.
The Queen Mother blamed, and never forgave, the Duchess of Windsor — the former Wallis Simpson (pictured) — for the premature death of her husband
According to insiders, senior figures in all the major royal households knew of the reports that young women were being bullied to the point of tears.
‘The institution just protected Meghan,’ it was claimed.
How ironic that it should be ‘the men in grey suits’ — the very people whom the Duchess of Sussex has complained had been so hostile to her — who protected her from these sulphurous claims.
By now stories of Meghan’s behaviour were circulating openly. One story that reached my ears was of a very junior assistant who had gone from being Meghan’s favourite to being told that she had become ‘over familiar’.
Another was how morning staff meetings over coffee, which Harry himself made, had stopped when Meghan apparently engaged a butler, ending the informality at a stroke. Harmless enough, you may think, but there were other accounts, too.
One figure, working in a different part of the royal estate, was alleged to have been reprimanded for giving Harry a present to mark his engagement.
And there have been claims that behind the glowing headlines of the couple’s first big overseas tour, in October 2018, all was not well at Admiralty House, Australia’s governor general’s residence which hosted Harry and Meghan.
The bombshell revelations coming just four days before the Oprah interview (pictured) is broadcast represent a moment of potential danger for the Royal Family
How conflicting this must all have been for Harry, who had been brought up by both his mother and father to respect the staff who work for the Royal Family.
But it was Mr Knauf’s devastating conclusion about bullying by ‘principals’ that was to have the greatest impact.
Prince William was appalled by the reports that reached his ears, and many now wonder whether it was this that ultimately led to the split between the brothers.
Initially, I understand, Harry acknowledged that something was not right, but he swiftly backed his wife.
At the time William and Harry shared their staff, but the issue of their treatment became so acute that William and his aides accelerated the process of splitting the household in two. ‘What was a long-term plan became an immediate plan,’ said a source.
Suddenly the ‘Fab Four’, as the two couples had been dubbed, were no longer quite so fabulous.
Harry and Meghan moved out of Kensington Palace and went to live at their new home, Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, taking their own staff with them.
Mr Knauf, meanwhile, took up a job as an adviser to the Duke of Cambridge.
To the public, the unravelling of the special relationship of two brothers who had been so close because of adversity — as well as their unique circumstance — was as perplexing as it was heartbreaking.
The picture of the princes and their wives barely acknowledging one another at last year’s Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey could not have contrasted more than with that joyful Christmas Day at Sandringham in 2017, when all four had been wreathed in smiles.
William has looked on with mounting dismay as his brother and sister-in-law have used their new Californian pulpit to wage war on the Press and, more recently, on their own family and the institution that serves it.
His hope that Harry, who more than anyone else knows the burdens William faces as the future king, would be at his side has vanished to be replaced by a fear that his disgruntled brother and sister-in-law are morphing ever more into a modern-day version of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
That may also indicate William’s hand in last night’s Palace intervention. Bullying and remedies to prevent it, are, after all, at the heart of his mental health charity, Heads Together.
Even when such damaging allegations are made on the Palace’s own doorstep, doing nothing is not an option.
Princess Eugenie says she wants her son August to ‘see the world as a place that can be changed’
Princess Eugenie has said she wants her baby son to grow up in a world where he knows he can ‘make a big difference’.
August Philip Hawke Brooksbank, the newest addition to the royal family, was born at the exclusive Portland Hospital in central London on February 9. Eugenie said it is her wish that the world he lives in will be a place where he can have ‘hope’.
In an interview on CNBC’s Finding Solutions with Tania Bryer, Eugenie was asked about what kind of world she wants her child to grow up in and how she wants to inspire the next generation.
Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank with their son August Philip Hawke Brooksbank, born at the Portland Hospital on February 9
Wearing a dark top and embellished hairband, Eugenie said: ‘I think my child, hopefully, will be one of those people who will continue to see the world as a place that can be changed.
‘I would love people to continue to have hope that we can make a difference. I hope that the world will be a place where my child can have hope, and continue to know that they can make a big difference.’
Eugenie, who co-founded the Anti Slavery Collective, also spoke about modern slavery during the interview, describing it as ‘very much a hidden crime’. She said: ‘It’s something that people might not be necessarily aware of.
‘It’s… maybe you’re in your nail bar or at your car wash or your clothes you’re wearing. You know modern slavery is such a big term but I think it can be cut down into different sort of headings, so like domestic servitude, or sex trafficking, or different terms like that.
Princess Eugenie spoke to Tania Bryer on CNBC’s Finding Solutions following the birth of her son August Philip Hawke Brooksbank
‘And I think one of the positive things that’s facing modern slavery is that the pandemic has brought people together, to data share more, and to access each other more, and I think there is a lot of momentum now towards people working together, which is great.’
Posting images of her baby son last month, Eugenie said she and her husband Jack Brooksbank were ‘excited’ to introduce their first-born, as she described their hearts being ‘full of love for this little human’.
Eugenie and Mr Brooksbank, who is European brand director of Casamigos Tequila, co-founded by the actor George Clooney, wed in a glittering ceremony in the gothic surroundings of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, in front of royal and celebrity guests in October 2018.
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