THE QUEEN tonight launched a probe into allegations of bullying by Meghan Markle in the latest explosive twist in the Megxit saga.
In an unprecedented move the Palace released a statement saying "we are very concerned" at claims the Duchess bullied staff.
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The bombshell statement 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."
It follows claims reported by The Times today that the Duchess of Sussex is facing allegations of bullying staff made by one of her closest advisors during her time at Kensington Palace.
A spokesperson for the Sussexes has denied allegations of bullying – instead saying Royal aides had launched a "calculated smear campaign" against Meghan ahead of her interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The 39-year-old is even said to have snapped "it's not my job to coddle people" after aides were left in tears and humiliated by her "difficult demands".
It is understood the Palace hopes to start the investigation soon, and any changes in policies or procedures will be shared in the Palace's annual Sovereign Grant report.
Buckingham Palace is the Queen's official office, and any communication this significant would run through her.
It comes as:
- Meghan claimed Royal aides had launched a "calculated smear campaign" against her ahead of her interview with Oprah Winfrey
- The Duchess is claimed to have left an employee shaking with fear following an alleged row
- Meghan 'wore earrings gifted by Saudi Arabia's Mohammed bin Salman just three weeks after the death of Jamal Khashoggi'
- The explosive interview with Oprah had reportedly been in the works for two years
- Meghan and Harry's Oprah interview could make "many millions" for TV bosses
In recent weeks, Prince Philip, 99, was taken to hospital after feeling unwell while Princess Eugenie welcomed her baby boy.
Sources last night alleged to The Times that Meghan drove two personal assistants out of the household and undermined the confidence of a third.
The report further claimed Meghan "humiliated" at least one ex-staffer while another said the Duchess' behaviour felt “more like emotional cruelty and manipulation…"
One royal aide, anticipating a row with the duchess, is alleged to have told a colleague: “I can’t stop shaking."
A Sussex spokesperson claimed The Times was "being used by Buckingham Palace to peddle a wholly false narrative".
They said: "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."
Jason Knauf, Harry and Meghan's former communications assistant, reportedly submitted a complaint in 2018 to protect palace aides who were allegedly coming under pressure from the American former actress.
Knauf is said to have emailed Prince William's private secretary Simon Case after raising bullying concerns with Samantha Carruthers, the Palace's head of HR.
It was, ‘How can we make this go away?’, rather than addressing it
In his email which has only just emerged, Knauf apparently says Carruthers “agreed with me on all counts that the situation was very serious”.
He was said to have written: “I remain concerned that nothing will be done.”
The email sent to the HR department also expressed concern about the stress felt by the couple’s private secretary Samantha Cohen.
It concluded: “I questioned if the Household policy on bullying and harassment applies to principals.”
One source said: “I think the problem is, not much happened with it. It was, ‘How can we make this go away?’, rather than addressing it.”
A source claimed the issue of treatment of staff accelerated the splitting of Harry and Meghan's household from William and Kate's.
“What was a long-term plan became an immediate plan", the source added.
Meghan and Harry sat down with Oprah for a tell-all interview recently, expected to reveal some "pretty shocking things" when the chat is aired.
ITV has paid a seven-figure sum to air the explosive TV event and the broadcaster pipped Sky and Discovery for the much-anticipated sit-down, their first since quitting the Royal Family last year.
The programme – Oprah with Meghan and Harry: A Primetime Special – will be aired on CBS in the US at 8pm EST – meaning it will be 1am in the UK at the time.
The interview is largely seen as an opportunity for the couple to air their side of the story after sensationally quitting the Royal Family last year.
In previews for the interview, Oprah is heard telling the couple that they faced struggles that were "almost unsurvivable" and they must have faced a "breaking point".
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