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Sources: Markle Bullied Staff at Kensington Palace

Duchess of Sussex says she's 'saddened' by claims, which she and Harry call 'smear campaign'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2021 9:04 AM CST

(Newser) – Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, are now speaking out more on the rough environment that prompted them to pseudo-defect from the royal family and England. Now, sources tell the Times of London that Markle herself was accused of bullying, via a complaint filed by one of her staff members during her time at Kensington Palace, where the BBC notes the Sussexes lived for about a year after their May 2018 wedding. According to the grievance filed in October 2018 by Jason Knauf, who was then the couple's communications chief, Markle's behavior caused two personal assistants to leave the household, and a third one to have her "confidence" undermined. Among the allegations, per the sources, were senior staff feeling bullied by Markle, to the point they'd be in tears. One ex-worker claims to the Times to have been "humiliated" by the duchess, while another says Markle's behavior was akin to "emotional cruelty and manipulation."

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One aide allegedly once said to a co-worker before an expected confrontation with Markle: "I can't stop shaking." "The Duchess seems intent on always having someone in her sights," Knauf wrote in his emailed complaint. A source says once Harry got wind of it, he met with Knauf and pleaded with him to stop going after his wife. Although attorneys for the couple say that meeting never happened, the complaint apparently never went anywhere, and Knauf resigned soon after. A rep for the Sussexes tells the Times that Markle 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." The statement calls the whole thing a "smear campaign," and says the Times itself is "being used by Buckingham Palace to peddle a wholly false narrative," just days before the Sussexes' interview with Oprah Winfrey is to air. So far, no comment from the palace. (Read more Meghan Markle stories.)

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