Harry and Meghan 'suspicious' about 'convenient' timing of bullying report - EXCLUSIVE

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·Breaking News Editor, Yahoo News UK
·4-min read
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File photo dated 03/06/22 of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex leaving the National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral, London, on day two of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II, as The Duke of Sussex's libel claim against a newspaper publisher over an article about his legal case against the Home Office is due to have its first hearing on Thursday.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are "suspicious" about the timing of an announcement. (PA)

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are "suspicious" about the timing of a palace statement revealing that the findings of an investigation sparked by allegations Meghan Markle "bullied" aides will remain hidden, Yahoo News UK understands.

Buckingham Palace launched the inquiry in March 2021 after it was alleged Meghan drove out two personal assistants and staff were “humiliated” on several occasions.

Meghan has always strenuously denied the allegations.

On Thursday, it was revealed that members of the royal family had been made aware of the changes to policies and procedures of the royal household’s HR department - but that the changes would not be made public.

A royal source said the report - which looked into the palace's response to the allegations rather than whether or not Meghan bullied employees - would remain secret to protect the "confidentiality" of those who participated.

Yahoo News UK understands that the Sussexes are "unaware" of what the revised policies may be and that the couple has reservations about when the announcement was made.

A friend of the duchess said: "The timing is, once again, suspicious. A very convenient way to deflect from royal finances and Prince Charles' recent controversy. But then, that is how it goes. They [Harry and Meghan] are used to it."

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex pictured at the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey, London on Commonwealth Day. The service is the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's final official engagement before they quit royal life. Picture date: Monday March 9, 2020. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/Empics
Yahoo News UK understands that the Sussexes are "unaware" what changes to HR policies have been made. (PA)

The investigation was launched in March 2021 after The Times reported that Meghan had faced a bullying complaint in 2018 by one of her advisers at Kensington Palace.

It was claimed Jason Knauf sent an email outlining the duchess’s alleged actions to Simon Case, the Duke of Cambridge’s then private secretary, after conversations with Samantha Carruthers, the head of human resources.

Knauf left a few months after making his allegations and is now a close aide to Harry’s brother, working as the chief executive of William and Kate’s Royal Foundation.

The Prince of Wales, known as the Duke of Rothesay when in Scotland and Queen Elizabeth II attending the Queen's Body Guard for Scotland (also known as the Royal Company of Archers) Reddendo Parade in the gardens of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh. Picture date: Thursday June 30, 2022.
The reports come as the details of the royal family's spending was made public. (PA)

It has since been reported that two of the individuals mentioned in the email asked for any allegations made to HR about their experiences with Meghan to be rescinded.

Meghan spoke about her interactions with the Palace's Human Resources department in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, which was aired shortly after the allegations in The Times were published.

Speaking in detail about what happened when she approached the HR department while she was pregnant and struggling with her mental health, she told the veteran broadcaster: "I went to one of the most senior people just to get help - I went to human resources, and I said, ‘I just really — I need help’. Because in my old job, there was a union, and they would protect me.

Watch: Royal household’s HR policies ‘improved after probe into Meghan bullying claims’

"And I remember this conversation like it was yesterday, because they said, ‘My heart goes out to you, because I see how bad it is, but there’s nothing we can do to protect you because you’re not a paid employee of the institution’.

"This wasn’t a choice. This was emails and begging for help, saying very specifically, ‘I am concerned for my mental welfare’. And people going. ‘Oh, yes, yes, it’s disproportionately terrible what we see out there to anyone else’. But nothing was ever done, so we had to find a solution."

The royal family has been hit by a series of controversies in recent weeks.

On Thursday, details about the royal family's finances and spending over the previous year were made public.

The Prince of Wales, known as the Duke of Rothesay while in Scotland, during a visit to Edinburgh's Royal College of Surgeons in his new role as patron. Picture date: Wednesday June 29, 2022.
Prince Charles accepted bags of cash from the former prime minister of Qatar. (PA)

They revealed that the official expenditure by the monarchy had risen to £104.2 million - up 17% on the previous year at the same time as the cost of living crisis begins to bite across the UK.

Other details included the £226,000 cost to taxpayers of Kate Middleton and Prince William’s Caribbean flights for their recent royal trip, and that Prince Charles took more than 20 private flights within UK last year.

The size of the taxpayer-funded Sovereign Grant - a single payment given to the Queen every year by the government - will remain at £86.3million.

The Prince of Wales has also faced recent criticism it emerged he personally accepted suitcases containing money from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, the former prime minister of Qatar, as charity donations.

The Sunday Times reported €3m was handed over to Charles during private meetings between 2011 and 2015 and deposited into the Prince of Wales' Charitable fund.

Buckingham Palace has since said it has changed processes to prevent Charles accepting large cash donations in the future.

There was also criticism when it emerged Prince Andrew was set to make a public appearance at the prestigious Order of the Garter Investiture in June. Andrew's role was subsequently downgraded to an appearance at a behind-closed-doors dinner.

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