Friend of Meghan Markle claims texts will prove she's not a bully – and insists she didn't plan to 'nuke royals'

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·Royal Correspondent
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Watch: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, 'formally filed complaint' to ITV about Piers Morgan

A close friend of Meghan Markle has said she's glad there's an investigation into claims the Duchess of Sussex was a bully, because "the truth will come out".

Janina Gavankar, who has known the duchess for 17 years, told ITV's This Morning that Meghan is "not a bully".

Buckingham Palace said last week that an investigation would be opened up into bullying allegations levelled against Meghan that emerged in The Times.

The Times reported earlier this month that Prince Harry and Meghan's former adviser Jason Knauf had raised concerns about bullying with the Palace's HR team but that these had been withdrawn and not investigated. The newspaper said Meghan's lawyers stated "one individual left after findings of misconduct" but that it was "not able to corroborate that claim".

Speaking on the ITV show, Gavankar said: "I have known her for 17 years, I have seen how she works with people.

"She's not a bully. The truth will come out – there are plenty of emails and texts about that."

A Buckingham Palace statement after The Times article read: "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."

Yahoo UK has contacted the Palace.

World Premiere of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” – Arrivals – Los Angeles, California, U.S., 09/12/2017  – Actress Janina Gavankar. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
Janina Gavankar has been friends with Meghan for 17 years. (Reuters/Danny Moloshok)
WINDSOR, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 19: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Janina Gavankar attends the wedding of Prince Harry to Ms Meghan Markle at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018 in Windsor, England. Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales marries Ms. Meghan Markle in a service at St George's Chapel inside the grounds of Windsor Castle. Among the guests were 2200 members of the public, the royal family and Ms. Markle's Mother Doria Ragland. (Photo by Pool/Max Mumby/Getty Images)
Janina Gavankar at Harry and Meghan's wedding. She says she watched the Oprah Winfrey interview with them. (Pool/Max Mumby/Getty Images)

Read more: Meghan Markle 'formally complained to ITV' over Piers Morgan's reaction to Oprah Winfrey interview

Gavankar also said Meghan did not intend to "nuke" the Royal Family in her recent interview with Oprah Winfrey.

The musician and actor said: "It was finally a chance to tell their truth.

"Meghan has always been a very open person but that all changed when she joined the family.

"We watched as a wall was built around her, and it wasn't her choice.

"I wanted to defend her, but we were told never to make a comment because the institution would protect her."

Gavankar said the duchess was "dependable", and the "person you go to" with problems.

Speaking about Harry and Meghan's wedding day, she said: "I don't know if anyone else is lucky enough to have someone they know find their true person.

"There is a power in seeing someone you love find their soulmate."

Watch: Queen makes it deliberately clear Palace may not agree with Meghan and Harry

Read more: Buckingham Palace releases statement over Harry and Meghan interview and says issues of race 'concerning'

Gavankar said she and Meghan did not talk about how it would be for her to date a prince, but believed that she would be able to continue her humanitarian work once she was in the Royal Family.

She added: "We never thought in a million years we would be here now."

Gavankar said: "I think we realised pretty soon after it was announced that they were together that it wasn't going to be what we expected

"The amount of coverage, [in America] we don't have the same coverage as you do.

"I think she did a wonderful job about being honest about naivety in the interview."

Gavankar said she was "thankful" that, following the Winfrey interview, Buckingham Palace released a statement "acknowledging the experience" that Meghan had when she was a senior royal.

But she added: "But I know the family and staff were aware of the extent of it.

"And though their recollections vary, ours don't, because we lived through it with them, there are many emails and texts to support that."

The statement from the Palace said the Queen and the whole family were "saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan".

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 10: Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex on the balcony of Buckingham Palace as the Royal family attend events to mark the Centenary of the RAF on July 10, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Meghan's friend has said the family 'did know the extent' of her struggles. Meghan and Harry are seen here with the Queen in July 2018. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Read more: Harry and Meghan interview: Was Archie denied a royal title when he was born?

Gavankar, who said she was speaking for herself rather than for Harry and Meghan, said the couple "feel free" now that they have done the interview.

She said: "I am very excited that this is a new era, things are different, they can tell the truth and we can tell the truth, we can finally validate them.

"It has been a strange week, we are all being reached out to.

"I am not a royal expert, I can say the truth can finally come out."

Buckingham Palace's full statement on behalf of the Queen following the Winfrey interview said: "The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan.

"The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.

"Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members."

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