Royal aide who made bullying claim against Meghan Markle leaving service of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

·2-min read
 (PA)
(PA)

The senior aide who made bullying allegations against Meghan Markle has resigned from his role as chief executive of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s charity foundation. 

Jason Knauf will leave the Royal Foundation and end his working relationship with Prince William and Kate Middleton in December because of a “planned international relocation”, according to the charity. 

Mr Knauf has worked with the royal couple for seven years, having been appointed Kensington Palace’s communications secretary in 2015 and senior adviser in 2019, as well as chief executive of the Royal Foundation.

It was in his role as communications secretary when, in October 2018, he reportedly raised bullying allegations against the Duchess of Sussex with Simon Case, Prince William’s then-private secretary who now serves as the cabinet secretary

Mr Knauf alleged Ms Markle had driven two personal assistants to quit and was undermining the confidence of a third in an email to Mr Case, according to The Times

Watch: Meghan Markle bullying accuser exits William and Kate's foundation

Buckingham Palace launched an investigation into the allegations when they were made public in March, while a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex told the paper that Ms Markle was the victim of a “calculated smear campaign”. The investigation is being carried out by a third party law firm, according to The Sunday Times. 

In a statement, Mr Knauf said that “working with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge has been the privilege of my career”. 

He had previously worked as a press secretary for a host of other institutions, including the Treasury, the Royal Bank of Scotland and the government of New Zealand. 

The royal couple said in a statement that Mr Knauf was an “integral part” of their team, and announced that they will shortly be seeking his replacement. 

“Jason has been an integral part of our team since 2015,” the Duke and Duchess said. “We are sad to see him go but wish him all the very best in his future career. We look forward to launching the recruitment search shortly and welcoming a new Chief Executive later on this year.”

Last week, Mr Knauf’s denial that he helped to write a letter to Ms Markle’s estranged father helped the Duchess to win the remainder of her copyright case against the Mail on Sunday, after she won most of the claim in February. 

Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), who publish the Mail on Sunday, claimed that Mr Knauf co-authored Ms Markle’s letter, which was printed in part in the newspaper, meaning that its copyright belonged to the Crown. 

On 5 May, the High Court heard that Mr Knauf emphatically denied helping Ms Markle to write the letter and as such the Duchess was deemed its sole copyright holder. 

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