Prince William’s relationship with his brother, Prince Harry, broke down in part over how Meghan Markle was treating Palace staff, a royal historian has controversially claimed.
Bullying allegations against the Duchess of Sussex surfaced days before she sat down with Oprah Winfrey for the now-infamous interview in 2021.
Meghan has vehemently denied the allegations made against her, with a spokesperson for the Duchess of Sussex branding them “harmful misinformation”. The Palace completed its internal review of HR practices last year but stated it would not reveal its findings.
But, a royal historian has claimed Meghan’s behaviour towards her staff precipitated the breakdown between William and Harry.
“William split with Harry because he did not feel Meghan was treating her staff well,” Robert Lacey told Sky News host Rita Panahi.
“Nothing to do with race … she was accused of mistreating her staff, that’s not the way royal people are supposed to behave,” Robert Lacey told Sky News host Rita Panahi.
“I have spoken to people who saw these members of staff weeping, crying … who felt they had been belittled by Meghan.
“Now Meghan denies this, but that’s the issue.”
He added: “Harry leapt to defend his wife. William leapt to defend the monarchy and the institution.”
The Duchess of Sussex was accused of bullying two PAs out of Kensington Palace in an internal email sent in October 2018. The story surfaced two-and-a-half years later in March 2021.
At the time, a spokesperson for the Duchess of Sussex described the account as “a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation”.
Following the claims, the Palace launched a review into HR practices.
In June 2022, it announced that it had investigated how the staff had handled allegations of bullying made against Meghan. However, those findings have not been made public.
The Duchess of Sussex’s lawyer has said bullying accusations can be made “very casually” about career women and can be “very damaging”.
Jenny Afia, a partner at the media law firm Schillings, said the idea the Duchess was a bully “doesn’t match my experience of her”.
With Meghan’s permission, Afia spoke to the BBC’s Amol Rajan about the allegations earlier this year.
“My daughter called me a bully last week when I asked her to brush her teeth, she’s seven years old,” she said.
“The term is used very freely and it’s a very, very damaging term as we know, particularly I think for career women.”
The Duchess of Sussex’s lawyer added that the claims do not “match” Meghan’s character.
Afia told the podcast: “Knowing her as I do I can’t believe she would ever do that.
“I wasn’t there at the time but it doesn’t match my experience of her at all and I’ve seen her at very, very stressful times.
Harry and William’s relationship was dealt a further blow earlier this year when the Duke released his tell-all memoir Spare.
In autobiography Spare, released on January 10, Harry claims his brother physically attacked him as their relationship frayed over the Duke’s marriage to Meghan Markle.
Recounting a tense exchange at his London home in 2019, Harry says William called Meghan “difficult”, “rude” and “abrasive”, which Harry calls a “parrot[ing of] the press narrative” about his American wife.
The confrontation then turned physical, Harry writes, when William “grabbed me by the collar, ripping my necklace, and … knocked me to the floor”.
Express.co.uk has reached out to Harry and Meghan’s representatives for comment and is yet to hear back.
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