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Meghan Markle's friends defend her amid Buckingham Palace row

Meghan’s friends accuse Royal aides of painting Duchess as an ‘angry woman of colour’ with ‘bullying’ allegations in an ‘ugly’ bid to ‘destroy her character’ ahead of tell-all Oprah interview

  • Meghan Markle’s friends have rushed to her defence amid palace ‘bullying’ row
  • Omid Scobie quotes series of Meghan’s friends standing up for her in a report
  • One says Meghan is another example of a ‘woman of colour’ being criticised
  • Author is told Meghan and Harry have found claims ‘distressing and upsetting’

Meghan Markle’s friends have rushed to her defence amid the Buckingham Palace ‘bullying’ row – with one claiming the dramatic fallout has been fuelled by racism.

Omid Scobie, author of the Finding Freedom biography of the Sussexes, quoted a series of Meghan’s friends standing up for her in a report for Harper’s Bazaar.

One friend said Meghan was another example of a ‘woman of colour in a senior position… accused of being too angry, too scary, too whatever in the workplace’.

The author was also told Meghan and her husband Prince Harry have found the claims ‘distressing and upsetting’, and that she is always ‘kind and considerate’.

Mr Scobie, the royal editor of Harper’s Bazaar, regularly stands up for Meghan on social media and last night retweeted a series of positive messages backing her.

Omid Scobie, royal editor at large for Harper’s Bazaar and author of the Finding Freedom biography of the Sussexes, quoted a series of Meghan’s friends who have stood up for her

Meghan is pictured during her interview with Oprah Winfrey set to air on ITV next Monday

In an article he also claims that the couple, who deny helping him with his book, ‘knew that it would get ugly in the run up’ before their Oprah Winfrey interview.

The ‘tell-all’ two-hour conversation will be broadcast in the US on CBS this Sunday night at 1am UK time, before being shown in Britain on ITV on Monday from 9pm.

Omid Scobie: Harper’s Bazaar royal editor who left Heat after allegedly being called a ‘P**i’ 

Omid Scobie started his career on the celebrity magazine Heat before moving on to cover the royals. 

He is now royal editor at large for Harper’s Bazaar.

Born to a Scottish father who runs a marketing agency and an Iranian mother who works in child welfare, he said he left Heat after an executive is alleged to have called him a ‘P**i’.

He is a royal contributor for Good Morning America and host of ABC’s royal podcast, ‘The Heir Pod’.

Mr Scobie has boasted of his exclusive access to Prince Harry and Meghan. 

Mr Scobie is co-author of Finding Freedom, a biography about Harry and Meghan

He is described in the blurb for the Sussexes biography Finding Freedom as ‘an authoritative voice on the lives and philanthropic endeavors of the Royal Family’s younger members and maintains strong access to the Sussexes’ working world’.

Writing in Harper’s Bazaar, Mr Scobie quotes a anonymous friend of Meghan saying: ‘I hate to say it, but find me a woman of colour in a senior position who has not been accused of being too angry, too scary, too whatever in the workplace. It’s sad that it’s happening, but I’m not surprised. These claims are so far from the woman I know.’

Another said: ‘Harry and Meghan knew that it would get ugly in the run up but seeing such an obvious attempt at destroying her character was distressing and upsetting.’

It comes as the Duchess said she could not be expected to stay silent if the royal family played a part in ‘perpetuating falsehoods’ about her and Harry.

A clip of Meghan making the remarks to Oprah Winfrey was released in the early hours of today, in which the Duchess added ‘a lot … has been lost already’.

The couple’s interview with the US chat show queen is expected to lift the lid on their short period as working royals before they stepped down for a life in America.

In the 30-second clip released on social media, Oprah asks the Duchess: ‘How do you feel about the Palace hearing you speak your truth today?’

She replies: ‘I don’t know how they could expect that, after all of this time, we would still just be silent if there is an active role that The Firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us.

‘And, if that comes with risk of losing things, I mean, I … there is a lot that has been lost already.’

‘The Firm’ is widely considered to be shorthand for the institution of the royal family.

The clip was released just hours after Buckingham Palace said last night it had launched an investigation into claims that the Duchess bullied former royal staff.

Past and present employees are to be invited to speak in confidence about their experiences of working for Meghan, after it was alleged she drove out two personal assistants and that staff were ‘humiliated’ on several occasions.

The Times newspaper has reported that the duchess ‘destroyed’ one member of staff and another was left in tears before she departed. Meghan’s lawyers have vehemently denied she is a bully.

The Queen, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry on the Buckingham Palace balcony in July 2018

Mr Scobie last night retweeted a series of positive messages backing the Duchess of Sussex

There has long been speculation about the atmosphere in the Sussex household, after a number of staff left, and the newspaper chronicles what it describes as ‘turmoil’ within palace walls.

Prince Philip has ‘successful’ heart surgery just months before 100th birthday 

The Duke of Edinburgh has undergone successful heart surgery – just three months before his 100th birthday.

Buckingham Palace said Philip, the nation’s longest-serving consort, had the procedure for his pre-existing heart condition at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London yesterday.

The Palace said the 99-year-old duke will remain in hospital for ‘treatment, rest and recuperation’ for a number of days.

Concern will be heightened for the duke because of his advanced age, with the Duchess of Cornwall saying yesterday that Philip was ‘slightly improving’ and adding: ‘We’ll keep our fingers crossed.’

The news was announced amid growing tensions within the royal family ahead of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s controversial televised Oprah interview, with Meghan saying in an extract that she could not be expected to stay silent if The Firm played a part in ‘perpetuating falsehoods’ about her and Harry.

Philip has been treated for heart problems in the past and in 2011 was rushed to hospital by helicopter from Sandringham after suffering chest pains as the royal family were preparing for Christmas.  

Underlying Meghan’s actions, the paper reports, was the view of a number of sources that she wanted to be a ‘victim’ so her ‘unbearable experience’ would convince Harry they had to leave the UK – something her lawyers have denied.

The monarchy’s ‘men in grey suits’ have been accused of being aware of the alleged actions of the duchess and of doing ‘absolutely nothing to protect people’.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: ‘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.’

Meghan and Harry will not be part of the process as they are not staff, and it is understood the Palace hopes to start the investigation soon.

Lawyers for the duke and duchess said the Sussexes believed staff were comfortable and happy.

However, Jason Knauf, the couple’s then communications secretary, made a bullying complaint in October 2018 in an apparent attempt to force Buckingham Palace to protect staff.

A source suggested the attitude to the allegations was more about making them ‘go away’ rather than ‘addressing’ them, with the paper claiming that Mr Knauf’s complaint was never progressed.

Meghan’s spokesman said: ‘The duchess 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.

‘She is determined to continue her work building compassion around the world and will keep striving to set an example for doing what is right and doing what is good.’ 

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