Meghan a 'Bully,' Harry a 'Hostage,' Queen 'Furious': a Roundup of Tabloids

Meghan Markle is a "bully." Prince Harry is being held "hostage." The Queen is "furious."

These are some of the stories that that have been published in a media firestorm ahead of Oprah With Meghan and Harry: A Primetime Special, host Oprah Winfrey's highly-anticipated interview of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

The candid conversation will be the first time the couple speaks openly about their relationship with Buckingham Palace after announcing last year their decision to step away from British royal family. The interview has thrown British and American tabloids into a feeding frenzy.

Here is a roundup of unverified stories published in the last 24 hours, along with social media reactions to the interview and the rumors surrounding it.

Meghan Is a "Bully"

Right after the news of the Winfrey interview was announced, U.K. newspaper The Times reported bullying complaints against former actress Markle. Royal aides came to The Times because they believed only a "partial version" of the Duchess' period as a full-time member of the royal family had been made public—and the full story was missing.

According to the report, Markle allegedly fostered an environment so hostile that two aides had no choice but to leave and it "undermined the confidence" of another. Meghan and Harry's former communications secretary, Jason Knauf, reportedly filed the complaint on behalf of the aides in October 2018, but Harry allegedly begged that it not be escalated to human resources.

"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," a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said in a statement in response to The Times report.

Meghan Markle
British and American news publications have stirred a frenzy of coverage ahead of an interview by Oprah Winfrey with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. In this handout image provided by Harpo Productions and released on March 5, Winfrey interviews the couple on A CBS Primetime Special premiering on CBS on March 7. Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese via Getty Images

Prince Harry Was "the Hostage" of Markle Ahead of Royal Wedding

Insiders reportedly told the tabloid The Sun that palace staff nicknamed Harry "the hostage" ahead of the Duke's wedding to Markle. Staff alleged Markle was "always looking for drama," despite their efforts to meet her every need.

"What Meghan wants, Meghan gets," Harry reportedly yelled in the days leading up to the royal wedding in April 2018. The Duke was "furious" the tiara Meghan intended to wear for the wedding was not available for a hair appointment that was not scheduled.

One insider told The Sun that Markle was always looking for reasons she had been "deprived," and was even unhappy when she was presented with an open selection of the Crown Jewels to choose her wedding look:

"They insisted that they had the same inflation-adjusted budget for the wedding as William and Kate—she got the choir she wanted, the dress, the carriage procession, the tiara—she got everything she wanted but it still wasn't enough," an insider said.

The Queen Is "Furious"

A source reportedly told US Weekly that Prince William and the Queen are "furious" about what the Duke and Duchess could potentially reveal in their conversation with Winfrey.

"They feel that by sharing [Harry and Meghan's] side of the story, the entire royal family will be painted in an unfair way," the insider said.

"The palace knows that they will not be cast in the best light by Harry and Meghan on Sunday and doesn't want Harry and Meghan coming off as victims," a source reportedly told US Weekly.

The same report said that Buckingham Palace would be launching a report into the bullying claims against Markle, stating the royal family "does not and will not tolerate bullying or harassment" in the workplace in a statement.

The Timing Is "Crass Beyond Belief"

According to The Mirror, British commentator Piers Morgan said the Duke and Duchess' interview is "crass beyond belief" given Prince Philip's current health condition. The Duke's 99-year-old grandfather had a "successful procedure" on an existing heart condition this week after 13 nights in the hospital.

"Prince Philip suffered terrible tragedies in his life," Morgan said of the interview's timing. "But he never gave interviews about how bad his life was."

Morgan reportedly rebuked the couple for giving the interview at the same time their charity organization Archewell encouraged "acts of compassion" for International Women's Day: "Rather than sending out sheets, Meghan, maybe just cancel your interview because it's obviously going to cause great distress to your mother-in-law."

He added the interview would be a "two-hour whine-a-thon."

The Royal Family Is "Racist"

Buckingham Palace's announcement of an investigation into Markle's alleged bullying accessions have been met with retorts on social media from her fans that the royal family is perpetuating systematic racism in their treatment of Markle, as noted in The Wrap.

"Keep Meghan Markle's name out of your goddamn mouth. You are racist," tweeted Meena Harris, the niece of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris.

Other fans and friends have taken to social media to call out the "vicious" "character assassination" of a Black woman by the British monarchy and media industry.

You’d think Meghan Markle was pure evil with the way she is treated by the press & certain so called “journalists”. It’s pure character assassination due to her colour & the fact she isn’t afraid to stand up for herself. She also has Harry supporting her & they all hate to see it

— Hayden Williams (@Hayden_Williams) March 3, 2021

"This Meghan Markle press dump ahead of the Harry and Meghan Oprah interview is so painfully and comically calculated I'd swear Malcolm Tucker is behind it," tweeted Jacqueline Coley, an editor at Rotten Tomatoes, referring to the fictional character from the British TV show The Thick of It.

"Lissen, every Black woman has been in a situation where a white person (usually a woman) has accused her of being aggressive simply for stating an opinion that doesn't center the white person's feelings. I give no credence to reports of Meghan Markle being a bully. Not an ounce," posted writer Alex Brown.

Buckingham Palace's Actions Are "Obscene"

Markle, who starred in the U.S. drama television show Suits prior to donning a royal tiara, is not in fact who the royal family says she is, according to her former co-star Patrick J. Adams.

Adams took to Twitter on Friday, posting that "From day one [Markle] was an enthusiastic, kind, cooperative, giving, joyful and supportive member of our television family. She remained that person and colleague as fame, prestige and power accrued."

Meghan Markle and I spent the better part of a decade working together on Suits. From day one she was an enthusiastic, kind, cooperative, giving, joyful and supportive member of our television family. She remained that person and colleague as fame, prestige and power accrued.

— Patrick J Adams (@halfadams) March 5, 2021

Adams said the royal family's behavior was "obscene," and the palace is "promoting and amplifying accusations of 'bullying' against a woman who herself was basically forced to flee the UK in order protect her family and her own mental health."

The Royal Family Is "the Firm"

In a preview of the interview, Markle refers to the royal family as "the firm," a moniker reportedly only used within the family and never mention in public conversation to refer to Buckingham Palace.

"There is an active role that the firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us," Markle says to Winfrey in the teaser clip. The phrase was reportedly started by Prince Philip when he joined the family and is a jest at the family's broad financial assets.

CBS Comes Out the Winner

There's a lot of money behind this anticipated primetime event, which will air right after CBS' 60 Minutes. The network won the right to air the interview from Harpo Productions, Winfrey's production company, because Winfrey has previously worked with the network, according to The Wall Street Journal.

CBS is reportedly paying between $7 million and $9 million for the license to air Harpo's interview. The network sought $325,000 for 30 seconds of commercial time during the broadcast of the two-hour interview, and CBS reached an agreement with Harpo to air the interview in international markets, too.

Meghan and Harry will not be paid for the interview, a spokesperson for the couple confirmed to the Journal.

The conversation with Winfrey comes just as Markle announced she is pregnant with the couple's second child. The Duke and Duchess currently live in Montecito, California and have a 21-month-old son, Archie.

The interview with air Sunday CBS at 8 p.m. EST.

Correction 3/12/2021,10:15 a.m. ET: This article has been updated to correct the spelling of Jacqueline Coley's name.