Meghan Bullying Report Publication Would See a 'Bloodbath' on All Sides

If Buckingham Palace were to publish the findings of their review into allegations of bullying made by staff against Meghan Markle there would be a "bloodbath on all sides," according to a new episode of Newsweek's The Royal Report podcast.

The discussion between chief royal correspondent Jack Royston and royal commentator Kristen Meinzer about the review comes after reports claimed in June that the palace had decided not to make its findings available to the public.

The bullying allegations made against Meghan by former Kensington Palace staff members were initiated following the leaking of an email exchange between former palace press secretary Jason Knauf and Prince William's private secretary. The leak came in the days leading up to the broadcast of Meghan and Prince Harry's interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Meghan Markle Bullying Report Kept Secret
A review of allegations of bullying lodged against Meghan Markle was started after an email from Jason Knauf (inset) was leaked to The Times ahead of Meghan and Prince Harry's interview with Oprah Winfrey. Hannah McKay/WPA Pool/Getty Images/Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Knauf's leaked email, which was first published by U.K.-based newspaper The Times, was sent in the aftermath of Harry and Meghan's tour of the South Pacific in 2018, just five months after the couple's May wedding.

"I am very concerned that the duchess was able to bully two PAs out of the household in the past year," the email read. "The treatment of X [name removed] was totally unacceptable."

"The Duchess seems intent on always having someone in her sights. She is bullying Y [name removed] and seeking to undermine her confidence," the email continued. "We have had report after report from people who have witnessed unacceptable behavior towards Y [name removed]."

Meghan's team issued an immediate response to The Times saying: "Let's just call this what it is—a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation. We are disappointed to see this defamatory portrayal of The Duchess of Sussex given credibility by a media outlet."

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Buckingham Palace, however, took the allegations seriously and announced its intention to open a review of the situation.

"We are clearly very concerned about allegations in The Times following claims made by former staff of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex," the palace said in a statement. "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 results of this review were expected to be published in the Sovereign Grant report for the financial year 2021-2022 later this month, but The Sunday Times recently reported that this is no longer the case.

On the podcast, Royston voiced his belief that releasing the results of the review would prove to reflect badly on all sides.

"I think basically if that report were published it would be a complete bloodbath on all sides and nobody would come out of it looking any good at all," he said.

"I think Buckingham Palace will have taken one look at this and thought 'we're just going to look awful—this is going to make us look absolutely appalling' and if every single fact and allegation came out I just think it would be a complete mud fight and there would be mud over everybody."

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Oprah Interview
The emails alleging that Meghan Markle had bullied staff members were leaked to the British press ahead of the broadcast of Meghan and Prince Harry's interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021. Harpo Productions

For Royston, the wording of Buckingham Palace's initial statement was also important.

"I think what the palace would say is that it was never actually an investigation. Everybody in the media called it an investigation but they can't investigate Meghan," he explained to Meinzer. "You cannot instigate an HR disciplinary process against a royal, it's just not a thing, they're not employees of the institution. So this was a review of what happened to see what the outcome was."

The claims of bullying against Meghan are all reported to have occurred within the Kensington Palace household. For Royston, this is significant as the review was undertaken by Buckingham Palace which operates separately on behalf of the queen, whereas, at the time, Kensington Palace was run jointly between the Sussexes and Cambridges.

"I think that if you knew all of the facts it would largely be defined by 'moral chaos'," Royston said of the working environment within the Kensington Palace household at the time in question.

"When you have a situation in a company or an institution where there's a toxic culture that developed, you get things being done on all sides by everybody because it's a product of the toxic culture and I think this is partly the reason the palace wants to keep it quiet," he said.

As to the findings of the review, however, Royston does not believe that the allegations are baseless.

Regarding the comments made on British television by Meghan's friend Janina Gavankar who claimed to know why a member of staff key to the allegations made left the palace and that it was due to "gross misconduct" rather than bullying, Royston said:

"She went on TV with Meghan's knowledge. That alone tells you that something was happening at Kensington Palace at the time that was a complete mess."

He concluded by saying: "I think the reason why it's not been published is that the whole situation was a bin fire."

Kensington Palace Household Allegations of Bullying
Allegations of bullying were made by staff members of the Royal Household based at Kensington Palace, at the time run jointly by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Andrew Holt/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images