Christopher Andersen, author of “Brother and Wives: Inside the Private Lives of William, Kate, Harry, and Meghan,” told Insider the purported issues between the Duchess of Sussex and some of her former staff in the royal household were “just a culture clash.”
“Particularly within the royal household they’re very indirect in the way they do things,” Andersen said. “The kind of plain-spoken, upfront personality, distinctly American approach that Meghan has to getting things done just rubs them the wrong way.”
Allegations that the Duchess of Sussex bullied members of staff surfaced in a Times of London report in March. At the time, two senior staffers said they’d been bullied, one aide said they’d been “humiliated” by Markle, and another said their experience with her felt “more like emotional cruelty and manipulation.”
A spokesperson for Markle and Prince Harry told the publication she was “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.”
Lawyers representing the Sussexes told the publication the allegations were being used by “Buckingham Palace to peddle a wholly false narrative.”
In response to the article, Buckingham Palace opening an investigation into the bullying claims.
“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 obtained by Insider at the time.
In “Brothers and Wives,” Anderson writes that the Sussexes began to realize that courtiers known as the “Men in Gray” were briefing newspapers with negative stories about Markle to boost reputations of other members of the royal family.
“It was clear to Harry and Meghan that the Men in Gray were spreading much of the salacious gossip to bolster the reputations of more important members of the family — principally the Cambridges,” he wrote in the book.
Anderson, who has spent years covering the royals and written six books on the topic, also referenced Markle’s Oprah Winfrey interview, in which the Duchess of Sussex claimed that it was Middleton who made her cry before her wedding to Harry, and not the other way around, as UK tabloids had reported.
“Meghan cited the flip-flop over who made who cry during the flower girl fiasco as a case in point,” he wrote. “‘I came to understand that they were willing to lie to protect other members of the family,’ she said, ‘but they weren’t willing to tell the truth to protect me and my husband.'”
Jenny Afia, one of Markle’s lawyers, also defended the duchess against bullying claims in the BBC’s documentary series “The Princes and the Press” that aired in the UK in late November.
Afia told Amol Rajan, BBC media editor and host of the program, tabloid stories about Markle’s poor treatment of staff were “false.”
“This narrative that no one could work for the Duchess of Sussex, that she was too difficult, demanding of a boss, and that everyone had to leave is just not true,” she said.
“What bullying actually means is improperly using power repeatedly and deliberately to hurt someone, physically or emotionally. The Duchess of Sussex absolutely denies ever doing that, ” Afia said. “That said she wouldn’t want to negate anyone’s personal experiences.”
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