In a BBC podcast, lawyer Meghan Markle claimed that the allegations of bullying were used “very accidentally” in response to allegations that the Duchess of Sussex had mistreated the palace staff.
Jenny Afia, a lawyer with the law firm Schillings, said the word “bullying” was “a very, very harmful term … especially for women in their careers”, and said the Duchess “absolutely denied” that she ever did.
She spoke in a new podcast series with BBC journalist Amol Rajan, based on his controversial documentary examining the relationship between royal households and the media, which aired last November.
Palace helpers announced last March that they were launching an internal investigation into allegations that Meghani’s behavior had driven two personal assistants out of the home and “undermined the confidence” of the third.
The employees allegedly remained in tears and felt “traumatized”. But with the express permission of the Duchess, Miss Afia denied that Meghan was a tyrant, and pointed out that the term was “used very loosely.”
Miss Afia told a podcast that came out yesterday called Harry, Meghan and the Media: “I think the first thing is to be really clear about what bullying is, because the term is used very, very randomly.
“My daughter called me a bully last week when I asked her to brush her teeth – she is seven years old. So this term is used very loosely and it is a very, very harmful term, as we know, especially I think for women by profession. “
She added: “Bullying actually means misusing power repeatedly and intentionally to harm someone physically or emotionally. The Duchess of Sussex absolutely denies that she would ever do so.
“If I know her as much as I do, I can’t believe she ever did. I wasn’t there at the time, but it didn’t match my experience with her at all, and I saw her in very, very stressful moments.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are pictured holding hands in Manhattan, New York on September 23 last year.
Meghana’s lawyer Jenny Afia talks to Amol Rajan in The Princes and the Press on BBC last November
“That story is absolutely untrue, he’s a bully.” That means she doesn’t want to negate someone’s personal experience. “
The Daily Mail revealed last month that an investigation into Buckingham Palace’s allegations of bullying had revealed only a “small handful” of people who worked for it.
Kensington Palace Communications Secretary Jason Knauf sent an e-mail expressing concern about Meghan’s behavior
The revelation raised concerns that the investigation, which began ten months ago, had been “dug into the tall grass.”
Palace assistants announced in March 2021 that they were launching an internal investigation into allegations of Meghani’s behavior.
The Royal Household subsequently employed a third-party law firm to investigate the family’s privately paid claims, a move some predicted could increase tensions between Harry and Meghan and the “institution.”
He strongly denies the allegations, which were first reported by The Times, the Duchess, whose lawyers then called them a “calculated smear campaign”.
But the Daily Mail then found out in December that only a small number of royal staff – both past and present – were in fact spoken to.
They probably included two PAs, another employee, and possibly Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, who was then working as Prince William’s private secretary.
Jason Knauf, Secretary of Communications at Kensington Palace, sent an e-mail to Mr. Case in October 2018, expressing concern about Meghan’s behavior and seeking protection for employees he thought were the target.
The Harry, Meghan and the Media podcast is available on the BBC website and BBC Sounds after yesterday’s release.
Last November, BBC journalist Amol Rajan presented the controversial documentary The Princes and the Press
The Sussex would have an average of about 15 employees at a time – up to 25 during Meghan’s brief tenure in the royal family from 2017 to 2020.
A wall of silence erupted around the Buckingham Palace investigation at the behest of the Queen’s extremely careful private secretary, Sir Edward Young (pictured).
However, at the behest of the queen, at the behest of the Queen’s extremely careful private secretary, Sir Edward Young, there was such a wall of silence that no one in the household was told if it was still going on.
Part of the problem was that the palace had never before had to deal with an official complaint of bullying against a member of the royal family – essentially an employer – and thus had no precedent by which to act.
And with such a narrow scope of investigation, sources are asking what the investigation will actually accomplish. One said to Mail last month: “I think they do [the Palace] are easily caught between a stone and a hard spot on this …
“Obviously, serious questions need to be asked about how the original bullying complaints against the Duchess were handled internally.”
They added: “According to everyone, only a handful of people were interviewed. It was far from complete. “
Buckingham Palace last month declined to comment on any aspect of the investigation. She had previously said that the investigation should not “take place in public” and “will last as long as it takes.”
The Sussex people were not expected to be invited to take part in the probe – even though they wrote about it in the palace.
Ms Afia, who appeared in a BBC document last year, said she believed there were “huge inaccuracies” in the allegations.