The epilogue to Finding Freedom reveals new details about the allegations that Meghan Markle bullied palace staff.
Just four days before Markle and Prince Harry's interview with Oprah Winfrey was televised, The Times of London published two reports accusing the Duchess of Sussex of bullying palace staff members. The Times cited emails in their articles, suggesting that a staff member had leaked the information to the press.
One such email was from the Sussexes' prior communications director Jason Knauf, who wrote to Kensington Palace Private Secretary Simon Case in October 2018. According to authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, Knauf wrote that he was "very concerned" about Markle's conduct, claiming she was "able to bully two PAs out of the household in the past year."
"The treatment of [name redacted] was totally unacceptable," Knauf wrote. "The duchess seems intent on always having someone in her sights. She is bullying [name redacted] and seeking to undermine her confidence. We have had report after report from people who have witnessed unacceptable behaviour towards [name redacted]."
The Times also reported that Markle's conduct was brought to the attention of the head of human resources, Samantha Carruthers.
However, Scobie and Durand wrote that their sources "confirmed that upon the discovery of Jason's email, two of the individuals mentioned in the email asked for any allegations made to HR about their experiences with Meghan be rescinded."
Markle's team denied the allegations in a statement to E! News at the time. "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." The statement continued, "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."
Nonetheless, Buckingham Palace announced an investigation into the claims on Wednesday, March 3. "We are clearly very concerned about allegations in The Times following claims made by former staff of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex," Buckingham Palace said in a statement at the time. "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."
In June 2021, Buckingham Palace said the investigation was ongoing.
Knauf is due to step down from his current position as chief executive to Prince William and Kate Middleton's Royal Foundation in December. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shared the news on May 12, and their statement noted that "a planned international relocation" has "necessitated his decision to stand down."