Buckingham Palace chose to keep the findings of their investigation into allegations of bullying against Meghan Markle private – and one author is not surprised.
In June of last year, palace officials told reporters that the details of their independent review were not being released to protect the confidentiality of those who took part. Current and former palace staff were invited to speak about their experiences working for the Duchess of Sussex after claims surfaced in 2021 about her bullying several staff members.
“In terms of why the decision was taken [my sources] felt that it has been swept under the carpet because Buckingham Palace did not want to pick another fight with the Sussexes,” Valentine Low explained to Fox News Digital. “They knew that if they released the report, I think it would have at least garnered some criticism.”
“I don’t know what conclusions the report filed, but I bet there was some notion there that [Meghan] had not treated staff very well,” the correspondent for the U.K. Times shared. “And they thought if they put that out there, the Sussexes would be furious and would come back with something. So they’d rather take a bit of criticism from the media for not being very open with us than have yet another fight with Harry with Meghan.”
Low has written a book that was published on Jan. 24 titled “Courtiers: Intrigue, Ambition, and the Power Players Behind the House of Windsor.” In it, Low explores how trusted advisors to the British royal family played a crucial role in the monarchy’s survival over the years. It features interviews with insiders who shared their experiences working behind palace doors. While it gives insight into several royals, it is the book’s chapters on the Sussexes that have garnered the most headlines.
Reps for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment in regard to Low’s book. A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace previously told Fox News Digital they generally do not comment “on such books.”
Low was the reporter who broke the story about palace aides alleging they were bullied by the Duchess of Sussex before the couple made their exit in 2020. The bombshell article was published days before the couple’s interview with Oprah Winfrey was televised in March 2021. The tell-all, when the couple detailed their struggles with royal life, was viewed by nearly 50 million people globally.
At the time, Markle’s team strongly refuted the claims.
“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 sent to Fox News Digital at the time. “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.”
A spokesperson for the Sussexes also told the Times, “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. It’s no coincidence that distorted several-year-old accusations aimed at undermining The Duchess are being briefed to the British media shortly before she and The Duke are due to speak openly and honestly about their experience of recent years.”
Low called the response a “typical feisty reaction” from the couple.
“The important thing is we all know they’re quite litigious,” he said. “They like suing newspapers… But despite getting several strongly worded letters from their lawyers before we published – after we published we didn’t hear a word from them. So that speaks volumes, too.”
Buckingham Palace launched their investigation after news reports alleged that Markle, 41, drove out two personal assistants and that staff was “humiliated” on several occasions during her time living at Kensington Palace with Prince Harry.
Markle, who starred in the legal drama “Suits,” married the British prince, 38, in 2018. In early 2020, the couple announced they were quitting royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media.
According to Low’s book, one source alleged that working with the Sussexes was “like working for a couple of teenagers.”
“That’s what they were like,” Low claimed. “They were kind of stubborn. They were difficult. They were uncontrollable and incredibly willful. You look at all the things that Meghan and Harry did – for instance, private jets. There was a time during the summer of 2019 when they took several jets in a short space of time. And this was despite all the advice they were given. You know, ‘Don’t do that because you’ve been lecturing the world about saving the environment, and then you’re on a private jet.’ Which was so bad in terms of carbon emissions. But they wouldn’t listen to reason. And of course, when the media found out about it, Harry got severely criticized. But they were just difficult to deal with.”
Another former palace insider said they felt Markle “thought she was going to be the Beyoncé of the UK” after marrying Harry.
“I think they felt she wanted the stardom, she wanted the adulation,” said Low. He alleged that she was “less interested in cutting ribbons, opening hospitals and doing all the frankly boring things that members of the royal family often have to do.”
“[But] she liked the stardom,” he claimed. “She liked the attention.”
Several members of staff alleged that during the couple’s 2018 tour of the South Pacific, they heard Markle say on at least one occasion, “I can’t believe I’m not getting paid for this.”
“Although she enjoyed the attention, Meghan failed to understand the point of all those walkabouts, shaking hands with countless strangers,” Low wrote.
One member argued, however, that the duchess, still navigating the stresses of royal life, was embarking on a major tour while pregnant with her firstborn.
“It was certainly clear that there were lots of pressures,” said the source.
However, not everyone was as sympathetic. A source alleged Markle made a “crushing” comment to a palace aide who was involved with the royal wedding. The book claimed Markle “spoke particularly harshly at a meeting to a young female member of the team in front of her colleagues.”
“After Meghan had pulled to shreds a plan she had drawn up, the woman told Meghan how hard it would be to implement a new one,” the book claimed. “’Don’t worry,’ Meghan told her, ‘if there was literally anyone else I could ask to do this, I would be asking them instead of you.’”
One staffer alleged there were constant calls and emails from the duchess, leaving them exasperated.
“You could not physically escape them,” a staffer was quoted as saying. “There were no lines or boundaries – it was last thing at night, first thing in the morning.” The book alleged that “relations between the couple and some of their senior staff became so fractious that Miguel Head, [Prince] William’s private secretary, had to step in to help keep the peace.”
“Some of them left, went on to go and get new jobs because they couldn’t take it anymore,” Low claimed. “If you listen to the testimony of some of these people… when they were anticipating getting a bit of a roasting from Meghan, they talked about, ‘I’m shaking. I’m terrified. I can’t stop shaking.’ That’s how bad things were. And people talked about members of staff being completely broken by that.”
Low also claimed that some former staff still had difficulty discussing their experiences. Some would even refer to themselves as members of “The Sussex Survivors’ Club.”
“At the time I was writing the bullying story… this is a couple of years after the incidents in question,” said Low. “Some of these people were still in an emotionally fragile state. There was one person in particular who was periodically in tears… Because all those memories were coming back.”
Low said that regardless of who was allegedly to blame, there was no question that the palace could have done a better job to address the crisis.
“They’re separate households, so in some ways, there’s no real strong center of power,” Low explained. “The center of power is Buckingham Palace, obviously. But they don’t have complete control over the other households. The other households run things how they want to run things. To an extent, they’re answerable to Buckingham Palace, but also not very much. They’re answerable to the person they work for… There’s a certain amount of independence there. That kind of independence leads to a slight lack of control. I think that was one of the problems… And even when they’re getting along quite well, there’s always an element of friction and mistrust between the households.”
“That never completely goes away,” he continued. “Sometimes it could be quite good. But I also think… there was a poor relationship there… And I think that played a role in [the offices] not getting involved early enough, not taking control of the situation. How much they could have done? I don’t know. But at the very least they could have ensured that… if Harry and Meghan are going to leave the royal family, at least it could be managed in a civilized way. The problem was it all got so advanced by the time they finally did. But it was too late and it was just incredibly acrimonious.”
Harry, in particular, has long complained of “leaks” and “plants” of stories to the media by members of the royal household. He detailed those claims in his memoir “Spare,” which was published on Jan. 10. Buckingham Palace officials have declined to comment on any of the allegations made in Harry’s book. A spokesperson for the king did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment. A spokesperson for Kensington Palace, which represents the Prince and Princess of Wales, told Fox News Digital it doesn’t have a comment. Allies of the royal family have pushed back on Harry’s claims, largely anonymously.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex reside in California with their two children.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.