Prince William split his household from Prince Harry’s following an angry phone conversation over claims Meghan Markle was bullying palace staff, a royal author has claimed in his new book.
A friend of the Sussexes said ‘William threw Harry out’, according to Robert Lacey’s book Battle of the Brothers which is featured in the Times, after staff claimed Meghan ‘played the victim, but was a bully’ and William told his friend he thought she had an ‘agenda’.
William felt ‘hurt’ and ‘betrayed’ by the rift, with the heir to the throne telling a friend his wife Kate ‘had been wary of Meghan from the start’. He said he felt Meghan was ‘stealing his beloved brother away from him’, according to extracts from the book.
And Lacey quotes a Kensington Palace courtier as saying: ‘Meghan portrayed herself as the victim, but she was the bully. People felt run over by her. They thought she was a complete narcissist and sociopath — basically unhinged.’
The author also writes that he believes that William believed that Meghan had an ‘agenda’ and had voiced his reservations to Harry before their engagement, but that the row after Meghan and Harry’s trip to Australia in 2018 sealed his decision to split their households.
The rift was sparked by an official email claiming Meghan was bullying palace staff, which was sent by Jason Knauf, communications secretary to the Cambridges and Sussexes, in October 2018. Staff has already been allegedly coined a ‘half joke’ #freeHarry.
A friend of the Sussexes said ‘William threw Harry out’, according to Robert Lacey’s book Battle of the Brothers, after staff claimed Meghan ‘played the victim, but was a bully’ and William told his friend he thought she had an ‘agenda’. Pictured, Harry and Meghan in Australia
A spokesman for the Sussexes has since said the couple are the target of a smear campaign, and denied allegations of bullying.
William heard the allegations from Simon Case, his private secretary, who was sent the email. He immediately picked up the phone to call his brother, but the conversation ended with Harry slamming down the phone, the book claims.
Lacey also dwelled on the Sussex’ interview with Oprah Winfrey, where the author wrote Prince Harry claimed the brothers’ falling out began because the Firm was jealous his wife Meghan was so good with people, something he said echoed his mother Princess Diana’s treatment.
But the brothers were no longer on speaking terms before Harry and Meghan left for Australia, the book states, adding that it was bullying allegations that sparked a brutal row.
Kensington Palace was known for keeping courtiers in their jobs for long periods of time, so it was unusual when multiple aides quit in a short space of time.
As those who left formed an informal fraternity they called Sussex Survivors’ Club, Mr Knauf decided to do something to combat the alleged treatment.
During the Sussex’ interview with Oprah Winfrey Prince Harry claimed the brothers’ falling out began because the Firm was jealous his wife Meghan was so good with people. Pictured, the brothers at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral in Windsor in April
Texas-born and New Zealand-educated Mr Knauf was known for having a kind demeanour and loyalty to his staff. He wrote in a letter to Mr Case ‘I am very concerned that the duchess was able to bully two PAs out of the household in the past year’.
He said Meghan’s alleged treatment of staff was ‘totally unacceptable’ and added that she ‘seems intent on always having someone in her sights’. He said ‘report after report’ had been filed by witnesses of unacceptable behaviour by Meghan.
One courtier said ‘Meghan governed by fear’ and when approached about her behaviour she was said to have replied ‘it’s not my job to coddle people’.
Despite being one of Meghan’s closest advisers, Mr Knauf decided to send the email because his once sympathetic attitude towards the duchess had shifted.
One aide told a colleague ‘I can’t stop shaking’ in anticipation of an encounter with Meghan, while another accused her of ’emotional cruelty and manipulation’.
Another claimed they were left with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after working for the duchess.
Kensington Palace was known for keeping courtiers in their jobs for long periods of time, so it was unusual when multiple aides quit in a short space of time. Pictured, Harry and Meghan at the Sydney Opera House in 2018
One courtier said: ‘I overheard a conversation between Harry and one of his top aides. Harry was screaming down the phone. Team Sussex was a really toxic environment.’
Meanwhile, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were said to be ‘paternalistic’ about their staff, just being ‘really nice’ to make up for the low pay.
When William was told of the bullying allegations he was enraged, the book claims, because he knew the staff personally and considered them to be assets to the palace.
It also confirmed his suspicions Meghan was hostile to the royal system, and he wondered if she planned all along to bring Harry with her to the US.
Meghan’s lawyers and PR said this was the wrong interpretation of their clients thinking in a statement provided to the Times in March 2021.
The above claims were written in Mr Knauf’s memo and were branded ‘defamatory’ by the Sussexes. It also relies on the personal account of a friend who William spoke to following the argument.
Prince William and Kate with Prince Harry and Meghan during the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in March 2019
They said William called Harry after hearing the allegations, but Harry flared up in defence of his wife. When William persisted, Harry shut off the phone, the book claims.
Lacey wrote that William had reservations about Meghan early on, warning Harry to take the relationship slow. He believed she had an ‘agenda’.
In the book one staffer said Meghan portrayed herself as a victim but was actually the bully, calling her a ‘narcissist’ and ‘basically unhinged’.
William had to put the monarchy ahead of his brother, and stopped seeing it as his duty to protect the younger sibling, while Harry was equally angered his brother believed the accusations being fired at his wife, the book claimed.
Some sources claim in the heat of arguments the word ‘racist’ was used, though others deny this.
In the interview with Oprah, Harry said he believed ‘unconscious bias’ may have played a part in Meghan’s treatment.
While it was previously assumed Prince Harry decided to split the households, it was actually Prince William who made the call. He wanted to be separated from Meghan, according to the book.
After the argument in autumn 2018, Mr Case was told to start the process of dividing their two households immediately, Lacey wrote.
MailOnline has contacted representatives for Harry and Meghan as well as Kensington Palace for comment.
Meghan Markle’s friend Omid Scobie makes fresh royal racism claims that family had ‘not one but SEVERAL conversations about Archie’s skin colour’ – as he reveals Duchess WILL return to the UK next year for Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
- Mr Scobie, a friend and confidant of the couple, was speaking at Foreign Press Association event in London
- He revealed Duchess of Sussex wants to fly back to the UK to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022
- When asked about claims of Harry’s racist relative, Mr Scobie said there several chats about Archie’s skin
- He said the couple began to feel ‘well it’s not just this one person, it’s others as well and it becomes a much bigger issue’
Meghan Markle’s close friend Omid Scobie today alleged that the Royal Family had ‘several’ conversations about Archie’s skin colour before his birth and were ‘unsympathetic’ to the couple’s complaints.
Mr Scobie also revealed that the Duchess of Sussex wants to fly back to the UK with her husband to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next summer – but had no intention of visiting this month because of the birth of their daughter Lilibet.
The Sussexes’ preferred royal reporter, who co-wrote their biography Finding Freedom, was speaking at an event at the Foreign Press Association in London where he made more incendiary comments about the Queen and Prince William including racism and ‘unconscious bias’ against Meghan in the family.
Harry and Meghan have been accused of causing a rift with the Windsors after dropping a series of damaging transatlantic ‘truth bombs’ about royal life, including claims to Oprah Winfrey that one senior royal asked how dark Archie’s skin would be, before he was born.
But according to people at today’s FPA event, including award-winning Australian journalist Jacquelin Magnay, Mr Scobie claims that Harry’s family had known about this comment but were ‘unsympathetic’ to the couple’s complaints.
Other conversations followed the first one and it became ‘a much bigger issue’ because Harry and Meghan suspected it was ‘not just this one person’ who was worried about how dark Archie’s skin would be, he said.
The revelations come on the same day that Kate gathered a panel of experts at The London School of Economics to discuss the inaugural report of her new Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood. However, it is not clear when the two events were each arranged.
Omid Scobie, who wrote the Sussexes’ biography Finding Freedom, was speaking at an event at the Foreign Press Association in London where he made more incendiary comments about the Queen and Prince William in relation to claims the royals are racist after comments about their son Archie
‘There was one conversation that took place that affected them massively, when it came to someone within the royal family sharing concerns over the colour of Archie’s skin, ‘ Mr Scobie said.
Mr Scobie said that the Queen’s statement was designed to make people question the Sussexes’ account and did not go far enough to condemn racism
‘To Harry I can see how it is one conversation, to Meghan who would have been involved in the follow up conversations I can see – because there were other people aware of this conversation within the family and within the institution, that did also speak about it, some not so sympathetically.
‘So you then are in a position where you start to feel well its not just this one person, it’s others as well and it becomes a much bigger issue.’
Mr Scobie said ‘pass’ when queried if he knew who made the initial remark about skin colour, saying he only had one source and would not write about it because he had not verified with multiple contacts. He said it was a story for the couple to share should they ever want.
But cryptically he said: ‘And at the time, the biggest conversation was ‘did this come from a senior member of the royal family, a future head of state?’. If that individual is a head of state, then we as a public have a right to know because of course that is someone that is our head of state, head of the Commonwealth. And if they have an issue with race, we should know.’
Speaking to Oprah the Duchess of Sussex also accused the institution of not helping her when she was suicidal and pregnant with Archie.
The Queen responded by saying the issues were taken ‘very seriously’ but that ‘some recollections may vary’ and the matter would addressed by the family privately.
Mr Scobie hit out today and said the Queen’s statement ‘cleverly using the phrase recollections may vary’ to ‘cast doubts on Harry and Meghan’s version of events but didn’t denounce racism in any way whatsoever’.
Prince William also spoke out to deny the Royal Family is racist, and was said to be privately furious about the claims.
Mr Scobie said today: ‘Other individuals within the institution didn’t express the kind of understanding that should have been given.
“Even when William said we are not a racist family, they didn’t condemn racism in any form whatsoever. We do not see the royal family ever do that. So of course it then continues this conversation about how anti-racism is the royal family, how much does the Royal Institution own its history and perhaps any kind of unconscious bias that may exist within the establishment or the family. None of these things ever seem to be addressed’.
William, who was visiting School2 in east London in March after the Oprah interview, William denied the family is racist (pictured). Omid Scobie said: ‘Even when Prince William said they were not a racist family, again, they did not condemn racism in any form whatsoever’
As Prince William spoke out to deny the Royal Family is racist, the Duchess of Cambridge was seen sheltering from the rain with a vibrant rainbow umbrella as she arrived at Kensington Palace for an event on Friday
Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, attended a reception for parents of users of a Centre for Early Childhood, on Friday – the day of the launch of the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood
Despite her husband being said to be privately furious about the latest, claims the royal, 39, looked stylish in a lavender ensemble as she waved at bystanders with a warm smile on her face
Meghan and Harry’s media partners ‘will expect something in return’, Royal expert warns as they take five months paternity leave after giving Spotify 35 minutes of content so far in £18m deal
Harry & Meghan holiday special now available on Spotify – the 34 minute episode is the only content available so far, aside from a three minute trailer for the podcast
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have so far broadcast just 35 minutes of podcast content on Spotify as part of their £18million deal – as a royal expert says the streaming giant will be expecting ‘something in return’.
The Duke, 36, and Duchess of Sussex, 39 – who are parents to two-year-old Archie – welcomed Lilibet ‘Lili’ Diana Mountbatten-Windsor earlier this month, on June 4 at 11.40am in Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, California.
And before stepping back into their various business engagements the couple will ‘both take some proper time off’ to adjust to life as a family of four at their £11million mansion in Montecito, California, a source close to the couple told Vanity Fair.
Prince Harry’s paternity leave means taking time out from his executive position at a Silicon Valley start-up that claims to be worth $1.7billion.
For the couple the time-off also means temporarily stepping back from their multi-million-pound deals with Netflix and Spotify – which Harry told Oprah Winfrey he was persuaded to sign when he was ‘literally cut off financially’ from the Royal Family.
The Sussexes were last heard on their Archewell Audio Spotify podcast for the 2020 Christmas special, and the platform had planned for ‘a full-scale launch of shows’ in 2021.
It is understood that the couple will be paid the full £18million fee after their duties have been met, The Sun reports.
Royal author Phil Dampier said: ‘We’re being told they’re having up to five months off and people who are paying them a lot of money will expect something in return.’
Mr Dampier questioned whether the couple may ‘have too much on their plate’ after securing numerous deals and agreements before the birth of their daughter.
Meghan will not join Prince Harry when he returns to the UK later this month for the unveiling of Princess Diana’s statue, it was announced yesterday.
Sources in the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s office have confirmed for the first time that she plans to stay at home in California following the birth of their daughter, Lilibet.
They were responding to reports in the US that the duchess was considering flying over for a whirlwind visit to support her husband at what will be a deeply emotional time for him.
An entertainment website cited sources saying Harry had found it difficult to return alone for the funeral of his late grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, and his relationship with his family had only worsened since. ‘[Meghan] doesn’t want that to happen again,’ a source was quoted as saying.
Yesterday palace insiders expressed surprise as they had heard no word that Meghan would be present. A Kensington Palace spokesman said it was a matter for the Sussexes.
Later in the day, Sussex sources spoke to the media to say the story was not true and pointed out the duchess ‘had just had a baby’. Lilibet Diana was born on June 4.
There was no mention, however, of the couple’s son Archie, two.
Many in royal circles are predicting that Harry, 36, will bring his son with him to see his British family for the first time since he was taken to Canada with his parents in January last year.
Harry will stay at Frogmore Cottage, his Windsor home, giving him privacy and the opportunity to visit the Queen at Windsor Castle.
The moving tribute to Diana was jointly commissioned by William and Harry in 2017 to mark the 20th anniversary of their mother’s death and to ‘recognise her positive impact’.
Both brothers felt that an official statue of the princess was long overdue after the disaster of the official memorial fountain that was constructed to much public derision after her untimely death in 1997.
But its unveiling has been delayed by the fall-out between the brothers and the Covid pandemic.
It was made by sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley and will be installed in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, Diana’s home, on July 1.
It is the same spot where a tribute garden was planted to mark the 20th anniversary of her death and where Harry and Meghan announced their engagement in 2017.
In a joint statement, the brothers said: ‘It has been 20 years since our mother’s death and the time is right to recognise her positive impact in the UK and around the world with a permanent statue. Our mother touched so many lives. We hope the statue will help all those who visit Kensington Palace to reflect on her life and legacy.’
Mr Rank-Broadley was seen as a very safe pair of hands for the commission.
His sculpture of the Queen was the model for the image of her that has been printed on British coins since 1998.
But while the Diana statue has in some ways brought Harry and William together, all eyes will be on the two warring brothers, whose once close relationship has disintegrated in recent years as a result of the Sussexes’ acrimonious split from the Royal Family.
Earlier this year the Sussexes conducted an explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey in which they made highly damaging claims about the Royal Family, including allegations of racism and a perceived lack of support over Meghan’s mental health issues.
Harry has also taken a number of vitriolic pot shots from across the Atlantic at his father, brother and the institution of the monarchy.
Although he was brought up at Kensington Palace and moved back there as an adult, it will no doubt be a challenging return for Harry.
Kensington Palace is very much his brother and sister-in-law’s ‘territory’ now. But the presence of his nephews and niece – George, Louis and Charlotte – whom he hasn’t seen for a year and a half at least could help soothe troubled waters.