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Queen has not been given ‘advance copy’ of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Oprah interview

The Queen has not been given an ‘advanced copy’ of Meghan and Harry’s tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey, reports claim.

Senior royals and Palace aides will watch the much-anticipated interview ‘at the same time’ as the rest of the world with network CBS set to air the two-hour special in the US at 1am UK time on Sunday night.

Officials have vowed to ‘reserve judgement’ on the show and will decide on Monday whether to make a public response in light of anything specific Meghan and Harry have to say. ITV will broadcast it at 9pm that evening.

In a further blow to relations between the royal family and the Sussexes, sources today revealed that the Queen does not have an ‘advance copy’ of the no-holes-barred special – which is set to contain ‘shocking’ revelations about Meghan’s short time as a working royal.

Over-produced teaser trailers have already seen the Duchess of Sussex accuse the ‘Firm’ of ‘perpetuating falsehoods’ about her and Prince Harry while the pair during their time in Kensington Palace.

The couple, ITV and CBS have all faced furious backlash at the decision to push ahead with broadcasting the interview while Harry’s 99-year-old grandfather Prince Philip recovers from heart surgery in hospital.

A friend earlier said Meghan would never ask to postpone Sunday’s release of her tell-all interview with Oprah and said the royal family is using the Duke of Edinburgh’s health as an excuse to keep her ‘muzzled’. 

Although most of the interview will be a one-to-one chat on what the duchess has to say about her brief but acrimonious time as a working royal, Harry is understood to come in towards the end to have his say on the media and discuss their plans for the future. 

It is believed that this approach has in part been done in an attempt to distance himself from any of the stronger allegations made about his own family by his wife. 

But if the 36-year-old prince, who is still sixth in line to the throne, thinks it will go any way to protecting his already fragile relationships with his relatives, notably his brother, the Duke of Cambridge, he will have to think again. 

William has barely spoken to his brother in recent months and their relationship is said to be ‘hanging by a thread’ – although Prince Charles is understood to have tried not to get involved. 

Despairing officials also cannot believe that Harry is so ‘blinkered’ that he cannot see how the interview is likely to destroy any vestige of trust between him and his family. 

It comes as the charity watchdog is reviewing Harry and Meghan’s charity amid concerns on how it was run and whether it complied with charity law before it was shut down last year following their move to the US.

Sources told the Telegraph the Charity Commission has opened a ‘regulatory and compliance case’ into Sussex Royal, though the watchdog has not yet determined whether or not there was any wrongdoing.

A Hollywood insider with ties to the Sussexes tells DailyMail.com, ‘Even if Meghan had the choice to postpone the Oprah special she said she wouldn’t’ 

The Queen (pictured with the Sussexes in 2018) has not been given an 'advanced copy' of Meghan and Harry's tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey, reports claim

The Queen (pictured with the Sussexes in 2018) has not been given an ‘advanced copy’ of Meghan and Harry’s tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey, reports claim

Senior royals (the family pictured together last year) and Palace aides will watch the much-anticipated interview 'at the same time' as the rest of the world with network CBS set to air the two-hour special in the US at 1am UK time on Sunday night

Senior royals (the family pictured together last year) and Palace aides will watch the much-anticipated interview ‘at the same time’ as the rest of the world with network CBS set to air the two-hour special in the US at 1am UK time on Sunday night

Mounting pressure has been put on Meghan, Harry and CBS to push back the much-anticipated interview special out of respect for Harry’s grandfather Prince Philip, who is recovering from heart surgery. 

But a friend of the Sussexes tells DailyMail.com exclusively, ‘Even if Meghan had the choice to postpone the Oprah special she said she wouldn’t because it has absolutely nothing to do with Prince Philip and that this is just an excuse by the palace to keep her muzzled.’ 

In a teaser released Wednesday, Meghan accused the Royal Family of ‘perpetuating falsehoods’ about her and Harry. 

The clip was released the same day Buckingham Palace launched a probe into allegations that Meghan bullied her staff. The unprecedented inquiry came after Meghan was accused of inflicting ’emotional cruelty’ on aides who said she is playing the victim. 

Mounting pressure has been put on Meghan and Harry to push back the much-anticipated interview special out of respect for Prince Philip’s health 

Royal staff said they are members of the ‘Sussex Survivors’ Club’ after working for the couple, with some claiming they have suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety because of their treatment by Harry and Meghan.   

But our source said, ‘[Meghan] said these outrageous allegations confirm why she and Harry had to part ways and make it their mission to be a voice for the underdog.

‘Meghan said not once did anyone from the Palace come to her defense when she was being shredded by the tabloids, but now all of a sudden it’s okay for those same people to talk to the media. 

‘She said it’s a double standard and not in a million years would Kate ever be treated this way. Meghan said she was singled out from day one.

‘Meghan said she is beyond relieved and grateful that she can enjoy her pregnancy surrounded by love and support, unlike what she experienced behind the walls of the Palace.’

On Friday another promo clip was released of the interview. In it, Meghan claimed royal aides blocked her from having a personal conversation with Oprah in the months leading up to her wedding to Prince Harry.

Oprah revealed she called Meghan in February or March 2018 – two or three months before her wedding at Windsor Castle in May that year – to ask for an interview, but she declined because it was not ‘the right time’.  

On Wednesday, the Palace confirmed that its HR team will 'look into' the allegations, saying it 'does not and will not tolerate bullying or harassment in the workplace'

On Wednesday, the Palace confirmed that its HR team will ‘look into’ the allegations, saying it ‘does not and will not tolerate bullying or harassment in the workplace’

The bullying claims emerged in a 2018 email sent by Harry and Meghan's press chief Jason Knauf, who now works for Prince William. This sparked an extraordinary chain of events where the Sussexes accused Buckingham Palace of smearing them. The Queen then launched an inquiry into the bullying claims

The bullying claims emerged in a 2018 email sent by Harry and Meghan’s press chief Jason Knauf, who now works for Prince William. This sparked an extraordinary chain of events where the Sussexes accused Buckingham Palace of smearing them. The Queen then launched an inquiry into the bullying claims

Meghan said she remembered that chat with Oprah ‘very well’ and ‘wasn’t even allowed to have this conversation with you personally’ because there had to be other people in the room sitting in.

Asked why she was now speaking out, Meghan gave a long pause, before saying: ‘Well, so many things. That we’re on the other side of a lot of – a lot of life experience that’s happened, and also that we have the ability to make our own choices in a way that I couldn’t have said yes to you then.’

She added: ‘That wasn’t my choice to make. So as an adult who lived a really independent life to then go into this construct that is different than I think what people imagine it to be, it’s really liberating to be able to have the right and the privilege in some ways to be able to say yes, I’m ready to talk.’

Oprah said Meghan was now ready to ‘say it for yourself’, which the Duchess agreed with, adding that she now did ‘not to have to consult with anybody at this point’. Meghan added: ‘Yeah, to make a choice your own and be able to speak for yourself.’  

Oprah raised eyebrows when she attended the wedding in May 2018 among many observers who had no idea the billionaire US chat show legend even knew the couple. 

She is thought to have only met the Duchess once face-to-face before being invited to the star-studded nuptials and given a plum seat next to senior royals.

Their sit-down at Kensington Palace months before the ceremony was reportedly initiated by Gayle King, a mutual friend and presenter on CBS This Morning, who is said to have set up the initial phone call between the pair. 

Oprah has also promoted the Duchess’s range of vegan coffee to her 19million Instagram followers, visited her mother Doria for ‘kumquats and yoga in the garden’ and even teamed up with Harry to secure an Apple TV deal. 

The tell-all chat with Oprah Winfrey was filmed at a location in California last month and will be shown in the US on Sunday

The tell-all chat with Oprah Winfrey was filmed at a location in California last month and will be shown in the US on Sunday

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at their wedding at Windsor Castle in May 2018

Oprah Winfrey attended the wedding in May 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at their wedding at Windsor Castle in May 2018 (left), which Oprah Winfrey attended (right)

he first of two clips released on Monday saw Oprah ask Meghan: ‘Were you silent or were you silenced?’. Oprah added: ‘I just want to make it clear to everybody that there is no subject that is off limits’. Two further sections of that clip saw Oprah say the phrases ‘almost unsurvivable’ and ‘sounds like there was a breaking point’. 

That same clip also featured Harry saying: ‘My biggest concern was history repeating itself’ – and two further snippets of Oprah saying: ‘You’ve said some pretty shocking things here’, and ‘Wait, hold, hold up, wait a minute.’

The second clip released on Monday saw Harry say: ‘For me, I’m just really relieved and happy to be sitting here talking to you with my wife by my side, because I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like for her (my mother Princess Diana) going through this process by herself all those years ago, because it’s been unbelievably tough for the two of us. But at least we have each other.’

The program will be broadcast in more than 70 countries – including Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, about 40 nations in sub-Saharan Africa and even Iceland – in deals experts say will be worth ‘a king’s ransom’. 

More countries will be announced in the coming days under arrangements that could earn tens of millions of pounds for CBS. The Sussexes are not being paid for the chat and will not receive a slice of the syndication profits. 

CBS is said to be charging advertisers more than $150,000 for a 30-second slot. PR insider Mark Borkowski said: ‘With 70 countries, a conservative estimate is that this is going to make tens of millions. I can’t see anything less than that.

‘You’re looking at a king’s ransom and it’s going to be a massive payday for CBS. The last event on a scale like this was probably Meghan’s own wedding. If it had been outside of Covid and the ravages of that on the ad industry it might have been a bigger deal, but it’s still going to be a huge piece of content to have.’ 

A source close to the couple said of the timing: ‘There are a lot of people who are going to talk about this until the program airs, but the programming and all the rest of it is ultimately up to CBS. We’re not involved in that side of things. As it stands, I don’t think there is any intention from the program maker to change its air date.’

Tory MP Bob Blackman said: ‘To be doing a tell-all interview screened in the UK when Philip is in hospital… they are badly advised, to put it mildly. None of these royal interviews have gone well and I can’t see this going any better.’

CBS presenter Gayle King spoke about the clip after it was shown on CBS This Morning, saying Meghan had been 'vilified'

Ahead of its release, CBS presenter Gayle King, who is good friends with Oprah, tweeted: 'Two days and counting till Oprah's interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry... This morning we have an EXCLUSIVE preview'

Ahead of its release, CBS presenter Gayle King (left), who is good friends with Oprah, tweeted (right): ‘Two days and counting till Oprah’s interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry… This morning we have an EXCLUSIVE preview’

In another trailer, Meghan calls her husband’s family ‘The Firm’ and blames them for her decision to speak out. 

Oprah asks her: ‘How do you feel about the Palace hearing you speak your truth today?’

An emotional Meghan replies: ‘I don’t know how they could expect that after all of this time we would still just be silent if there is an active role that The Firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us’.

The Duchess adds: ‘And, if that comes with risk of losing things, there is a lot that has been lost already.’

It’s not clear which ‘falsehoods’ Meghan is talking about because the interview was recorded before she was accused of ‘driving out’ two PAs and shattering the confidence of another member of Kensington Palace staff – with one former aide branding Prince Harry and his wife ‘outrageous bullies.’

Hours after she made the claims, Buckingham Palace revealed the Duke of Edinburgh, 99, underwent a ‘successful procedure for a pre-existing heart condition’ and will remain in hospital for ‘treatment, rest and recuperation for a number of days’.  

Commonwealth Day in 2020 was the scene of Harry and Meghan’s final official public engagement last year. The 2021 service was cancelled for the first time in nearly half a century, because of the pandemic

Meghan suggests she has no fears about losing her royal privileges by speaking out, claiming: 'If that comes with risk of losing things, there is a lot that has been lost already'

Meghan suggests she has no fears about losing her royal privileges by speaking out, claiming: ‘If that comes with risk of losing things, there is a lot that has been lost already’

Buckingham Palace will braced for a weekend of potentially damaging revelations and will no doubt be nervously watching developments in the US to see what further claims are made in the interview. 

Meanwhile other Royal Family members carried on with their engagements – including Prince William and Kate who had a videocall with the parents of a boy helped by a mental health text helpline that they are supporting. 

While CBS was broadcasting, the @RoyalFamily Twitter account quoted a post about how the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had spoken to a family whose lives were changed by a message to a mental health support service. 

The Queen has also continued working while her husband has been in hospital – including encouraging people to get the Covid-19 vaccine, holding phone calls with Armed Forces chiefs and virtually unveiling a new statue of herself in Australia.

The pair were both labeled ‘outrageous bullies’, according to sensational claims. 

‘Broken’ royal aides told of feeling humiliated, ‘sick’, ‘terrified’, left ‘shaking’ with fear, and being reduced to tears by the duchess.

In an extraordinary statement, Buckingham Palace announced a formal probe into the allegations surrounding the Queen’s grandson and his wife. Members of staff will be invited to contribute in confidence.

The Duchess of Sussex (pictured with the royal family) is accused of 'driving out' two PAs and shattering the confidence of another member of Kensington Palace staff - with one former aide branding Harry and his wife 'outrageous bullies' in The Times earlier this week

The Duchess of Sussex (pictured with the royal family) is accused of ‘driving out’ two PAs and shattering the confidence of another member of Kensington Palace staff – with one former aide branding Harry and his wife ‘outrageous bullies’ in The Times earlier this week

A photograph released by Kensington Palace today of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their videocall with the parents of a schoolboy who have praised the text helpline, Shout 85258, developed by the couple's Royal Foundation

A photograph released by Kensington Palace today of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their videocall with the parents of a schoolboy who have praised the text helpline, Shout 85258, developed by the couple’s Royal Foundation

The Palace said: ‘We are clearly very concerned about allegations in The Times following claims made by former staff of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. 

‘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 Royal Household, will be invited to participate to see if lessons can be learned.

‘The 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.’

It does not appear that the duke and duchess will be consulted at this stage. However, Harry and Meghan have strenuously denied any bullying.

In response to the reports, they accused the Queen’s staff of orchestrating a ‘calculated smear campaign’. But Palace sources slapped down the smear claim as utterly ‘disingenuous’.

The allegations and resulting probe – as well as accusations by the duchess that Buckingham Palace, and therefore the Queen, are deliberately moving against her – sees a new low in relations between the two parties.

When the couple acrimoniously quit last year as working royals, the elderly monarch made clear her regret and made a point of saying they were still much loved members of her family.

Aides said the hope was that they could still return for family events such as Trooping the Colour, the official celebration of the Queen’s birthday when royals gather on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, and other important occasions.

‘We can FINALLY tell the truth’: Former Royal aide who claims she was ‘bullied by Meghan Markle’ welcomes Palace probe and hopes it will put pressure on her and Harry to provide evidence

By Martin Robinson, Chief Reporter For Mailonline and Rebecca English Royal Editor and Sam Greenhill Chief Reporter For The Daily Mail 

An aide claiming to have been bullied by Meghan Markle welcomed the Queen’s investigation into her and Harry’s alleged mistreatment of staff and declared: ‘We will finally be able to tell the truth’.

The unnamed palace worker’s claim will pile even more pressure on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to give evidence to the probe after they were invited to take part by Buckingham Palace. 

The Sussexes are accused of leaving behind a ‘lot of broken people’ with ‘young women broken by their behaviour’ and a source describing one member of their staff as ‘completely destroyed’ by the ordeal.

The Queen has now launched an unprecedented inquiry into allegations that Meghan and Harry bullied their staff – leaving royal employees ‘shaken’ by ‘unhappy memories’ being brought up about a ‘toxic period’ before the couple emigrated.

Devastating claims that the Duchess of Sussex inflicted ’emotional cruelty’ on underlings and ‘drove them out’ were ‘very’ concerning, Buckingham Palace said.  

The whistleblower told The Times: ‘We will finally be able to tell the truth. It’s not going to be easy, but this is very welcome and long overdue. We don’t have to be silent any more’. Lawyers for the Sussexes have vehemently denied they have bullied or mistreated staff.

It came as Meghan Markle accused the Royal Family of ‘perpetuating falsehoods’ about her and Harry in their interview with Oprah Winfrey in a new teaser clip released just hours after Buckingham Palace launched a probe into her alleged bullying of staff.

Ramping up her war of words with the royals, the Duchess of Sussex calls her husband’s family ‘The Firm’ in the 30-second trailer released by CBS yesterday and blames them for speaking out in a show set to be watched by millions around the globe.

Hours after she made the claims, Buckingham Palace revealed the Duke of Edinburgh has undergone a ‘successful procedure for a pre-existing heart condition’ and will remain in hospital for ‘treatment, rest and recuperation for a number of days’.

Prince Philip, 99, had the operation at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the City of London, where he was transferred to on Monday after spending 14 days at King Edward VII Hospital in Marylebone due to an infection.   

Harry’s grandfather’s ill health will again increase calls for the couple to postpone its broadcast on CBS in the US on Sunday and on ITV1 in the UK on Monday.  

The Queen (pictured with the couple in 2018) launched an unprecedented inquiry last night into allegations that Meghan and Harry bullied their staff

The Queen (pictured with the couple in 2018) launched an unprecedented inquiry last night into allegations that Meghan and Harry bullied their staff 

It came as a royal outsider scotched hopes they could one day return for royal events such as Trooping the Colour, saying: ‘I can’t ever see those two back on the balcony.’ 

Harry and his wife were both labelled ‘outrageous bullies’, according to sensational claims. 

‘Broken’ royal aides told of feeling humiliated, ‘sick’, ‘terrified’, left ‘shaking’ with fear, and being reduced to tears by the duchess.

In an extraordinary statement, Buckingham Palace announced a formal probe into the allegations surrounding the Queen’s grandson and his wife. Members of staff will be invited to contribute in confidence.

The Palace said: ‘We are clearly very concerned about allegations in The Times following claims made by former staff of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. 

‘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 Royal Household, will be invited to participate to see if lessons can be learned.

‘The 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.’

It does not appear that the duke and duchess will be consulted at this stage. However, Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, have strenuously denied any bullying.

In response to the reports, they accused the Queen’s staff of orchestrating a ‘calculated smear campaign’ ahead of their explosive two-hour ‘tell-all’ interview with Oprah Winfrey being broadcast this weekend.

But Palace sources last night slapped down the smear claim as utterly ‘disingenuous’.

The allegations and resulting probe – as well as accusations by the duchess that Buckingham Palace, and therefore the Queen, are deliberately moving against her – sees a new low in relations between the two parties.

When the couple acrimoniously quit last year as working royals, the elderly monarch made clear her regret and made a point of saying they were still much loved members of her family.

Aides said the hope was that they could still return for family events such as Trooping the Colour, the official celebration of the Queen’s birthday when royals gather on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, and other important occasions.

Last night a royal insider commented: ‘I can’t ever see those two back on the balcony.’

There is no timetable to the investigation but it is understood that any changes in policies and procedures will be shared publicly in an annual review expected later in the year.

The royal aides at the centre of palace intrigue

Melissa Touabti (right) is pictured with Robbie Williams' wife Ayda for whom she previously worked

Melissa Touabti (right) is pictured with Robbie Williams’ wife Ayda for whom she previously worked

PA WHO QUIT AFTER WEDDING:

Melissa Touabti, the duchess’s former personal assistant, had previously worked for Robbie Williams and Madonna.

She played a key role in preparations for Meghan and Harry’s wedding in May 2018, but quit after just six months.

The Frenchwoman, 41, took a job with the billionaire Livingstone family – owners of the stately home Cliveden. 

THE AMERICAN SPIN DOCTOR:

Jason Knauf joined the royals in 2014, having acted as a ‘crisis management expert’ at the Royal Bank of Scotland.

The 36- year-old American, who completed his master’s at the London School of Economics, served as communications secretary to the ‘Fab Four’ of William, Kate, Harry and Meghan before the Cambridges and Sussexes created separate offices in March 2019.

Mr Knauf now heads William and Kate’s charitable foundation. 

THE AMERICAN SPIN DOCTOR: Jason Knauf (left) walks behind the couple at the Invictus Games in Toronto

THE AMERICAN SPIN DOCTOR: Jason Knauf (left) walks behind the couple at the Invictus Games in Toronto 

Simon Case in Dundee in 2019

Simon Case in Dundee in 2019 

THE WHIZ-KID WHO RUNS WHITEHALL: 

Simon Case became the youngest head of the civil service for over a century when he took the post at the tender age of 41.

The Cambridge history graduate – a noted fan of tweed suits and Barbour jackets – had previously been the principal private secretary to successive Tory prime ministers, David Cameron and Theresa May. He also worked at spying centre GCHQ as a ‘director of strategy’.

His most recent role before becoming Cabinet Secretary last year was serving as private secretary to Prince William.

THE TOUGH TALKING AUSTRALIAN: 

Formerly the Queen’s assistant private secretary, Samantha Cohen had planned to quit Buckingham Palace in 2018. Instead, she agreed to stay on and help the duchess through her first months in the Royal Family.

The well-liked but tough-talking Australian became the Sussexes’ private secretary, but left in 2019 to work for the environmental charity Cool Earth. 

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Queen Elizabeth II (accompanied by Samantha Cohen) attend a ceremony to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge on June 14, 2018 in Widnes, England

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Queen Elizabeth II (accompanied by Samantha Cohen) attend a ceremony to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge on June 14, 2018 in Widnes, England 

THE PRINCES’ HR HEAD HONCHO: 

Experienced human resources director Samantha Carruthers worked for De Beers and investment bank Lazard before joining the royals.

Head of HR for Prince Charles and Prince William until 2019, she is now deputy chairman of the board of trustees for child bereavement charity Winston’s Wish. 

Samantha Carruthers worked for De Beers and investment bank Lazard before joining the royal

Samantha Carruthers worked for De Beers and investment bank Lazard before joining the royal 

Palace officials will be asked why the initial claims of bullying that were made in October 2018 were not acted on at the time.

A royal source told the Daily Mail last night that the emergence of the bullying claims had ‘shaken’ many staff, both past and present, and brought up ‘many unhappy memories’ about a particularly ‘toxic period’.

The Times revealed allegations that the duchess bullied two assistants and shattered the confidence of another member of staff, and ‘drove them out’ of Kensington Palace. It published a litany of alleged bullying and ’emotional cruelty’.

A Palace source told the paper: ‘There were a lot of broken people. Young women were broken by their behaviour.’ The source described one member of staff as ‘completely destroyed’.

A former aide branded both Harry and his wife ‘outrageous bullies’. Another source claimed that Samantha Cohen, the couple’s private secretary, had also been picked on.

In October 2018, an official complaint was lodged by Jason Knauf, himself one the couple’s most senior advisers.

He wrote: ‘I am very concerned that the duchess was able to bully two PAs out of the household in the past year. The treatment of [X] was totally unacceptable.

‘The duchess seems intent on always having someone in her sights. She is bullying Y and seeking to undermine her confidence.

‘We have had report after report from people who have witnessed unacceptable behaviour towards [Y].’

Harry and Meghan, whose ‘no holds barred’ CBS interview with Miss Winfrey will be broadcast on Sunday in America and in the UK on Monday at 9pm on ITV – which reportedly paid £1million – hit back at the allegations in The Times. A spokesman claimed the newspaper was being ‘used by Buckingham Palace to peddle a wholly false narrative’ before the interview.

Yesterday a senior Palace source told the Mail: ‘This is absolutely untrue. We haven’t been ‘peddling’ anything. It’s disingenuous [to suggest that]. There are far more important things going on in the world [a reference to the pandemic and Prince Philip’s hospitalisation] that have been focusing our attention, rather than the circus around a media interview.’

Another source added: ‘The Palace has 100 per cent refused to discuss in any way, shape or form the interview.

‘Every journalist that has been asking them about it for the last week or so knows that.

‘The view from the start is that nothing good is to be gained from doing that. Their view has not changed. The suggestion that this is a Palace-orchestrated smear campaign is deeply offensive and patently false.’

Mr Knauf, who worked as communications secretary to Harry and Meghan and now heads the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s charitable foundation, sent his 2018 email of complaint to Simon Case, then William’s private secretary and now the Cabinet Secretary at Downing Street. 

Mr Case, who is said to have had no managerial responsibility for Harry’s staff but took a keen interest in what was happening, passed it to human resources director Samantha Carruthers.

According to the report in The Times, Mr Knauf, who had already consulted Miss Carruthers, said in his email that she ‘agreed with me on all counts that the situation was very serious’.

Harry had ‘pleaded’ with Mr Knauf not to pursue the allegations, The Times claimed. Lawyers for the couple deny this happened.

The newspaper said it had been approached by former staff to tell their story before the couple’s interview with Miss Winfrey. They claimed that when Meghan was urged to support Palace staff she replied: ‘It’s not my job to coddle people.’

Meghan’s lawyers have vehemently denied she was a bully and claimed that one of the staff had left the job because of misconduct.

They said the former actress 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’. They added: ‘Let’s just call this what it is – a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation.’ 

Meghan and Harry have been accused of being disrespectful to the Queen and her husband after it emerged they won’t delay the release of their Oprah Winfrey interview despite Prince Philip’s health problems.   

The couple are under huge pressure to ask Ms Winfrey to delay the broadcast in the US on Sunday night and across the world on Monday after it was revealed Harry’s 99-year-old grandfather underwent heart surgery this week. 

Critics including several MPs have warned them they are ‘badly advised’ to go along with the plan – but the couple insist that it is up to CBS, who don’t have ‘any intention’ to delay the show set to make them millions of dollars in sales and advertising revenue. 

A source close to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex yesterday confirmed that the screening on Sunday night is still expected to go ahead, claiming the decision now lies with the broadcasters set to make millions from the two-hour show.

‘There are a lot of people who are going to talk about this until the programme airs, but the programming and all the rest of it is ultimately up to CBS, we’re not involved in that side of things’, the source said, adding: ‘As it stands, I don’t think there is any intention from the programme maker to change its air date’. 

And in a further indication that the programme will be going ahead in Britain, ITV yesterday shared the same clip that was released by CBS in the early hours of Thursday morning – but this time with the UK broadcaster’s branding in the bottom corner. 

There is growing anger over the broadcast going ahead, with royal experts, fans and MPs calling for its postponement.

Tory MP Bob Blackman told MailOnline: ‘The reality is I don’t think the interview is appropriate at all. The less they say the better, irrespective of the state of health of the Duke of Edinburgh. But to be doing a tell-all interview screened in the UK when he is in hospital – fortunately he appears to have had a successful operation – they are badly advised to put it mildly. None of these royal interviews have gone well… and I can’t see this going any better.’

Mr Blackman said ITV has ‘got a choice to make’. ‘I don’t think they should be showing it,’ he said. ‘Everyone’s sympathies should be for the Queen, a remarkable lady who has given a lifetime of service.’ Another Tory MP, who did not want to be named, said of Harry and Meghan: ‘One day I hope those two discover what it is really like to have problems.’

Deals have been struck across the globe for the rights to broadcast the Sussexes’ Oprah Winfrey interview, ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group said.

The show has been licensed to be shown in more than 17 countries including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Iceland, Israel, Italy, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland and the UK, as well as in sub-Saharan Africa, following its US premiere on Sunday. 

CBS Presents Oprah With Meghan And Harry will be screened on networks including Australia’s Network 10 and Canada’s Global TV.

Meghan’s friends accuse Royal aides of painting Duchess as an ‘angry woman of color’ with ‘bullying’ allegations in an ‘ugly’ bid to ‘destroy her character’ ahead of tell-all Oprah interview

Meghan Markle’s friends have rushed to her defence amid the Buckingham Palace ‘bullying’ row – with one claiming the dramatic fallout has been fuelled by racism.

Omid Scobie, author of the Finding Freedom biography of the Sussexes, quoted a series of Meghan’s friends standing up for her in a report for Harper’s Bazaar.

One friend said Meghan was another example of a ‘woman of colour in a senior position… accused of being too angry, too scary, too whatever in the workplace’.

The author was also told Meghan and her husband Prince Harry have found the claims ‘distressing and upsetting’, and that she is always ‘kind and considerate’.  

Omid Scobie, royal editor at large for Harper's Bazaar and author of the Finding Freedom biography of the Sussexes, quoted a series of Meghan's friends who have stood up for her

Omid Scobie, royal editor at large for Harper’s Bazaar and author of the Finding Freedom biography of the Sussexes, quoted a series of Meghan’s friends who have stood up for her

Meghan is pictured during her interview with Oprah Winfrey set to air on ITV next Monday

Meghan is pictured during her interview with Oprah Winfrey set to air on ITV next Monday

Omid Scobie: Harper’s Bazaar royal editor who left Heat after allegedly being called a ‘P**i’ 

Omid Scobie started his career on the celebrity magazine Heat before moving on to cover the royals. 

He is now royal editor at large for Harper’s Bazaar.

Born to a Scottish father who runs a marketing agency and an Iranian mother who works in child welfare, he said he left Heat after an executive is alleged to have called him a ‘P**i’.

He is a royal contributor for Good Morning America and host of ABC’s royal podcast, ‘The Heir Pod’.

Mr Scobie has boasted of his exclusive access to Prince Harry and Meghan. 

Mr Scobie is co-author of Finding Freedom, a biography about Harry and Meghan

Mr Scobie is co-author of Finding Freedom, a biography about Harry and Meghan

He is described in the blurb for the Sussexes biography Finding Freedom as ‘an authoritative voice on the lives and philanthropic endeavors of the Royal Family’s younger members and maintains strong access to the Sussexes’ working world’.

Mr Scobie, the royal editor of Harper’s Bazaar, regularly stands up for Meghan on social media and last night retweeted a series of positive messages backing her. 

In an article he also claims that the couple, who deny helping him with his book, ‘knew that it would get ugly in the run up’ before their Oprah Winfrey interview.

The ‘tell-all’ two-hour conversation will be broadcast in the US on CBS this Sunday night at 1am UK time, before being shown in Britain on ITV on Monday from 9pm.

Writing in Harper’s Bazaar, Mr Scobie quotes a anonymous friend of Meghan saying: ‘I hate to say it, but find me a woman of colour in a senior position who has not been accused of being too angry, too scary, too whatever in the workplace. It’s sad that it’s happening, but I’m not surprised. These claims are so far from the woman I know.’

Another said: ‘Harry and Meghan knew that it would get ugly in the run up but seeing such an obvious attempt at destroying her character was distressing and upsetting.’

It comes as the Duchess said she could not be expected to stay silent if the royal family played a part in ‘perpetuating falsehoods’ about her and Harry.

A clip of Meghan making the remarks to Oprah Winfrey was released in the early hours of yesterday, in which the Duchess added ‘a lot … has been lost already’.

The couple’s interview with the US chat show queen is expected to lift the lid on their short period as working royals before they stepped down for a life in America.

In the 30-second clip released on social media, Oprah asks the Duchess: ‘How do you feel about the Palace hearing you speak your truth today?’

She replies: ‘I don’t know how they could expect that, after all of this time, we would still just be silent if there is an active role that The Firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us.

‘And, if that comes with risk of losing things, I mean, I … there is a lot that has been lost already.’

‘The Firm’ is widely considered to be shorthand for the institution of the royal family.

The clip was released just hours after Buckingham Palace said last night it had launched an investigation into claims that the Duchess bullied former royal staff.

Past and present employees are to be invited to speak in confidence about their experiences of working for Meghan, after it was alleged she drove out two personal assistants and that staff were ‘humiliated’ on several occasions.

The Times newspaper has reported that the duchess ‘destroyed’ one member of staff and another was left in tears before she departed. Meghan’s lawyers have vehemently denied she is a bully.

Mr Scobie last night retweeted a series of positive messages backing the Duchess of Sussex

Mr Scobie last night retweeted a series of positive messages backing the Duchess of Sussex

Kate Middleton’s mother Carole asks publishers of Good Housekeeping not to promote her cover interview to avoid being ‘insensitive’ to Prince Philip, 99, 

Kate Middleton’s mother Carole has asked the publishers of Good Housekeeping magazine not to promote a cover interview with her over fears it will look ‘insensitive’ while Prince Philip is battling ill-health in hospital. 

Carole Middleton, who runs party supply company Party Pieces, interviewed with the magazine in January but has reportedly asked its publishers not to promote it as Prince Philip, 99, is still in hospital.

The news comes ahead of a ‘tell-all’ interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Oprah Winfrey which is set to air in the UK on Monday night, despite criticism of its timing.

Kate Middleton's mother Carole turned down publicity for  an interview in Good Housekeeping magazine because she did not want to be 'insensitive' while Prince Philip, 99, was in hospital

Kate Middleton’s mother Carole turned down publicity for  an interview in Good Housekeeping magazine because she did not want to be ‘insensitive’ while Prince Philip, 99, was in hospital

Respectful: Carole Middleton, pictured on the cover of Good Housekeeping, discusses her business and family life in the interview which features in the April issue and is out now

Respectful: Carole Middleton, pictured on the cover of Good Housekeeping, discusses her business and family life in the interview which features in the April issue and is out now

A source told the Sun: ‘Carole is incredibly proud of her company and all the hard work that goes into it.

‘But whilst backing the business, she didn’t want to turn any news into a media circus because she is so respectful and sensitive to Catherine, and the royal family.

 ‘She always gets William’s go-ahead before any interview like this, and he is incredibly supportive.

‘But the more the PR machine rolled out in Los Angeles with Meghan and Harry, the more sensitive Carole became.

‘She decided she didn’t want to do any PR for the interview – even if it cost her thousands in potential lost marketing.’

In the interview, which features in the April issue and is out now, Carole shares insights into her company Party Pieces as well as her family life.

She appears on the cover of the magazine wearing a £375 Seventies-inspired floral print dress from Wyse London, befitting the arrival of spring. 

Kate and William will join the Queen for special broadcast to celebrate the Commonwealth hours before Sussexes’ bombshell Oprah interview airs 

By Dan Sales For MailOnline

The Queen will appear on a television special featuring Prince William and Kate, Sophie as well as Charles and Camilla hours before Harry and Meghan’s US interview criticising the Royal household.

Six senior Royals will be seen on A Celebration For Commonwealth Day which will be broadcast on BBC One on Sunday.

It will be seen by millions of Britons before Meghan’s pre-recorded CBS sit-down with Oprah Winfrey which has already been trailed showing her hitting out at ‘The Firm’.

In fact six of the eight senior Royal Family members widely said to make up The Firm will be seen speaking beforehand – with only Princess Anne and Edward not featured. 

The Queen’s annual Commonwealth Day message will pay tribute to communities across the family of nations have come together in response to the pandemic.

The Queen will be joined by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge William and Kate on TV

The Queen will be joined by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge William and Kate on TV

The Royal family broadcast will go out hours before Meghan and Harry are on US television

The Royal family broadcast will go out hours before Meghan and Harry are on US television

Later the Prince of Wales will addressing the universal devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic in a recorded message and wife Camilla will tell broadcaster Clare Balding about the importance of books.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have also spoken to medical, charity and voluntary staff from across the Commonwealth to hear more about the work they have been carrying out to care for those within their communities.

Finally the Countess of Wessex has spoken to three women from around the Commonwealth, to hear about their experiences of supporting other women and their wider communities.

The 5pm programme steals a march on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to beat them to the airwaves by addressing the nation on TV first.

Her Majesty was due to attend the annual Commonwealth Service on March 8 – but this has been cancelled for the first time in nearly half a century due to Covid-19, Westminster Abbey announced this week.

The Queen will take to the airways without Meghan and Harry who have stepped down

The Queen will take to the airways without Meghan and Harry who have stepped down

Instead the Queen chose to share her annual message 24 hours earlier for A Celebration For Commonwealth Day.

This will be shown to millions a few hours before Harry and Meghan’s intimate interview with Oprah Winfrey is being screened in a two-hour special on CBS at 8pm EST in the US – around 1am UK time on Monday. 

A Westminster Abbey spokesman said: ‘The decision was taken jointly by the Abbey, the BBC and the royal household about three weeks ago.’ 

The clash between the Queen’s BBC statement and the Sussexes’ multi-million dollar CBS interview has extra significance because last year’s Commonwealth Service was when the couple bowed out as working royals, and when they were last seen in public with Harry’s grandmother, father and brother. 

Harry and Meghan are said to be in shock because the Queen stripped them of their royal and sporting patronages after they ‘poured their hearts out’ to Ms Winfrey during a two-day shoot in their £11million LA mansion last week.

The tell-all interview is due to air on Sunday March 7 with no topics off-limits with one source warning Harry’s family the show would be a good ‘time to hide behind the sofa at the palace’. 

It has also emerged that Meghan is expected to speak about the feud with her family on her father Thomas’ side after This Morning host Holly Willoughby said that Oprah Winfrey’s team had been in contact with ITV for footage of an interview with her half-sister.

In the January 2020 broadcast Samantha Markle said the former Suits actress and Harry owed her and their father an apology for ‘incredibly wrong, untoward, and shocking’ behaviour after the royal wedding in 2018. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk