03 March 2021

Megxit saga takes fresh twist ahead of Oprah interview

03 March 2021

The confirmation less than two weeks ago that Megxit is to be permanent was thought to have marked the end of a difficult chapter for the royal family.

But in the latest twist, Buckingham Palace has announced it will “look into” the circumstances reported in a Times newspaper story of allegations of bullying made against the Duchess of Sussex by former royal staff.

The palace said it “does not and will not tolerate bullying or harassment in the workplace” and that staff involved at the time, including those who have since left, will be “invited to participate to see if lessons can be learned”.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will appear in an interview with Oprah Winfrey (Harpo Productions /Joe Pugliese/PA) (PA Media)

Earlier, in response to the allegations in the Times, Meghan’s spokesman said 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 latest developments come just days before Meghan and her husband, the Duke of Sussex’s “tell-all” television interview with Oprah Winfrey is due to air.

The CBS primetime special is being screened on Sunday in the US, with the royal household braced for the show’s revelations as the Sussexes discuss their life within the royal family and their exit from the working monarchy.

Questions have been raised about the appropriateness of the interview, which chat show queen Winfrey has promised will be “shocking” with “nothing off limits”.

The Duke of Edinburgh is currently in St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)

Harry’s grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, 99, has been unwell in hospital for more than two weeks.

In dropping the bombshell in January 2020 that they intended to quit as senior working royals, Harry and Meghan sparked a major royal crisis.

They released a shock statement, without warning the monarch, saying they planned to step down and become financially independent, but still fully support the Queen – a dual role which in the end was unworkable.

When their departure as senior working royals was confirmed as permanent on February 19 this year, Buckingham Palace said it was not possible for the couple “to continue with the responsibilities and duties that come with a life of public service”.

A statement that day from Harry and Meghan’s spokesman saying – “We can all live a life of service. Service is universal” – was described by one royal author as sounding “petulant”.

Royal writer Penny Junor said of the Sussexes’ response: “It’s sort of two fingers at the institution – the men and women that run it.”

A few days later the Sunday Times newspaper reported that William was “really sad and genuinely shocked” by Harry’s behaviour towards their grandmother in relation to the departure.

Harry has previously said he and William were on “different paths” and have good and bad days in their relationship (Chris Jackson/PA) (PA Archive)

The newspaper said sources close to William said he was “very upset by what has happened”.

In 2019, the rift in the royal family was laid bare when Harry said in an ITV documentary, presented by friend and journalist Tom Bradby, that he and William were on “different paths” and have good and bad days in their relationship.

Bradby, speaking on an episode of Love Your Weekend With Alan Titchmarsh in January this year, said Harry has been left “heartbroken by the situation with his family” after moving to America, but that the couple are “content” with their new lives and are “quite excited” by the things they are doing.

The Sussexes are likely to attract widespread interest when they make their first return visit to the UK.

Harry will be expected to join William at Kensington Palace for the unveiling of the statue honouring their late mother Diana, Princess of Wales, which is due to take place on July 1 this year.

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