Just days before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey is set to air, several Kensington Palace staff members claimed the former actress used to bully and humiliate them — and the couple's inner circle believe the timing of the accusations are no coincide.
"The assumption from friends close to Meghan and Harry is that the palace has released this statement to strike back at Harry and Meghan for doing the [tell-all] interview," revealed a source.
The source continued to Us Weekly: "The palace knows that they will not be cast in the best light by Harry and Meghan on Sunday and doesn’t want Harry and Meghan coming off as victims."
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On March 2, The Times released an article in which four staff members stated that the Suits star exhibited bullying behavior towards them. "The complaint claimed that she drove two personal assistants out of the household and was undermining the confidence of a third staff member," the report read.
Another Palace employee said her behavior was "more like emotional cruelty and manipulation, which I guess could also be called bullying.”
Meghan's spokesperson responded to the allegations by calling them a "calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation," adding,"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."
Buckingham Palace then chimed in on the stressful situation. "We are clearly very concerned about allegations in The Times following claims made by former staff of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex," their statement read. "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," it continued. "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."
Despite the drama, Meghan and Harry's interview is still set to air on CBS on March 7 in the U.S. and the day after on ITV in the U.K. In a sneak peek of the TV special, the pregnant star touched on her strained relationship with the Palace, alleging they played an active part in "perpetuating falsehoods" about herself and Harry.