Meghan Markle accuses Palace 'firm' of 'perpetuating falsehoods' in new Oprah clip

4 March 2021, 05:58 | Updated: 4 March 2021, 12:09

By Kate Buck

The Duchess of Sussex has claimed the royal family played an "active role" in "perpetuating falsehoods" about her and her husband in an explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey.

A second teaser clip for the heavily anticipated chat was released in the early hours of Thursday in which Meghan said she could not be expected to stay silent, and was not afraid over "speaking out" because "a lot has been lost already."

The interview with the revered television host is expected to lift the lid on Harry and Meghan's short period as working royals together before they stepped down for a life in America.

The 30-second clip - filmed over two weeks ago - was shared the day after Buckingham Palace said it had launched an investigation into claims the duchess bullied former royal staff.

In the talk, Winfrey asks the duchess: "How do you feel about the Palace hearing you speak your truth today?"

Read more: Buckingham Palace 'to investigate' bullying claims against Duchess of Sussex

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 Duchess of Sussex has claimed the royal family played an "active role" in "perpetuating falsehoods" about her and her husband
The Duchess of Sussex has claimed the royal family played an "active role" in "perpetuating falsehoods" about her and her husband. Picture: CBS

Meghan was alleged in The Times newspaper to have driven out two personal assistants and "humiliated" staff on several occasions. One staff member was reportedly left in tears after working for the duchess.

Past and present employees are to be invited to speak in confidence about their experiences of working for Meghan in the probe.

There has long been speculation about the atmosphere in the Sussex household, after a number of staff left, and the newspaper chronicles what it describes as "turmoil" within palace walls.

Read more: Harry tells Oprah he feared 'history repeating itself' with Meghan in tell-all interview

Read more: Pressure grows for Harry and Meghan's Oprah interview to be postponed

Underlying Meghan's actions, the paper claims, was the view of a number of sources that she wanted to be a "victim" so her "unbearable experience" would convince Harry they had to leave the UK - something her lawyers have denied.

The monarchy's "men in grey suits" have been accused of being aware of the alleged actions of the duchess and of doing "absolutely nothing to protect people".

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: "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 household, will be invited to participate to see if lessons can be learned.

"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."

Meghan and Harry will not be part of the process as they are not staff, and it is understood the palace hopes to start the investigation soon.

Lawyers for the duke and duchess said the Sussexes believed staff were comfortable and happy.

However, Jason Knauf, the Sussexes' then communications secretary, made a bullying complaint in October 2018 in an apparent attempt to force Buckingham Palace to protect staff.

Meghan and Harry left the UK last year to pursue a life in the US
Meghan and Harry left the UK last year to pursue a life in the US. Picture: PA

A source suggested the attitude to the allegations was more about making them "go away" rather than "addressing" them, with the paper claiming Mr Knauf's complaint was never progressed.

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.

"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."

The interview also comes amid pressure for it to be postponed over fears of the ailing health of the 99-year-old Duke of Edinburgh, who went into hospital on the same day the interview was filmed.

Prince Philip has since been moved to a specialist cardiac hospital in London. He was taken to St Barts for further treatment for an infection and for tests to do with a pre existing heart condition.