Buckingham Palace is moving forward with its investigation into the bullying accusations made by royal aides against the Duchess of Sussex. The Palace previously said their HR team was looking into allegations, but now it seems they have decided to hire an external law firm to investigate the claims, reports CNN.
It’s not clear which third party investigator will be looking into the claims, nor why the Palace decided to bring in an outside law firm to take over. “Our commitment to look into the circumstances around allegations from former staff of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex is being taken forward but we will not be providing a public commentary on it,” the Palace said in a statement to CNN.
The U.K. Times reports that the Palace is “determined the inquiry should ‘not be played out in public’ to ensure all those taking part ‘feel comfortable.'” The investigation will begin “imminently,” but there is no set time frame; a royal source told the outlet, “It will take as long as it will take.”
Earlier this month, the Palace announced it was launching an inquiry into claims that Meghan Markle bullied her palace staff, after the allegations were put forth in a lengthy story by the U.K. Times, which cited anonymous royal staff and said that a complaint was lodged against Meghan back in October 2018 by one of her own royal aides, claiming that she “drove two personal assistants out of the household and was undermining the confidence of a third staff member.”
The Palace released a rare statement in response, and 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.”
Meghan has denied the bullying accusations; a spokesperson for the Sussexes previously told Observer, “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 latest news of the Palace hiring an external law firm comes in the wake of a back-and-forth between the Firm and the Sussexes, following Prince Harry and Meghan’s bombshell-filled interview with Oprah Winfrey, which aired just over a week ago. During the conversation, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex revealed that there had been conversations over the color of their children’s skin, and that Archie wasn’t given royal security. Meghan also said that she went to the Palace and expressed that she was experiencing suicidal thoughts; the Sussexes allege Meghan was told she was not able to go receive professional help because it “wouldn’t be good for the institution.”
Meghan also said that she tried to go to the Palace’s HR department, but was told that “there’s nothing we can do to protect you, because you’re not a paid employee.”
The Palace released a short statement in response to the interview, and said, “The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan. The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.” As many have pointed out, the royals’ decision to handle the racism allegations privately stands in major contrast to the Palace’s probe into the bullying accusations. It’s also worth noting that the Palace has not embarked on any kind of an independent probe to investigate the relationship between Prince Andrew and late convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
While the royal family has, for the most part, publicly stayed silent regarding the interview, Prince William did respond to a reporter during an event with Kate Middleton last week. After a reporter asked the Duke of Cambridge if the royal family was racist, Prince William said, “We are very much not a racist family.”