Buckingham Palace Hires Outside Counsel To Handle Meghan Markle Bullying Claims After Duchess Demands To See Evidence
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 10: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex watch a flypast to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on July 10, 2018 in London, England. The 100th birthday of the RAF, which was founded on on 1 April 1918, was marked with a centenary parade with the presentation of a new Queen's Colour and flypast of 100 aircraft over Buckingham Palace. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Buckingham Palace says it is shifting its private, internal inquiry into whether Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, bullied key members of her staff before parting ways with the royal family, to an independent, outside counsel after the Duchess demanded proof of her accusers’ claims.

The Palace’s human resources team was reportedly looking into the claims after the Times of London published an expose suggesting that a former aide to the Duchess and her husband, Prince Harry, filed a complaint, alleging that Markle had bullied two members of the Kensington Palace staff and was “undermining” the confidence of a third.

Fox News reported last week that Buckingham Palace was “clearly very concerned” about the bullying allegations “and that the palace human resources team would “look into the circumstances outlined in the article” and would likely interview the three members of the staff named in the complaint.

“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,” the palace said in a statement, per Fox.

Late last week, though, the Duchess reportedly demanded to see “evidence related to the bullying probe,” according to NDTV, including “all documents, emails, and text messages related to” the investigation. The Daily Mail added that the Duchess is considering bringing in her own legal team to participate in the investigation, ostensibly to protect the Duchesss’ interests.

NDTV noted that “former law aides of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have agreed to help them with the probe ordered up last week by the queen.”

On Monday, the U.K.’s Independent broke the news that, apparently anticipating an antagonistic situation, Buckingham Palace has instead hired an outside firm to investigate whether Markle bullied her former staff. “In a surprise move,” the outlet notes, “the Palace will be bringing in a third-party law firm to conduct an investigation into the bullying claims.”

The U.K. press does seem to see the move as evidence that the palace is taking the claims more seriously following Meghan and Harry’s decision to accuse the royal family of racism and of turning a blind eye to Meghan’s mental health crisis. Palace sources, the Independent notes, said that the royal family was “prepared to retaliate with fresh disclosures about the couple’s behavior if the monarchy is attacked.”

“The actual worst incidences haven’t come out. There are some harrowing stories to tell.” a palace source reportedly told U.K. media, referring to where the investigation into Markle’s behavior could lead. “There’s a lot that could come out in the wash that hasn’t been told.”

So far, official comment from the palace and its inhabitants has been sporadic. Queen Elizabeth issued a statement last week following the couple’s disclosures, pledging to investigate which senior royal reportedly commented to Prince Harry about his then-unborn son’s skin tone, and Prince William, whose wife, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, was referred to as having made Meghan cry in the run-up to Harry and Meghan’s wedding, told press at an appearance last week that the royals are “very much not racist.”

Related: Markle Tells Oprah: Royal Family Expressed ‘Concerns’ About Skin Color Of Her Son

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