The Investigation Into Meghan Markle Bullying Claims Is Over

Meghan Markle.
Meghan Markle Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Last March, Buckingham Palace hired an outside law firm to investigate the suspicious bullying accusation against Meghan Markle, as reported by the Sunday Times of London. Now, over a year later, the investigation has been closed, but good luck discovering its findings.

The dispute began when the Times of London published a report accusing Markle of bullying palace aides during her short tenure as a senior royal. In response, a spokesperson for the couple denounced the report as part of “a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation.” And indeed, its timing raised eyebrows: It emerged just days before Markle and Prince Harry’s no-holds-barred interview with Oprah, which the palace was loath to see air.

In response, Buckingham Palace, in a formal statement, announced that it was “clearly very concerned” about the allegations and would be launching an investigation. The palace said it would hire an external firm to conduct said investigation, which would seek the cooperation of current and former staffers. (According to a spokesperson for Buckingham Palace, the palace would “not be providing a public commentary” on it.)

The urgency and seriousness with which the palace approached the bullying accusation stood in stark contrast to the royal family’s response to the explosive claims made by Meghan and Harry in their Oprah interview — in particular, that an unnamed member of the royal family raised concerns about the color of Archie’s skin. The queen’s statement about those claims was strikingly brief; she called the allegation of racism “concerning” but said that it would “be addressed by the family privately.”

On June 29, a senior aide for Buckingham Palace announced that the investigation had been closed but the results will not be made public. “It was a review of the handling of the allegations aimed at enabling the royal households to consider potential improvements to HR policies and procedures,” said Sir Michael Stevens, treasurer to the Queen. “The review has been completed and recommendations on our policies and procedures have been taken forward.” This revelation came out after the royal household published the Sovereign Grant Report for 2021 to 2022, essentially a detailed budget.

Depending on who you ask, this is either great or horrible for Markle. A report from E! News cited a source close to Meghan and Harry, claiming they were “disappointed” that the results wouldn’t be released. This seems to suggest that the couple believes that the report would exonerate Meghan of the original bullying claims. However, a report from the Daily Beast claims there is a “widespread suspicion” that the palace’s decision stemmed from a desire not to “antagonize Harry and Meghan.” Details about the investigation are limited, but People reported that it did result in some shifts in HR policy, including creating new pathways for staff to submit complaints about “inappropriate” working conditions and clarifying policies for staff members who might want to “blow the whistle” on others.

Whatever the reason, the palace is keeping the results so secret that not even the employees who participated in the investigation will know the outcome. “Considering those who participated did so at great personal and reputational risk to themselves, the fact that they haven’t even been told what the findings are is unfathomable,” a source reportedly told the Daily Mail. “The household seems to be terrified of upsetting or provoking Harry and Meghan.”

The palace may have chosen not to reveal any details about the bullying allegations, but, as noted by royal reporter Omid Scobie, one thing that was included in the Sovereign Grant Report was the “diversity employment stats” of all three royal households. Per the palace, Buckingham Palace upped their “diversity” employment to 9.6 percent, with Clarence House at 10.6 percent and Kensington Palace at 13.6 percent.

This post has been updated.

The Investigation Into Meghan Markle Bullying Claims Is Over