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Meghan Markle accused of 'emotional cruelty' in bullying claims at Kensington Palace

 The interview is due to be aired on Sunday (Image: CBS)

The Duchess of Sussex has been accused of “emotional cruelty” as it was claimed she faced a bullying complaint from one of her closest advisers at Kensington Palace, it has been reported.

The complaint reportedly claimed Meghan “drove two personal assistants out of the household and was ­undermining the confidence of a third staff member”, The Times reported.

A spokesman for the Sussexes said they were the victims of a “calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation”.

Meghan, who alongside Prince Harry will appear in an explosive US TV “tell-all interview” with Oprah Winfrey on Sunday, is accused of “totally unacceptable” treatment of their former staff.

The allegations involve two senior members of staff who claimed that they were bullied by the duchess.

Another former employee has allegedly claimed they had been personally ­“humiliated” by Meghan, 39.

According to The Times, the complaint was allegedly submitted in October 2018 by Jason Knauf, then the couple’s communications secretary.

 A spokesman for the Sussexes said they were the victims of a “calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation” (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

It is alleged Harry personally intervened and “pleaded with Knauf not to pursue it”, a source told the newspaper. A spokesman for the couple said Harry would not interfere in staff matters.

One aide reportedly claimed “more like emotional cruelty and ­manipulation, which I guess could also be called bullying”.

Knauf allegedly wrote an email to Simon Case, then Prince William’s private secretary after speaking to Samantha Carruthers, the head of HR.

He is reported to have said: “I am very concerned the Duchess was able to bully two PAs out of the household in the past year. The treatment of X* was totally unacceptable.”

Knauf allegedly added: “The Duchess seems intent on always having someone in her sights. She is bullying Y and seeking to undermine her ­confidence. We have had report after report from people who have witnessed unacceptable behaviour towards Y.”

 Meghan Markle has been accused of bullying staff (Image: FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Oprah Winfrey’s interview will be screened on ITV on Monday after it offered under £1million for the rights.

But a public relations expert has warned the timing, with Prince Philip, 99, in hospital, and the risk of upsetting the Queen, could reflect badly on them.

Mark Borkowski said: “The timing is just horrendous.

“Harry and Meghan are supposed to be a ­sensitive, caring and empathetic brand.”

Meghan Markle's spokesperson 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."

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