Royal staff ‘nicknamed Prince Harry ‘the Hostage’ before his wedding’ to Meghan Markle, insiders have claimed.
Sources also said the Duchess of Sussex was ‘constantly looking’ for drama despite the best efforts of Palace workers in the build up to the 2018 ceremony.
The fallout spiralled out of control when the Duke of Sussex reportedly said: ‘What Meghan wants, Meghan gets’.
Prince Harry, 36, is reported to have been livid when a tiara Meghan wanted to wear for their marriage was not available for an unplanned hair appointment.
The Queen is said to have weighed in when the Duke clashed with her closest aide Angela Kelly over the accessory.
It comes as tension is mounting in the Palace ahead of the Sussexes’ bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey on Sunday night.
The Queen is said to have not been given an ‘advance copy’ of the tell-all sit-down and aides will ‘reserve judgement’ for any specific claims they make.
Meanwhile Meghan and Harry are facing a Buckingham Palace investigation into their alleged mistreatment of staff while they were in Britain.
Other claims the insiders made include:
- Meghan did not want to be the ‘supporting act’ to Prince William and Kate Middleton, despite the Royal pecking order;
- Aides were supportive of the couple and went to ‘great lengths to accommodate their needs’ despite contrary claims;
- On a visit to Scotland, the Palace PR team ‘body blocked’ the Duchess’s ex-adviser Gina Nelthorpe-Cowne outside a cafe in Edinburgh because Meghan apparently did not want to make eye contact with her;
- The couple were said to have bombarded workers with emails on weekends, holidays and at night.
Sources said the Duchess of Sussex was ‘constantly looking’ for drama despite the best efforts of Palace workers in the build up to the 2018 ceremony (pictured)
A Hollywood insider with ties to the Sussexes tells DailyMail.com, ‘Even if Meghan had the choice to postpone the Oprah special she said she wouldn’t’
The latest claims against the couple circle back to Harry and Meghan’s behaviour before their wedding in 2018.
A source spoke of a ‘climate of fear’ around the couple and said workers were ‘humiliated’ and subject to ‘unreasonable demands’ by the couple.
They told the Telegraph: ‘[The Queen’s aide] Angela told Harry [the tiara] was priceless and couldn’t suddenly be handed over at short notice.
‘He was furious and shouted: ”What Meghan wants, Meghan gets”. Suffice to say it didn’t go down too well.’
The newspaper also reported the Duchess was given her choice of the Crown Jewels to wear for the occasion but still appeared to be unhappy.
The Queen is said to have weighed in when the Duke clashed with her closest aide Angela Kelly (pictured in 2012) over the accessory
The source said: ‘They insisted that they had the same inflation-adjusted budget for the wedding as William and Kate – she got the choir she wanted, the dress, the carriage procession, the tiara – she got everything she wanted but it still wasn’t enough.
‘She was constantly looking for reasons to say she had been deprived. Also, she wanted drama from the very beginning.’
The insider said the wedding at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in May 2018 was ‘hugely stressful’ for Palace staff.
On Sunday night in the US and Monday night in the UK senior royals and Palace aides will watch the much-anticipated interview with Ms Winfrey.
They will tune in ‘at the same time’ as the rest of the world, with network CBS set to air the two-hour special in the US at 1am UK time on Monday morning.
Officials have vowed to ‘reserve judgement’ on the show and will decide on Monday whether to make a public response. ITV will broadcast it at 9pm that evening.
Sources yesterday told the Mirror the Queen does not have an ‘advance copy’ of the no-holds-barred special.
Trailers have already seen the Duchess of Sussex accuse the ‘Firm’ of ‘perpetuating falsehoods’ about her and Prince Harry during their time in Kensington Palace.
The couple, ITV and CBS have faced a furious backlash for pushing ahead with airing it while Prince Philip, 99, recovers from heart surgery in hospital.
A friend said Meghan would never ask to postpone Sunday’s release and claimed the Royal Family is using the Duke’s health as an excuse to keep her ‘muzzled’.
Most of the interview will be on what the Duchess has to say about her brief time as a royal.
But Harry is understood to come in towards the end to have his say on the media and discuss their plans for the future.
It is believed this approach has in part been done in an attempt to distance himself from any of the stronger allegations made about his own family by his wife.
But if the Prince, 36, who is sixth in line to the throne, thinks it will protect his family relationships – notably with his brother William – he will have to think again.
William has barely spoken to his brother in recent months and their relationship is said to be ‘hanging by a thread’.
Despairing officials also cannot believe Harry is so ‘blinkered’ that he cannot see how the interview is likely to destroy any vestige of trust between him and his family.
It comes as the charity watchdog is reviewing Harry and Meghan’s charity amid concerns about how it was run and whether it complied with charity law before it was shut down last year following their move to the US.
Sources told the Telegraph the Charity Commission has opened a ‘regulatory and compliance case’ into Sussex Royal, though the watchdog has not yet determined whether or not there was any wrongdoing.
The Queen (pictured with the Sussexes in 2018) has not been given an ‘advanced copy’ of Meghan and Harry’s tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey, reports claim
Senior royals (the family pictured together last year) and Palace aides will watch the much-anticipated interview ‘at the same time’ as the rest of the world with network CBS set to air the two-hour special in the US at 1am UK time on Sunday night
Mounting pressure has been put on Meghan, Harry and CBS to push back the much-anticipated interview special out of respect for Harry’s grandfather Prince Philip, who is recovering from heart surgery.
But a friend of the Sussexes tells DailyMail.com exclusively, ‘Even if Meghan had the choice to postpone the Oprah special she said she wouldn’t because it has absolutely nothing to do with Prince Philip and that this is just an excuse by the palace to keep her muzzled.’
In a teaser released Wednesday, Meghan accused the Royal Family of ‘perpetuating falsehoods’ about her and Harry.
Mounting pressure has been put on Meghan and Harry to push back the much-anticipated interview special out of respect for Prince Philip’s health
The clip was released the same day Buckingham Palace launched a probe into allegations that Meghan bullied her staff. The unprecedented inquiry came after Meghan was accused of inflicting ’emotional cruelty’ on aides who said she is playing the victim.
Royal staff said they are members of the ‘Sussex Survivors’ Club’ after working for the couple, with some claiming they have suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety because of their treatment by Harry and Meghan.
But our source said, ‘[Meghan] said these outrageous allegations confirm why she and Harry had to part ways and make it their mission to be a voice for the underdog.
‘Meghan said not once did anyone from the Palace come to her defense when she was being shredded by the tabloids, but now all of a sudden it’s okay for those same people to talk to the media.
‘She said it’s a double standard and not in a million years would Kate ever be treated this way. Meghan said she was singled out from day one.
‘Meghan said she is beyond relieved and grateful that she can enjoy her pregnancy surrounded by love and support, unlike what she experienced behind the walls of the Palace.’
On Friday another promo clip was released of the interview. In it, Meghan claimed royal aides blocked her from having a personal conversation with Oprah in the months leading up to her wedding to Prince Harry.
Oprah revealed she called Meghan in February or March 2018 – two or three months before her wedding at Windsor Castle in May that year – to ask for an interview, but she declined because it was not ‘the right time’.
On Wednesday, the Palace confirmed that its HR team will ‘look into’ the allegations, saying it ‘does not and will not tolerate bullying or harassment in the workplace’
The bullying claims emerged in a 2018 email sent by Harry and Meghan’s press chief Jason Knauf, who now works for Prince William. This sparked an extraordinary chain of events where the Sussexes accused Buckingham Palace of smearing them. The Queen then launched an inquiry into the bullying claims
Meghan said she remembered that chat with Oprah ‘very well’ and ‘wasn’t even allowed to have this conversation with you personally’ because there had to be other people in the room sitting in.
Asked why she was now speaking out, Meghan gave a long pause, before saying: ‘Well, so many things. That we’re on the other side of a lot of – a lot of life experience that’s happened, and also that we have the ability to make our own choices in a way that I couldn’t have said yes to you then.’
Harry and Meghan’s Sussex Royal charity ‘under review from charity watchdog’ amid questions on ‘how organisation was closed’ when couple moved to US
The charity watchdog is reviewing Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s charity amid concerns on how it was run and whether it complied with charity law before it was shut down last year following their move to the US.
Sources told the Telegraph the Charity Commission has opened a ‘regulatory and compliance case’ into Sussex Royal, though the watchdog has not yet determined whether or not there was any wrongdoing.
The Commission first looked at Sussex Royal and Prince William and Kate Middleton‘s charity The Royal Foundation in July after an anti-monarchy group asked it to investigate hundreds of thousands of pounds’ worth of grants.
Lawyers for the Sussexes told the newspaper that ‘any suggestion of mismanagement or decision-making being handled in a ‘rash’ fashion solely by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would be entirely false’.
They added that the philanthropic organisation was ‘managed by a board of trustees which made decision about the charity in accordance with its constitutional document and the requirements of charity law’.
It is unclear if the Royal Foundation is also being reviewed by the Commission. A Charity Commission spokesman told the Telegraph: ‘Our regulatory compliance case is ongoing. We cannot comment further.’
The charity watchdog first looked at Sussex Royal and The Royal Foundation last year after anti-monarchy group Republic asked it to examine nearly £300,000 of grants, including £145,000 given to the Sussexes’ former UK charity.
It is understood that the Commission deemed the transfer of money from the Royal Foundation to Sussex Royal appropriate, though some of the trustees expressed ‘disappointment’ by the transfer, the Telegraph reports.
One source told the paper that it was ‘very frustrating’ and looked from the outside like ‘rash’ decision-making by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
The Royal Foundation also made grants totalling £151,856 ‘for the continued development of the Duke of Sussex’s Sustainable Tourism programme, Travalyst’, alongside the £145,000 grant to Sussex Royal.
According to UK charity law, a ‘regulatory compliance case’ falls short of a formal investigation. If the regulator finds wrongdoing, it can then issue formal regulatory advice or issue an official warning.
She added: ‘That wasn’t my choice to make. So as an adult who lived a really independent life to then go into this construct that is different than I think what people imagine it to be, it’s really liberating to be able to have the right and the privilege in some ways to be able to say yes, I’m ready to talk.’
Oprah said Meghan was now ready to ‘say it for yourself’, which the Duchess agreed with, adding that she now did ‘not to have to consult with anybody at this point’. Meghan added: ‘Yeah, to make a choice your own and be able to speak for yourself.’
Oprah raised eyebrows when she attended the wedding in May 2018 among many observers who had no idea the billionaire US chat show legend even knew the couple.
She is thought to have only met the Duchess once face-to-face before being invited to the star-studded nuptials and given a plum seat next to senior royals.
Their sit-down at Kensington Palace months before the ceremony was reportedly initiated by Gayle King, a mutual friend and presenter on CBS This Morning, who is said to have set up the initial phone call between the pair.
Oprah has also promoted the Duchess’s range of vegan coffee to her 19million Instagram followers, visited her mother Doria for ‘kumquats and yoga in the garden’ and even teamed up with Harry to secure an Apple TV deal.
The first of two clips released on Monday saw Oprah ask Meghan: ‘Were you silent or were you silenced?’. Oprah added: ‘I just want to make it clear to everybody that there is no subject that is off limits’. Two further sections of that clip saw Oprah say the phrases ‘almost unsurvivable’ and ‘sounds like there was a breaking point’.
That same clip also featured Harry saying: ‘My biggest concern was history repeating itself’ – and two further snippets of Oprah saying: ‘You’ve said some pretty shocking things here’, and ‘Wait, hold, hold up, wait a minute.’
The second clip released on Monday saw Harry say: ‘For me, I’m just really relieved and happy to be sitting here talking to you with my wife by my side, because I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like for her (my mother Princess Diana) going through this process by herself all those years ago, because it’s been unbelievably tough for the two of us. But at least we have each other.’
The program will be broadcast in more than 70 countries – including Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, about 40 nations in sub-Saharan Africa and even Iceland – in deals experts say will be worth ‘a king’s ransom’.
More countries will be announced in the coming days under arrangements that could earn tens of millions of pounds for CBS. The Sussexes are not being paid for the chat and will not receive a slice of the syndication profits.
CBS is said to be charging advertisers more than $150,000 for a 30-second slot. PR insider Mark Borkowski said: ‘With 70 countries, a conservative estimate is that this is going to make tens of millions. I can’t see anything less than that.
‘You’re looking at a king’s ransom and it’s going to be a massive payday for CBS. The last event on a scale like this was probably Meghan’s own wedding. If it had been outside of Covid and the ravages of that on the ad industry it might have been a bigger deal, but it’s still going to be a huge piece of content to have.’
A source close to the couple said of the timing: ‘There are a lot of people who are going to talk about this until the program airs, but the programming and all the rest of it is ultimately up to CBS. We’re not involved in that side of things. As it stands, I don’t think there is any intention from the program maker to change its air date.’
Tory MP Bob Blackman said: ‘To be doing a tell-all interview screened in the UK when Philip is in hospital… they are badly advised, to put it mildly. None of these royal interviews have gone well and I can’t see this going any better.’
The tell-all chat with Oprah Winfrey was filmed at a location in California last month and will be shown in the US on Sunday
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at their wedding at Windsor Castle in May 2018 (left), which Oprah Winfrey attended (right)
Ahead of its release, CBS presenter Gayle King (left), who is good friends with Oprah, tweeted (right): ‘Two days and counting till Oprah’s interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry… This morning we have an EXCLUSIVE preview’
In another trailer, Meghan calls her husband’s family ‘The Firm’ and blames them for her decision to speak out.
Oprah asks her: ‘How do you feel about the Palace hearing you speak your truth today?’
An emotional Meghan 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’.
The Duchess adds: ‘And, if that comes with risk of losing things, there is a lot that has been lost already.’
It’s not clear which ‘falsehoods’ Meghan is talking about because the interview was recorded before she was accused of ‘driving out’ two PAs and shattering the confidence of another member of Kensington Palace staff – with one former aide branding Prince Harry and his wife ‘outrageous bullies.’
Hours after she made the claims, Buckingham Palace revealed the Duke of Edinburgh, 99, underwent a ‘successful procedure for a pre-existing heart condition’ and will remain in hospital for ‘treatment, rest and recuperation for a number of days’.
Commonwealth Day in 2020 was the scene of Harry and Meghan’s final official public engagement last year. The 2021 service was cancelled for the first time in nearly half a century, because of the pandemic
Meghan suggests she has no fears about losing her royal privileges by speaking out, claiming: ‘If that comes with risk of losing things, there is a lot that has been lost already’
Buckingham Palace will braced for a weekend of potentially damaging revelations and will no doubt be nervously watching developments in the US to see what further claims are made in the interview.
Meanwhile other Royal Family members carried on with their engagements – including Prince William and Kate who had a videocall with the parents of a boy helped by a mental health text helpline that they are supporting.
While CBS was broadcasting, the @RoyalFamily Twitter account quoted a post about how the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had spoken to a family whose lives were changed by a message to a mental health support service.
The Queen has also continued working while her husband has been in hospital – including encouraging people to get the Covid-19 vaccine, holding phone calls with Armed Forces chiefs and virtually unveiling a new statue of herself in Australia.
The pair were both labeled ‘outrageous bullies’, according to sensational claims.
‘Broken’ royal aides told of feeling humiliated, ‘sick’, ‘terrified’, left ‘shaking’ with fear, and being reduced to tears by the duchess.
In an extraordinary statement, Buckingham Palace announced a formal probe into the allegations surrounding the Queen’s grandson and his wife. Members of staff will be invited to contribute in confidence.
The Duchess of Sussex (pictured with the royal family) is accused of ‘driving out’ two PAs and shattering the confidence of another member of Kensington Palace staff – with one former aide branding Harry and his wife ‘outrageous bullies’ in The Times earlier this week
A photograph released by Kensington Palace yesterday of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their videocall with the parents of a schoolboy who have praised the text helpline, Shout 85258, developed by the couple’s Royal Foundation
The Palace 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. Members of staff involved at the time, including those who have left the Royal Household, will be invited to participate to see if lessons can be learned.
‘The 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.’
It does not appear that the duke and duchess will be consulted at this stage. However, Harry and Meghan have strenuously denied any bullying.
In response to the reports, they accused the Queen’s staff of orchestrating a ‘calculated smear campaign’.
But Palace sources slapped down the smear claim as utterly ‘disingenuous’.
The allegations and resulting probe – as well as accusations by the Duchess that Buckingham Palace are deliberately moving against her – sees a new low in relations.
When the couple quit as working royals last year, the elderly monarch made clear her regret and made a point of saying they were still much loved members of her family.
Aides said the hope was they could still return for family events such as Trooping the Colour, the official celebration of the Queen’s birthday, and other occasions.