Furious former staff members who worked for Prince Harry and Meghan during their time in the Royal Family are hoping the Duke’s tell-all autobiography will finally allow them to speak out against the royal couple without the fear of repercussions.
The small band of staffers – the so-called ‘survivors’ – and royal courtiers are currently considering the ramifications of Harry’s decision to write about his life.
They keep in touch on a semi-regular basis to swap stories and discuss the latest in the world of the Sussexes.
A small band of staffers – the so-called ‘survivors’ – and royal courtiers are currently considering the ramifications of Harry’s decision to write about his life
Most royal staff are bound by understandably draconian confidentiality provisions, including the Official Secrets Act.
However, some of Harry and Meghan’s ex-staffers have become increasingly incensed over what they believe is a false narrative being promoted about how they were treated by the institution.
This situation was exacerbated by the sensational and damaging interview with Oprah Winfrey in March, as well as the bombshell public release of claims Meghan had bullied staff members, and the launch of an official investigation by Buckingham Palace. The Sussexes denied bullying claims and said they were victims of a ‘calculated smear campaign’.
But the autobiography – for which Harry is expected to receive a £14.7 million advance from Penguin Random House – risks taking the acrimony to another level.
Last night my royal insider revealed: ‘Harry and Meghan’s former staff members are convinced that this book is being written to settle scores and will likely include a lot of detail about their time within the Royal Family.
‘Based on the Oprah Winfrey interview, some of these ex-workers simply do not trust that a full and accurate picture will be presented.
Most royal staff are bound by understandably draconian confidentiality provisions, including the Official Secrets Act, writes Dan Wootton
‘Conversations have already started about what steps they might be able to take to protect their own reputation and that of the monarchy post-publication.’
It remains unlikely that there would be any official overturning of the confidentiality rules because of their importance in protecting members of the Royal Family from damaging leaks over the years.
But an insider added: ‘There may be a provision given to staff members to respond to any claims that they consider to be inaccurate.
‘Maybe a blind eye could be turned if staff members used friends or family members to correct the record on their behalf.
‘These are the sorts of conversations going on at the moment and, of course, legal remedies are always available too if the book smears any individual staff members unfairly.’
Harry and Meghan’s staff hold the key to exposing their experiences about many of their most explosive claims about the Royal Family, so it is a shame they could remain silenced.
Another royal source added: ‘These are, on the whole, very good people who wanted the best for Harry and Meghan.
‘But many of the secrets they know are explosive and would blow up much of the victim narrative so carefully crafted by those two.
‘For example, some of these staff members were aware of commercial conversations that were going on when they were still full-time royals – they were clearing the way to make millions long before Megxit was revealed.
‘The way they tried to publicly discredit staff who they took against has been particularly distasteful and left a bad taste in the mouth of many courtiers past and present.
‘All options have to stay on the table because we are in unprecedented times. There is literally no precedent for this situation.’
However, some of Harry and Meghan’s ex-staffers have become increasingly incensed over what they believe is a false narrative being promoted about how they were treated by the institution, Dan Wootton writes
During their time in the Royal Family, a host of staff members left the employ of Harry and Meghan.
They included private secretaries Samantha Cohen and Amy Pickerill, two PAs, including Melissa Touabti, and two nannies.
At least ten former staff members are reported to be wanting to give evidence to the Buckingham Palace investigation into Meghan’s alleged bullying behind palace walls.
Harry and Meghan’s then communications secretary Jason Knauf alerted Prince William’s private secretary Simon Case in an email, leaked to The Times in the days before the Oprah chat was broadcast.
He wrote: ‘I am very concerned that the Duchess was able to bully two PAs out of the household in the past year. The treatment of X was totally unacceptable.
‘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 described the bullying allegations as a ‘calculated smear campaign’.
The Mail on Sunday revealed at the weekend that Prince Harry’s old friends are also horrified that Harry is writing a book and are considering speaking out too.
A source told the newspaper: ‘If Harry slams any of his old school and military buddies in his new book they have pledged to break ranks to tell their story.’
Last week I revealed the ‘growing sense of shock and fury’ among the royal palaces and the Duke of Sussex’s own family members about his book plan, which a senior royal source told me could be ‘the final nail in the coffin of the Royal Family’s relationship with Harry’.
Insiders close to the Prince of Wales confirmed he did not know about Harry’s book, even though he has been working on it for the past year and Clarence House is believed to be worried about what Harry might write about his stepmother Camilla.
A deal will see Prince Harry’s memoir released next year. Harry’s wife Meghan is to pen a ‘wellness’ guide as part of the contract with Penguin Random House
The source said: ‘Let’s be honest, Harry has never been close to the Duchess of Cornwall. If he documents their fraught relationship in the book it could be very damaging at a time when Charles is laying the groundwork for her to become Queen.’
While there is still hope that Charles and Harry’s relationship will be able to recover, courtiers do not believe a rapprochement with William is possible.
A royal insider explained: ‘This is the end of any close relationship with the Duke of Cambridge. There’s nothing more that can be said on that front. William believes his behaviour is shameful and tasteless.’
The publication of the book – being ghost written by J.R. Moehringer – in 2022 has also worried courtiers because it risks overshadowing a trio of significant royal milestones, notably the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Announcing the news of the book, Prince Harry said in a statement: ‘I’m writing this not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become. I’ve worn many hats over the years, both literally and figuratively, and my hope is that in telling my story – the highs and lows, the mistakes, the lessons learnt – I can help show that no matter where we come from, we have more in common than we think.
‘I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to share what I’ve learnt over the course of my life so far and excited for people to read a firsthand account of my life that’s accurate and wholly truthful.’
But as my royal source concluded: ‘Many of Prince Harry and Meghan’s former staff doubt the book will be ‘wholly truthful’ because, if it was, Harry and Meghan would come out of it looking terrible.’