Harry and Meghan slam claims of bullying as 'smear campaign' by British media ahead of interview

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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
Photo: Chris Jackson - Pool/Getty Images
  • In a new article published Tuesday by The Times claims of bullying dating back to 2018 against the Duchess of Sussex were revealed.
  • The couple have since released a statement saying Meghan was "saddened" by the false claims, considering she's been a victim of bullying herself.
  • The couple have also said they believe the claims to be a "smear campaign" ahead of their tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey.

A spokesperson for the Sussexes has responded to claims Meghan Markle bullied Kensington Palace staff during the couple's time in the UK, according to a report published by The Times on Tuesday.

Citing one of the royals' close advisers, former communications secretary Jason Knauf, the publication shared a claim suggesting Meghan drove two personal assistants away and undermined the confidence of a third staff member, reports People.

The couple's team has since responded: "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."

The publication cites a second observer, noting the couple's upcoming interview with Oprah: "The whole thing reminds me of an old rugby saying: 'Get your retaliation in first.'"

Oprah With Meghan and Harry will see Meghan chat to the talk show host "covering everything from stepping into life as a royal, marriage, motherhood, philanthropic work to how she is handling life under intense public pressure". Prince Harry will later join the conversation to discuss their move to the US and their future plans.

In a sneak peek shared by CBS, Harry speaks candidly about Princess Diana and the impact intense scrutiny had on her.

"My biggest concern was history repeating itself," he says during the interview. "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 [Diana], going through this process by herself all those years ago.

"It's been unbelievably tough for the two of us, but at least we have each other."

The couple has since also received backlash from royal watchers for speaking of Diana during the interview.

In a statement to The Times following Tuesday's report, Harry and Meghan have said: "Let's just call this what it is — a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation.

"We are disappointed to see this defamatory portrayal of The Duchess of Sussex given credibility by a media outlet. It's no coincidence that distorted several-year-old accusations aimed at undermining The Duchess are being briefed to the British media shortly before she and The Duke are due to speak openly and honestly about their experience of recent years."

The couple's lawyers said The Times was being used "by Buckingham Palace to peddle a wholly false narrative" before the explosive interview.

The Oprah with Meghan and Harry special will air on CBS in the US on Sunday, 7 March 7, and be available on CBS All Access, Hulu and YouTube TV. ITV will also air the interview 24 hours later in the UK.  

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