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NEW UPDATE: Meghan Markle Aide Breaks Silence on Bullying Allegations As two PAs were sent out of Kensington Palace



Meghan Markle and Queen Elizabeth 11



Meghan Markle’s former top aide has confirmed for the first time that she was interviewed as part of a palace review into allegations the royal bullied her staff.

The Duchess of Sussex was accused of forcing two PAs out of Kensington Palace in a 2018 internal email that was leaked to U.K. broadsheet The Times days before her Oprah Winfrey interview in 2021. Meghan has always denied the allegations.

At the time the complaint was first made, Samantha Cohen was her private secretary, the most senior adviser who reports to a royal.

Cohen, who is Australian, gave an interview to Australian newspaper the Herald Sun in which she was asked about the bullying allegations.

The newspaper reported she would only confirm she was one of 10 staffers who were interviewed as part of a Buckingham Palace probe into the bullying allegations.

However, she added: “I was only supposed to stay for six months but stayed for 18—we couldn’t find a replacement for me and when we did we took them on tour to Africa with Harry and Meghan to show them the ropes but they left (quit) as well while in Africa.”

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex toured Southern Africa in September and October 2019, shortly before they left Britain for Canada that November.

Jason Knauf, then-Kensington Palace communications secretary, sent an email in October 2018 to Simon Case, Prince William’s private secretary at the time, outlining concerns about Meghan’s treatment of staff.

Knauf told Case: “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 [name removed] was totally unacceptable.”


Meghan Markle..

“The Duchess seems intent on always having someone in her sights,” Knauf continued. “She is bullying Y [name removed] and seeking to undermine her confidence. We have had report after report from people who have witnessed unacceptable behavior towards Y [name removed].”

The bullying allegations have a long history and first entered the public domain in watered down form two months later in December 2018 with a story in The Sunday Times about Cohen’s departure from Kensington Palace.

The headline read: “Meghan loses second close aide, Samantha Cohen, as rumours swirl of ‘Duchess Difficult,'” while the article suggested she had been known to send requests as early as 5 a.m.

A source told the newspaper Cohen’s replacement would need “reserves of energy and patience to help her define her future role.”

However, the full scale of the allegations remained secret until the days before Meghan and Prince Harry’s March 2021 Oprah Winfrey interview when Knauf’s email was leaked to The Times and published.

The Sussexes came back fighting with a statement that read: “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.”

Meghan Markle and Queen Elisabeth 11

However, over time Meghan’s stance appeared to soften and her lawyer, Jenny Afia, later told the BBC: “What bullying actually means is improperly using power, repeatedly and deliberately to hurt someone physically or emotionally.

“The Duchess of Sussex has absolutely denied doing that. That said, she wouldn’t want to negate anyone’s personal experiences.”

Harry also denied that Meghan was a bully in his book Spare, but did acknowledge the existence of a toxic culture at Kensington Palace in which he saw staff weep.

“Nerves were shattering, people were sniping,” he wrote. “In such a climate there was no such thing as constructive criticism. All feedback was seen as an affront, an insult.

“More than once a staff member slumped across their desk and wept. For all this, every bit of it, Willy blamed one person. Meg.”

“Meg managed to remain calm,” he continued. “Despite what certain people were saying about her, I never heard her speak a bad word about anybody, or to anybody.

“On the contrary, I watched her redouble her efforts to reach out, to spread kindness.”

Harry also denied Meghan forced out one of her PAs, though he did acknowledge the Sussexes played a role in her departure.

“She [Meghan] was also said to have driven our assistant to quit,” he wrote. “In fact that assistant was asked to resign by Palace HR after we showed them evidence she’d traded on her position with Meg to get freebies.”

Buckingham Palace launched an internal review of the bullying allegations in 2021 and initially suggested a report would be made public. Ultimately, however, the findings were never disclosed.

The main legacy of the saga may in the long term be the role it played in showing publicly that the palace had their own narrative that contradicted Harry and Meghan’s.

Harry said during their Oprah Winfrey interview that the royals were initially welcoming of Meghan but it all changed with a raft of hostile leaks to the media after a tour of Australia and the South Pacific in Fall 2021.

The only explanation he appeared to offer was that it was “the first time that the family got to see how incredible she is at the job.”

The bullying allegations served as another alternative explanation for how royal relations soured that countered Harry’s narrative that the royals were simply jealous of Meghan.


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