Palace ‘bringing in independent law firm to lead Meghan Markle bullying probe’

Meghan Markle's alleged bullying of royal staff is to be independently investigated, it has been reported.

A team of third-party lawyers will look into the allegations made against the Duchess of Sussex by current and former royal aides, inside sources have claimed.

It was initially announced an internal probe would be launched to review the claims in the wake of her and husband Prince Harry's tell-all interview with US chat show icon Oprah Winfrey.

The explosive two-hour TV special premiered in the US last Sunday. It aired in the UK the following day.

And while the shocking allegations looks set to increase the rift between the couple and the Royal Family, a source warned "the actual worst incidences haven't come out," according to The Times.

It is the latest in a series of shocking revelations about the relationship behind closed doors between the royals after the Sussexes claimed unnamed members of "the Firm" were "concerned" about whether son Archie would have "dark skin" while Meghan was pregnant.

It is understood Prince Harry has "been in contact" with brother William following the interview after not speaking for several months.

During the show, the duke also claimed he had been financially "cut off" by his family following their decision to live independently.

However, close friends of Harry's dad, the Prince of Wales, branded the 36-year-old's allegations as "hypocrisy".

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"What f*****g hypocrisy. When Harry and Meghan left last year, they wanted to become ‘financially independent'," one told The Times.

Another is believed to have said: "It was a surprise to hear he'd been cut off, given the bank statements.

"The prince continued to provide Harry and Meghan with financial support after their move to America, while they found their feet."

Royal aides past and present, who previously worked with Meghan, are expected to testify as part of the bullying inquiry.

The couple's former communications secretary Jason Knauf first raised the issue in October 2018 when he emailed a senior courtier, claiming "the Duchess was able to bully two PAs out of the household in the past year."

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Despite the accusation that "the duchess seems intent on always having someone in her sights," the complaint was originally disregarded by Bucking Palace's HR team.

However, the matter resurfaced in February this year when two senior staff members said that they were bullied by Meghan.

One said the were "humiliated" by the 39-year-old ex-Suits star, adding that two others were also targeted by the duchess.

Meghan has repeatedly rejected the accusations. A spokesperson for the couple called the investigation "a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation."

But one royal source said: "The actual worst incidences haven’t come out. There are some harrowing stories to tell."

Another warned more allegations "could come out in the wash that haven't been told."

It is thought neither Meghan nor Harry, who have written to the royals to address the issue, will take part in the probe.

However, palace officials are said to want to keep the investigation private to ensure those involved will "feel comfortable" coming forward.

"Our commitment to look into the circumstances around the allegations from former staff of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is being taken forward but we will not be providing a public commentary on it," a palace spokesperson said.

When news of the allegations first broke, a spokesperson for the couple was quoted as saying: “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.”

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