23:21 GMT18 April 2021
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    uckingham Palace announced on Wednesday evening that an investigation would be launched into the “concerning” bullying claims levelled at Meghan Markle, dating to her time at Kensington Palace, further fuelling the royal rift ahead of the Duke And Duchess of Sussex’s “tell-all” interview with Oprah Winfrey, which will air on CBS.

    Simon Case, the UK cabinet secretary who succeeded Mark Sedwill, could find himself drawn into the toxic vortex of the bullying investigation against Meghan Markle launched by Buckingham Palace amid its escalating royal rift with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, writes the Independent.

    Formerly strategy director at GCHQ and policy adviser at the Ministry of Defence, Case may be called upon to answer questions as part of a royal probe into claims Prince Harry’s spouse bullied staff after a report in The Times cited unnamed royal aides as revealing a complaint made against her ostensibly in 2018.

    ​Currently the youngest-ever top civil servant, who in 2012 became private secretary to then-Prime Minister David Cameron, and was initially part of the team involved in Brexit talks, he became Prince William's private secretary in 2018.

    It is maintained that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had personally approached Prince William to recruit the civil servant back into government in September.

    Now it has been claimed that Case was told of the volatile situation involving bullying charges 16 months ago, while still in the employ of the Duke of Cambridge.

    ​Case’s colleague, Jason Knauf, serving at the time as communications secretary at Kensington Palace, reportedly sent him an email in October 2018, saying,“I am very concerned that the duchess was able to bully two PAs out of the household in the past year.”

    Meghan Markle’s purported treatment of another member of staff was “totally unacceptable”, according to the email, leaked to The Times, suggesting the Duchess “seems intent on always having someone in her sights.” The cited email stated:

    “She is bullying Y [name withheld] and seeking to undermine her confidence. We have had report after report from people who have witnessed unacceptable behaviour towards Y.”

    In response to the report, a senior Whitehall official was quoted as saying:

    “This is a big distraction for Simon Case at a difficult and busy time for us all. He has been dragged into this and will probably have to speak to this investigation. As far as one knows, the conclusions [of the investigation] aren’t expected to be made public for quite a while but one thing one can bet on is there’s going to be lots of leaks in the media. There are likely to be legal repercussions If it’s proved that bullying did take place, then, presumably, there will be people seeking compensation, especially if there was any kind of cover-up over this. This is a pretty toxic subject.”

    Other government sources were cited as adding that it was highly unlikely Simon Case would be proven to have committed any wrongdoing.

    “As far as I am aware Simon’s remit did not include handling this sort of issue with staff, and he passed the matter on to the HR people,” the official was quoted as saying.

    Scandalous Royal Probe Fuels Rift

    Buckingham Palace announced on Wednesday evening that an investigation will be launched into the bullying claims targeting Meghan Markle, ostensibly dating back to when she was still at Kensington palace.

    “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 household, will be invited to participate to see if lessons can be learned,” read the royal statement.

    A spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex dismissed the allegations of bullying as a “calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful information”.

    A legal letter sent to The Times, which had first broken the story of the alleged bullying, stated that Meghan Markle was “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”.

    Further fuel to the fire is anticipated to be added by Sunday’s screening of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s “tell-all” interview with Oprah Winfrey.

    ​In short clips released by CBS ahead of the airing on 7 March, the Duchess of Sussex says she could not be expected to "just be silent" if the Royal Family played an "active role" in "perpetuating falsehoods" about her.

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    UK Ministry of Defence, Duke of Sussex, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, Meghan Markle
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