Former staffers of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle slammed the duchess for alleged bullying and called her a “narcissistic sociopath,” a new book on the royal family has claimed.
The Times of London royal correspondent Valentine Low’s upcoming book, “Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind the Crown,” tackles the alleged “difficulties” of the royal staff who worked under Prince Harry and his wife before they left the royal family in 2020.
Low, who spoke to members of the royal household for his book, claimed that the group of former staff called themselves the “Sussex Survivors Club” and included private secretary Sam Cohen, communications chief Sara Latham, and assistant press secretary Marnie Gaffney, according to a second extract from the book published by the Sunday Times.
In the first extract published by the Times Friday, Low claimed that Markle and Prince Harry’s alleged bullying of staff left aides “broken” and “shaking with fear.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have denied all allegations of bullying and harassment, according to the Times. Representatives for Markle previously described the accusations as “a calculated smear campaign” when they first surfaced last year.
According to Low’s book, which is set to be released next month, former staffers claimed to the royal correspondent that they believe the duchess allegedly manipulated and constructed the narrative herself of being rejected by royals as part of the narrative she would tell after she and Prince Harry relinquished their roles as senior royals.
This allegedly included Markle’s claims during her explosive sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey last year that she developed suicidal thoughts after joining the royal family and did not receive help from the firm when she reached out to them.
“[These staff] came to be so disillusioned that they began to suspect that even her most heartfelt pleas for help were part of a deliberate strategy that had one end in sight: her departure from the royal family. They believe she wanted to be able to say ‘Look how they failed to support me,'” Low wrote in his book, according to the excerpt.
The staff was also reportedly clueless about Markle’s claims that she was “turned away” by palace HR because it was not HR’s duty to handle matters of the members of the royal family. Hence, Low wrote, the staff saw it as Markle’s way of “laying a trail of evidence,” Fox News reported.
“Everyone knew that the institution would be judged by her happiness,” Low quoted an unnamed former staff member as claiming. “The mistake they made was thinking that she wanted to be happy. She wanted to be rejected because she was obsessed with that narrative from day one.”
Low also wrote that some staffers believed that the narrative was a plot for Markle to return to the U.S. and start earning money again.
International Business Times could not independently verify the claims in Low’s book.
After the Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped back from royal duties and relocated to California, where they now live with son Archie, 3, and daughter Lilibet, 1, the couple started their own production company, Archewell, and signed multimillion-dollar deals with Netflix and Spotify. Markle recently launched her podcast with the latter, “Archetypes.”
Former staffers alleged that the duchess had “played” them and that no one knew how to address the alleged bullying, according to Low. “When someone decides not to be civil, they have no idea what to do. They were run over by her, and then run over by Harry,” an unnamed source told the royal correspondent.
Prince Harry allegedly sent “horrible emails” to two senior aides, including the late Queen Elizabeth II’s private secretary Edward Young, with whom the royal couple shared a “mutual dislike,” the book claimed.
Another staffer claimed that they “felt played” because none of them had been told that Prince Harry and Markle were not planning to return to royal duties and were leaving “for good” following the couple’s vacation in Canada in early 2020, according to the book.
“Shortly before the end of the year, Meghan confided in a member of her staff that the couple [was] not coming back,” Low claimed in the book. “The rest of the team did not find out until they held a meeting at Buckingham Palace at the beginning of January 2020. They found it hard to accept they were being dumped just like that. Some of them were in tears. ‘It was a very loyal team,’ said one.”
Since then, Prince Harry and Markle have returned to the U.K. for a visit with the Queen in April and for the late monarch’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June. They also returned to his home country this month for a series of charitable events and had to extend their stay when his grandmother died on Sept. 8.