A bombshell new report by British newspaper The Times of London has been met by fury by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, whose lawyers called it a "calculated smear campaign" and blamed Buckingham Palace for "using" the paper to "peddle a wholly false narrative." It's the latest—and among the most public yet—of showdowns between Meghan and Harry and Buckingham Palace, and comes just days before their tell-all interview with Oprah.
On March 2, the Times—not to be confused with The New York Times—published an extensive report alleging that Meghan had faced a bullying complaint from a staffer while living in London. (Worth noting: The British press has been famously awful to Meghan, particularly the tabloids, but The Times is among the most respected of the British newspapers.) These two paragraphs from The Times report are particularly telling:
The couple’s lawyers told The Times that this newspaper is “being used by Buckingham Palace to peddle a wholly false narrative” before the interview.
However, The Times understands that the palace establishment is highly concerned that the allegations have emerged.
That the royal couple are openly blaming Buckingham Palace for bad press—and Buckingham Palace is denying their involvement—represents a new level of tension between the Duke and Duchess and the royal establishment.
Said the Sussexes in a statement: "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."
They added: "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."