Prince William's "Alleged Bullying" Drove the Sussexes Out, Royal Expert Says

It's not the first time such accusations have come out.

Prince William, Meghan Markle, and Prince Harry sit at a formal event.
(Image credit: WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Relations between the Cambridges and the Sussexes have been tense (opens in new tab) since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (opens in new tab) decided to step down (opens in new tab) from their royal duties in January 2020—despite certain reports to the contrary (opens in new tab). Now, royal biographer Andrew Morton, author of Meghan: A Hollywood Princess (opens in new tab), has made new claims that Prince William and Kate Middleton's (opens in new tab) attitude played a big part in pushing the Sussexes away.

Morton recently published six additional chapters to his 2018 book, excerpts of which have appeared in the Mirror (opens in new tab). The author claimed that it wasn't so much the royal institution as a whole that led to the Sussexes' royal exit (opens in new tab). "Far from abandoning Meghan, the Palace had a team which spent ‘hundreds of hours monitoring social media accounts' and ‘violent threats were reported to the police,'" Morton wrote.

Instead, it was Prince Harry's brother and sister-in-law who reportedly precipitated the falling-out. "The Duchess of Cambridge’s coolness towards Meghan, and William’s alleged bullying contributed to a devastating ‘Cain and Abel’ fallout between the brothers," Morton continued. "Harry was the ‘prime mover’ in souring relations between the Sussexes and the Royal Family, but it was Meghan who ‘took the hit.'"

The phrase "alleged bullying" supposedly refers to a January 2020 story published in The Times (opens in new tab), which claimed that Prince William had acted in a "bullying" manner towards the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. A source told the paper that the couple had had enough of "constantly being told their place."

The two brothers strongly denied the allegations made by The Times' source at the time. They released a statement saying, "Despite clear denials, a false story ran in a UK newspaper today speculating about the relationship between the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of Cambridge. For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful" (via The Guardian (opens in new tab)).

Whether or not any of these claims are true, it certainly looks like the Cambridges and Sussexes had a complicated relationship even before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding (opens in new tab) in 2018. Markle herself talked about finding herself in less-than-cordial situations involving Middleton as part of her interview with Oprah (opens in new tab) earlier this year, saying that her sister-in-law-to-be had made her cry (opens in new tab) in the run-up to her wedding.

Though some recent reports (opens in new tab) pointed to signs of a reconciliation (opens in new tab) between the two branches of the family, many royal experts are still skeptical (opens in new tab). Still, the Fab Four could make peace in time for Christmas (opens in new tab)—or at least for the Queen's Jubilee (opens in new tab) next year.

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Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Bustle and Shape. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.