The royal family have been accused of having “double standards” over its investigation into the bullying accusations made against Meghan Markle Duchess of Sussex, but not against Prince Andrew.
Speaking to Sky News, co-author of the Harry and Meghan biography Finding Freedom, Carolyn Durand, questioned why the royal family had ordered an investigation into the duchess, but not into Prince Andrew and his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein.
The Queen’s son had been friends with convicted sex offender Epstein, and himself has been accused of sexual abuse.
On 2 March, an email sent by one of Harry and Meghan’s aides in October 2018 had been leaked to The Times newspaper, which suggested that Meghan had behaved unacceptably towards Kensington Palace staff.
Buckingham Palace announced on Wednesday (3 March) that it would be investigating the allegations of bullying made against Meghan during her time as a working royal.
Durand sand: “There’s been a lot of double standards that we’re talking about.
“Why is there an investigation into this bullying but there’s not been an investigation into Prince Andrew and the allegations surrounding Jeffrey Epstein and the women who have made allegations?
“Why hasn’t he been urged to cooperate with US authorities? Why were Prince Harry’s military honors stripped [after stepping down as a working royal], but Prince Andrew’s haven’t been?”
Durand added that the “double standards” were something that Meghan had “really struggled with” and that “her friends were concerned about her”.
‘No stories of bullying’
Omid Scobie, fellow co-author of Finding Freedom, also said that he spent “a lot” of time getting to know those working closely with Harry and Meghan, and did not come across any stories of bullying.
Speaking to ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Scobie said: “I’d spent a lot of time getting to know the people that were working closely to them, and that’s through several generations of their various teams at Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace.
“I myself hadn’t come across stories of bullying. I’d seen people frazzled and frustrated by being caught in the middle of the Sussexes and the institution on a regular basis.
“So, you know, I also understand that anyone’s experience, and what they share [of] their experience during employment… needs to be heard, and so, of course, like any responsible business there has to be an investigation.
“But, at the same time, it is an unprecedented moment for the Palace to announce to the entire world that there will be a HR investigation. You know, this is the institution that has remained dead silent about all of the Prince Andrew accusations.
“‘No comment’ was the words given to me time and time again when I asked more questions about the allegations against Prince Andrew, and his lack of cooperation against the FBI.
“When Harry and Meghan accused, or were suspicious, of staff leaking stories to the British tabloids, again, their complaint fell on deaf ears. So, it does feel like we have a slightly uneven playing field here. If there are internal investigations, they need to happen across the board.”
The news comes days after the first teaser trailers of Harry and Meghan’s Oprah interview were released online.
A spokesperson for the couple has suggested that the announcement of the bullying investigation has been timed in order to undermine the Oprah TV interview.
In one of the teaser clips released for the interview, Meghan accuses the royal family of “perpetuating falsehoods” and her and Harry, and referring to the family as “The Firm”.