The Royal Family is bracing for the worst in anticipation of Prince Harry’s memoir, which will be published next year. As one insider told Best Life, the Duke of Sussex’s book will surely contain plenty of bombshells—after all, “he’s not getting $20 million to play down the drama” they said. But according to royal sources, that’s exactly what some Palace staffers hope.
In a statement announcing the book’s release, which will cover the prince’s entire life from childhood to present day, Harry said he was “excited for people to read a firsthand account of [his] life that’s accurate and wholly truthful.” But, as one insider pointed out, “The events of Harry’s life did not take place in a vacuum. There is his truth and there is the truth and, as the Queen said after the Oprah interview, ‘recollections may vary.'”
The memoir may be the perfect time for people behind Palace walls to reveal their truth, too. According to sources, several ex-aides to Harry and Duchess Meghan are actually “looking forward” to the release of the tell-all tome, which they view as the perfect opportunity to “tell their side of the story.”
“Harry may have a lot to say, but so do those who had a front row seat watching everything unfold. There were many people around the couple who used to work for them here in London who saw how he and Meghan fought for greater recognition from the Palace and parity with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge,” a source explained. “They have maintained a respectful silence, but may not hold back if they’re forced to defend themselves.”
Read on to find out why Harry’s book may prompt unprecedented statements by former staffers and why this book could launch a seismic change in royal protocol.
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Former members of Harry and Meghan’s staff have reportedly grown increasingly angry about their “false narrative.”
Writing in the Daily Mail, royal expert Dan Wootton explained that while most royal staff are bound by confidentiality agreements, including the Official Secrets Act, a group of ex-staffers who worked for Harry and Meghan have grown increasingly angry over a “false narrative” about how the Sussexes were treated by The Institution. Wootton revealed that the staffers have dubbed themselves “survivors” and stay in touch to weigh in on the latest news about the couple.
“Some of these people have been in service for many years and are horrified by the very idea of the Royal Family’s secrets being told in a book written by Harry,” one source told Best Life. “They view it as a stunning betrayal and an obvious attempt at getting revenge.”
Royal rules about staying silent may be set aside if anything about a staffer in the book is deemed “inaccurate.”
Although most royal staffers are compelled to stay silent about what goes on behind Palace walls under the law, exceptions could be made if information in Harry’s book is deemed “inaccurate,” said an insider. “The Royal Family prizes loyalty and discretion above all else, but it’s possible they could find a way to allow a staffer to get their own version of the same event made public,” the source told Best Life. “It likely would not come directly from that person, but perhaps a friend or family member would comment defending that person, which would be deemed acceptable.”
There is also the possibility a former employee could seek legal action if the book is perceived to ruin their reputation. “Legal remedies are always available too if the book smears any individual staff members unfairly,” a source told Wootton.
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Anything written about the allegations that Meghan bullied her staff could be a game-changer.
Just before Harry and Meghan’s tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey aired in March, there were allegations made that Meghan had bullied two of her former staffers. The Times of London first leaked the story in March 2021 that Jason Knauf, who was brought on to be the Sussexes’ communications director, presented his findings in an email to Prince William’s private secretary, Simon Case, in Oct. 2018, documenting incidents involving two ex-staffers of Meghan’s. They claim the duchess’ bullying had driven them to leave their positions. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex called the allegations and the launch of an official investigation by Buckingham Palace “a smear campaign.”
The Sun reported in Jan. 2020 that nine staffers of Meghan’s reportedly left their positions, including two former private secretaries, Samantha Cohen (who once worked for Queen Elizabeth) and Amy Pickerill, and two nannies who are reportedly willing to provide evidence in the investigation.
Knauf, who now works for Prince William, wrote in his email: “The Duchess seems intent on always having someone in her sights. She is bullying Y and seeking to undermine her confidence. We have had report after report from people who have witnessed unacceptable behaviour towards Y.”
Harry’s version of events, if included in the book, is sure to differ greatly. “This could cause an unprecedented number of revelations about The Firm,” said one source. “With so much already out in the open about this, anything Harry writes about it will only add fuel to a raging fire. The Palace may have to adopt an entirely different strategy handling this as a separate crisis as a result of the book.”
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The Palace has already indicated that they’re going to “fight fire with fire.”
In June, tabloid reporters in Britain began asking when and if the Queen had been told that Harry and Meghan were naming their first-born daughter Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, using Her Majesty’s childhood nickname. At the time, the BBC reported the Queen had not been made aware of what the baby’s name would be before her birth was announced, prompting Harry to threaten the news organization with legal action. When ITV approached the Palace for comment, they refused to deny the BBC’s version of events. Insiders told Best Life that the move was considered to be a “warning shot” that the Palace would not allow “inaccurate information” or false narratives about the Royal Family to stand.
When Harry’s book is published, there is no reason that will not continue.
“The great irony of all this is that Meghan and Harry wanted to modernize the monarchy and they have, not just they way that expected,” said one source. “They have empowered the Palace to not just ‘keep calm and carry on,’ but to fight against misinformation and vendettas meant to bring them down. If that means finding ways to let people speak out on their behalf, it would seem they are unbowed by what the Sussexes have done or plan to do. The book is going to be a watershed moment, but the Palace learned to swim in dangerous waters a long time ago.”
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Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.