IN AN unprecedented move marking the latest development in the Megxit saga, the Queen has given the green light for Buckingham Palace to investigate allegations that the Duchess of Sussex bullied palace staff with impunity.
Britain’s longest reigning monarch is usually above the morass of palace protocol and intrigue, but on this occasion, the Queen, 94, has waded into the controversy around bullying allegations levelled against her granddaughter-in-law, Meghan Markle.
Senior palace aides launched the probe after being presented with documentary evidence of complaints made against the Duchess in 2018, yet – the documents allege – no follow-up action was taken at the time.
The allegations were first reported in The Times.
Commenting on the investigation, a Buckingham Palace statement said: "We are clearly very concerned about allegations in The Times following claims made by former staff of The Duke Duchess of Sussex.
"Accordingly our HR team will look into the circumstances outlined in the article.
"Members of staff involved at the time, including those who have left the Household, will be invited to participate to see if lessons can be learned.
"The Royal Household has had a Dignity at Work policy in place for a number of years and does not and will not tolerate bullying or harassment in the workplace”, the statement read as reported by the Daily Express.
Palace staff and ex-employees will be invited to give evidence in confidence, should they wish to do so.
It is understood that if the outcome of the investigation results in changes to household policy, then the new rules will be outlined in the palace's annual Sovereign Grant report.
The allegations have fanned the flames of an ongoing royal feud, which has been simmering over in recent days as provocative snippets of the Duke and Duchesses interview with American chat show queen, Oprah Winfrey, have been released and left Buckingham Palace officials nervous of what will be divulged in the two hour tell-all interview.
Some senior staff who worked for Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, were keen to give evidence in a High Court battle between her and the Mail On Sunday to put their side of the story on the record.
But the paper's motion to appeal Meghan's privacy claim victory was thrown out by a judge on Tuesday.
Unable to be heard in court, a group of former aides spoke with The Times newspaper to voice their complaints.
They alleged that Meghan's bullying was ignored in a doomed effort to keep her happy.
The Sussexes have come out with a different version of events, though, and claim that Buckingham Palace is trying to smear them ahead of their interview with Oprah Winfrey.
As the war of words continues to unfurl, aides who have worked for Harry and Meghan have come forward and described it as an ordeal.
One told the Daily Express that: "They were an absolute nightmare to work for. Every time they did any engagements there would be all sorts of calls afterwards. Why had that been done, why hadn't that been done? They were really unpleasant."
Another source alleged that the Sussexes' former private secretary Samantha Cohen had been emotionally wrecked by the job - and having to regularly apologise for the young royals’ behaviour.
Commenting on the allegations, royal biographer Penny Junor told the Daily Express: "It's such a mess. It undermines a lot of who they say they are - and what they say they stand for."
The couples tell-all interview, Oprah With Meghan And Harry: A CBS Primetime Special, will be shown in America on Sunday, and will be broadcast by ITV in the UK at 9pm on Monday evening, and RTÉ in Ireland at 9:30pm.