Meghan Markle and Prince Harry "knew it would get ugly" in the run up to their Oprah Winfrey interview, but the Duchess is reportedly disturbed by the bullying investigation brought against her by Buckingham Palace.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's tell-all Oprah interview is just days away from airing on prime-time TV in the United States and around the world.
But Meghan and her team are now grappling with "upsetting" and "distressing" accusations.
On Tuesday, The Times reported Meghan’s former press secretary, Jason Knauf, made a complaint against Meghan which related to the welfare of two personal assistant and a third member of staff she is alleged to have undermined.
A spokesperson for the Sussexes said Meghan had been a victim of "a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation," and added the Duchess was "saddened by this latest attack on her character."
Now a friend of Prince Harry and Meghan has said the couple "knew that it would get ugly" in the run up to Oprah’s interview, but the pair are shocked and saddened by the accusations.
A friend told Bazaar: "Harry and Meghan knew that it would get ugly in the run up to the Oprah special, but seeing such an obvious attempt at destroying her character was distressing and upsetting to them."
The pal went on to say that it's "sad" it's "happening" to Meghan as the claims are "so far from the woman I know."
They continued: "It’s sad that it’s happening, but I’m not surprised. These claims are so far from the woman I know."
Another friend of Meghan's, who according to Bazaar has known the Duchess for 10 years, said Prince Harry's wife would feel "awful if she knew that someone felt that way about working with her."
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She told Bazaar: "I know that Meg would feel awful if she knew that someone felt that way about working with her, but I also know that no one ever approached her about anything like this at all during that time.
"I have never known her to be anything but kind and considerate to her friends and colleagues."
Buckingham Palace announced it would be investigating the claims made against Meghan after The Times published their report.
In a statement, Buckingham Palace – which is responsible for the hiring of royal staff – said: "We are clearly very concerned about allegations in the Times following claims made by former staff of the Duke and 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."
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