Scandals that shocked the Palace

 

It was all going so well. Meghan Markle looked set to be the breath of fresh air the British royal family so badly needed.

After her tour of Australia with husband Prince Harry, the press could not have been more rapturous about the Duchess of Sussex - from baking her own banana bread to holding an umbrella over Harry's head as he gave a speech in Dubbo.

The icing on the cake was the announcement that the newlyweds are expecting their first baby in 2019.

Flash forward a few months and that has all been overshadowed by negative headlines mostly concerning the Duchess of Sussex.

 

Kate and Meghan were photographed together outside St Mary Magdalene Church in Norfolk on Christmas Day. Picture: AP PhotoFrank Augstein
Kate and Meghan were photographed together outside St Mary Magdalene Church in Norfolk on Christmas Day. Picture: AP PhotoFrank Augstein

 

 

The sisters-in-law were all smiles despite reports of a growing feud. Picture: Getty Images
The sisters-in-law were all smiles despite reports of a growing feud. Picture: Getty Images

 

 

These involve an apparent feud between Meghan, 37, and her sister-in-law Kate Middleton, 36, a string of staff resignations, and bitter outbursts from Meghan's estranged family.

A constant source of negative press has been her half-sister, Samantha Markle, and father, Thomas Markle, who have both publicly criticised the Duchess of Sussex.

Thomas, who had been expected to walk Meghan down the aisle at her wedding in May, revealed details of a private phone call he claimed to have had with Prince Harry and, as recently as this month, branded Meghan "controlling" in an interview with Good Morning Britain.

He said he texts her daily and called on the Queen to personally intervene in their family drama.

 

 

 

What rift? Wills, Kate, Meghan and Harry put on a show for royal watchers on Christmas Day. Picture: Getty Images
What rift? Wills, Kate, Meghan and Harry put on a show for royal watchers on Christmas Day. Picture: Getty Images

 

 

"I'm very disappointed by it. I'm not sure why it's happening," Thomas told the program.

"I'm reaching out … every day I try and text her and just haven't had any comment back," Thomas continued.

"She has always been a very controlling person and that is part of her nature but she has never been rude."

Samantha, who once branded Meghan the "duchass", launched bitter Twitter and tabloid rants about her half-sibling, branding her "sad" and "rude".

Reports of a feud between the Duchess of Sussex and the Duchess of Cambridge have not helped Meghan's image.

 

The Duchesses were seen engaging in small talk. Picture: AP PhotoFrank Augstein
The Duchesses were seen engaging in small talk. Picture: AP PhotoFrank Augstein

 

Kate was said to have been "in tears" after a bridesmaid fitting with her daughter, Princess Charlotte, 3, and Meghan in the lead-up to the royal wedding, and Kate was "furious" over the way Meghan spoke her staff.

This led Kensington Palace to issue a rare statement denying the incident. "This never happened," a Palace spokesman told Britain's The Sun earlier this month.

The rift is also said to have put a strain on the previously close relationship between brothers Prince William and Harry.

 

Tensions between Kate and Meghan are said to have impacted on Wills and Harry’s relationship. Picture: Getty Images
Tensions between Kate and Meghan are said to have impacted on Wills and Harry’s relationship. Picture: Getty Images

Adding weight to reports that the sisters-in-law don't get along was the sudden announcement that Harry and Meghan wouldn't be taking up the offer to live in an apartment next door to William and Kate in Kensington Palace. Instead, they're moving to Frogmore Cottage at Windsor Castle.

In the space of six months, Harry and Meghan lost three staff members, adding fuel to rumours the Duchess of Sussex is "demanding".

Among the resignations was her personal assistant, Melissa Toubati, 39, who was widely credited for playing a significant role in the success of Meghan and Harry's wedding.

A Kensington Palace source told the Daily Mail Toubati's resignation was a "shock" and it raised questions about the way Meghan treats staff.

"To lose one member of the household could happen to anyone," a source told the British newspaper.

"To lose three in a few months is starting to look like a stampede."

According to The Sun, Toubati - who previously worked for pop star Robbie Williams - was left in tears over the Duchess's demands.

Senior staffer, Samantha Cohen, the couple's private secretary, is due to finish in her role after 17 years working for the royal family, including as the Queen's former assistant private secretary.

 

Thomas Markle has given multiple interviews about his daughter, Meghan. Picture: Good Morning Britain
Thomas Markle has given multiple interviews about his daughter, Meghan. Picture: Good Morning Britain

 

 

Samantha Markle has also spoken out about tensions with her half-sister. Picture: Channel 5
Samantha Markle has also spoken out about tensions with her half-sister. Picture: Channel 5

 

The Australian, 50, whose nickname is "The Panther", will exit after the couple's baby is born next year, The Times reported, though there had been reports she was working for the couple on an interim basis.

The Palace's inability to manage the Markle family drama and feud speculation also extended to not ensuring Meghan followed the protocol expected of her as a new member of the royal family.

This included minor gaffes including criticism over how she curtsied in front of the Queen, crossing her legs at an official royal function (a deviation from the accepted leg pose, dubbed the "duchess slant", after Kate), and shutting her own car door.

 

At least three staff members have quit Meghan Markle’s team. Picture: Getty Images
At least three staff members have quit Meghan Markle’s team. Picture: Getty Images

 

Though her pre-royal blog "The Tig" and social media accounts were shut down after her relationship with Harry became serious, Meghan's Instagram feed - complete with 3 million followers - was briefly reactivated this month.

Fans noted that the Duchess's page was back online "for a few hours" before being deleted again, with some commentators suggesting it was the result of a technical glitch rather than a Palace blunder.

FERGIE'S RETURN

Meghan, of course, is not the first fresh face to shake up the royals.

Sarah Ferguson, aka Fergie, was like a hurricane through the firm since her wedding to Prince Andrew in 1986 (the couple divorced a decade later), with her uncouth toe-sucking scandal and falling out with former sister-in-law, the late Princess Diana, over her memoir, My Story.

But Fergie, 59, was welcomed back into the royal fold in 2018 after years in the wilderness when her daughter, Princess Eugenie, married alcohol promoter Jack Brooksbank.

Though Fergie's return was not without scandal.

She was accused of trying to steal the limelight from Meghan and Harry's pregnancy announcement, by tweeting a photo of her daughter and new son-in-law less than an hour after the baby announcement.

Fergie captioned it: "So proud of Eugenie and Jack #wedding".

 

Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank tied the knot at Windsor Castle in October. Picture: Getty Images
Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank tied the knot at Windsor Castle in October. Picture: Getty Images

Her daughter, Princess Eugenie, suffered further embarrassment when the official royal Instagram account @buckinghamroyal mistakenly referred to her as her sister, Beatrice, while spruiking mugs commemorating Eugenie and Jack's wedding.

"This exclusive mug issued in commemoration of the wedding of HRH Princess Beatrice of York and Mr Jack Brooksbank is now available for purchase by following the link in the description," the caption said.

The humiliating post was quickly deleted from the account.



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