A story claiming Meghan Markle bullied personal assistants during her time as a working royal has been called "a calculated smear campaign," in a statement from the Duchess of Sussex's camp.

Her team said that they are disappointed with how Meghan has been portrayed in the media days before the Sussex pair's interview with Oprah Winfrey runs on the air. A spokesperson for Meghan said that bringing up accusations from several years ago is not a coincidence. They believe that this has been aimed at undermining the Duchess of Sussex, who is expected to reveal everything she went through at the royal palaces to Winfrey.

Prior to the interview, Meghan was said to have told Winfrey that she could ask anything she wants. The couple sat down for an interview in mid-February, before announcing that they will "tell all" to the American TV talk show host.

An insider told People that Meghan is saddened by the bullying accusations, especially when she has been a victim of bullying as well. The friend said that Meghan remains "deeply committed" to those who have been through emotional pain and trauma.

The Times unleashed a report naming Jason Knauf as someone with personal knowledge of the bullying complaints against Meghan. He was the former communications secretary of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who prepared an HR complaint against Prince Harry's wife after two personal assistants and one staff member reported the incidents to him in 2018.

Knauf apparently wanted to protect the staff members who had been under pressure from Meghan. He also approached Simon Case, who was then the private secretary of Prince William and Kate Middleton, to discuss how this complaint had to go about since no one has filed against a principal before.

The story alleged that Harry also had a meeting with Knauf to ask him not to file the paperwork. In an unearthed email, Knauf apparently expressed concern that the focus was on making the complaints go away rather than addressing them. Shortly after, Knauf left his post to start a new job as the head of The Royal Foundation, William and Kate's charity. His paperwork against Meghan did not progress.

Senior sources from Buckingham Palace have also issued a statement saying that there is no orchestrated campaign against the Duchess of Sussex. The Palace said that its HR will launch an investigation into the complaints, adding that bullying and harassment will not be tolerated in the workplace.

Buckingham Palace said that they will invite the people involved, who have since left the Royal Household. Allegedly, these staff members were "humiliated" and were subjected to "emotional cruelty and manipulation" while working for the Duchess of Sussex. (Business Times)