Buckingham Palace is to investigate claims that the Duchess of Sussex bullied several members of her staff, it has been announced. A spokesman said they were “clearly very concerned” about allegations that Meghan, 39, had forced out two PAs and undermined the confidence of a third during her time as a working royal. Aides had expressed concerns about how such matters were handled by the palace, expressing concern that nothing was done at the time to investigate the situation, and that nothing had been done since to protect staff against the possibility of bullying by a member of the Royal Family. Buckingham Palace confirmed that its HR team would now look into the circumstances outlined in various allegations leaked to The Times. It said: “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.” While the palace did not reveal a timetable for its investigation, it is understood that HR staff hope to begin soon. Any resulting change in policy or procedure will be shared in its annual Sovereign Grant report, which highlights significant changes in operations. The provenance of the leaked allegations caused the battle between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Royal Household to escalate as palace aides branded allegations they had leaked the claims as “untrue” and “disingenuous”. The revelation that Meghan faced several complaints of bullying from members of her own staff also thwarted hopes of a reconciliation between Prince Harry and Prince William. Instead, the disclosures about the Duchess’s behaviour provoked another bitter war of words, as palace aides sought to distance themselves from the leak and staff on both sides scrambled to establish who was responsible. The claims are thought to have been carefully and deliberately collated, with multiple sources briefing against her. Jason Knauf, the Sussexes’ communications secretary at the time, submitted a formal complaint in October 2018, describing her treatment of one employee as “totally unacceptable.” He added: “ The Duchess seems intent on always having someone in her sights.” The Sussexes are convinced that senior Buckingham Palace aides leaked the allegations as part of an orchestrated defence because they are “nervous” about revelations made in their forthcoming Oprah Winfrey interview, to be broadcast in the US on Sunday. A source close to the couple said they had “no doubt” it was part of an orchestrated smear campaign. They added: “It’s not possible for this to have happened without the acknowledgement or understanding, perhaps a gentle nod or a wink, from someone pretty central or senior at the palace. “How could a junior member of staff have pulled this altogether? This was a clear collaboration. There is a motive and it is connected to Sunday.” One source noted: “There are very few people who would have had all of the information that is in this story.” The Duchess, while not denying that she did face bullying complaints, was said to be “devastated” by the revelations. Aides said that although there was no desire to deny how other people felt, the fact that former colleagues felt compelled to compile “a whole list of terrible things” that took place over two years, was understandably distressing. As furious briefings and counter briefings were made, a senior palace aide branded the allegation that Buckingham Palace had been “pedalling a wholly false narrative” as “untrue and disingenuous.” They said: “There are far more important things we have been focused on than the circus around a media interview.” The source pointed out that the leak did not reflect well on the palace, adding: “It made uncomfortable reading and we can’t deny that.” Questions were also being asked about palace employees being asked to sign non disclosure agreements. The atmosphere at Kensington Palace was said to be so "febrile" that the Cambridges chose to accelerate the planned split between the two households. One member of the Sussexes’ staff acknowledged that life at Kensington Palace at the time was “frantic” and “a bit of a pressure cooker”. In a statement released in response to the allegations, a spokesman for Meghan said: “The Duchess is saddened by this latest attack on her character, particularly as someone who has been the target of bullying herself and is deeply committed to supporting those who have experienced pain and trauma. "She is determined to continue her work building compassion around the world and will keep striving to set an example for doing what is right and doing what is good." The Duchess has vowed to donate the damages from her recent legal victory against the Mail on Sunday to an anti-bullying charity. The amount she will receive has not yet been decided but, in respect of the breach of copyright claim, will be linked to the newspaper’s “account of profits” made from the publication of extracts of a letter she wrote to her father, Thomas Markle. However, it will now create a dilemma for whichever charity is chosen as the recipient will be forced to decide whether it could accept the money from someone who had herself been the subject of such accusations.