Uneasy truce as Prince Harry and Meghan keep schtum over bullying report

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have kept quiet about the controversial bullying report, after Buckingham Palace said the findings of an independent review would not be made public - Samir Hussein
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have kept quiet about the controversial bullying report, after Buckingham Palace said the findings of an independent review would not be made public - Samir Hussein

Buckingham Palace and the Sussexes appear to have called a public truce over a controversial bullying report, after its contents were kept secret from the public.

The Palace has blocked details of a report into the handling of bullying allegations made against the Duchess of Sussex in 2018, with its limited findings kept hidden from even those who contributed.

In response, the Duke and Duchess will make no public comment on the unresolved allegations, despite previously authorising the strongest of statements defending Meghan.

The unusual silence on either side has led to speculation that the Palace and Sussexes, who work closely with their lawyers, are both moving to downplay the long-running dispute.

Both sides are understood to be hopeful of drawing a line under the episode.

Those involved in the review, said to be around half a dozen one-time members of staff, have so far remained tight-lipped about the details of the Duchess’ alleged behaviour in 2018.

'We will not be commenting further'

On Thursday, a senior Palace source confirmed the findings of an independent review into how staff handled allegations of bullying made against the Duchess would not be made public.

Those who shared their experiences working for the Duchess of Sussex for the purposes of the report have been told only that the review has concluded and that internal “policies and procedures” would be changed as a result.

Most have now left the Royal Household, leaving them without access to the intranet on which they could see any updated bullying and harassment policies.

The limited findings are a significant about-turn from the original scope of the report.

In early 2021, when accusations about bullying came to light, a Palace source said they were very concerned and pledged to hold a privately-funded review to see if “lessons can be learnt”.

Any changes to human resources policy were supposed to be included in the Sovereign Grant Report, the annual Buckingham Palace financial review, this week. However, those changes did not materialise.

“The review has been completed and recommendations on our policies and procedures have been taken forward, but we will not be commenting further,” a senior source said at the launch of the report.

The Telegraph understands that the Duke and Duchess do not plan to issue a response to the news.

The decision is a stark contrast from when the allegations first came to light, when their team issued a stinging statement calling it a “calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation”.

Ahead of the Sussexes’ interview with Oprah Winfrey, the television presenter, they claimed: “It’s no coincidence that distorted several-year-old accusations aimed at undermining the Duchess are being briefed to the British media shortly before she and the Duke are due to speak openly and honestly about their experience of recent years.”

The allegations were made shortly before the Duke and Duchess' famous interview with Oprah Winfrey - Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese/Reuters
The allegations were made shortly before the Duke and Duchess' famous interview with Oprah Winfrey - Harpo Productions/Joe Pugliese/Reuters

Their silence will lead to hopes at the Palace of a cooling in tensions, following a broadly successful Platinum Jubilee visit.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have not yet shared details of their meetings with the Queen or the Prince of Wales while they were in the UK. They also fulfilled their promise of “sticking to the script” during the celebrations.

The Duke of Duchess of Sussex, seen here attending a thanksgiving service during the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, kept a low profile on their visit to Britain - Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
The Duke of Duchess of Sussex, seen here attending a thanksgiving service during the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, kept a low profile on their visit to Britain - Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The change in approach will inspire hope in royal circles that the Sussexes will continue to rein in their more outspoken criticism of their family in Britain and its staff.

They had previously made very clear their frustration with the “institution”, airing grievances about how they felt unsupported and silenced during their time in the working Royal family.

The Duke of Sussex is due to release his autobiography later this year, promising an “accurate and wholly truthful” account of his life to date.

They are also reported to be taking part in an at home-style documentary series for Netflix.