Revenge of the Sussex survivors’ club: The inside story of how a fairytale turned into a nightmare


It’s the one royal group that nobody needs to affix. Referred to solely half-jokingly because the ‘Sussex Survivors’ Membership’, its membership is unfortunately rising.

However its choose band of members have one factor in widespread: all have labored for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and lived to inform the story.

Joking apart, some even imagine they could have a type of post-traumatic stress, outlined by medical doctors as an nervousness dysfunction attributable to distressing or scary occasions.

Such experiences, after all, at the moment are extensively acknowledged to not be restricted to troopers who’ve undergone traumatic experiences on the battlefield, but additionally to folks at work.

Even when that work is in a palace.

And right now, many former palace employees look again on the second that Prince Harry launched to the world his stunning, clever and passionate bride-to-be as the start of one of the crucial traumatic intervals of their lives.

Allow us to be clear: Harry is a posh man however one with a powerful sense of pure justice and charity, given to acts of compassion and kindness.

‘He wears his coronary heart on his sleeve and genuinely needs to do good on the earth,’ one admirer tells me.

However he’s additionally equally succesful, say those that know him properly and like him, of behaving ‘like an absolute brat’.

Aides on the centre of palace intrigue

Melissa Touabti (right) is pictured with Robbie Williams' wife Ayda for whom she previously worked

Melissa Touabti (proper) is pictured with Robbie Williams’ spouse Ayda for whom she beforehand labored


Melissa Touabti, the duchess’s former private assistant, had beforehand labored for Robbie Williams and Madonna. She performed a key function in preparations for Meghan and Harry’s marriage ceremony in Might 2018, however give up after simply six months. The Frenchwoman, 41, took a job with the billionaire Livingstone household – homeowners of the stately house Cliveden. 



Jason Knauf joined the royals in 2014, having acted as a ‘disaster administration knowledgeable’ on the Royal Financial institution of Scotland. The 36- year-old American, who accomplished his grasp’s on the London College of Economics, served as communications secretary to the ‘Fab 4’ of William, Kate, Harry and Meghan earlier than the Cambridges and Sussexes created separate workplaces in March 2019. Mr Knauf now heads William and Kate’s charitable basis. 

THE AMERICAN SPIN DOCTOR: Jason Knauf (left) walks behind the couple at the Invictus Games in Toronto

THE AMERICAN SPIN DOCTOR: Jason Knauf (left) walks behind the couple on the Invictus Video games in Toronto 

Simon Case in Dundee in 2019

Simon Case in Dundee in 2019 


Simon Case turned the youngest head of the civil service for over a century when he took the publish on the tender age of 41.

The Cambridge historical past graduate – a famous fan of tweed fits and Barbour jackets – had beforehand been the principal personal secretary to successive Tory prime ministers, David Cameron and Theresa Might. He additionally labored at spying centre GCHQ as a ‘director of technique’.

His most up-to-date function earlier than turning into Cupboard Secretary final yr was serving as personal secretary to Prince William.


Previously the Queen’s assistant personal secretary, Samantha Cohen had deliberate to give up Buckingham Palace in 2018. As a substitute, she agreed to remain on and assist the duchess via her first months within the Royal Household. The popular however tough-talking Australian turned the Sussexes’ personal secretary, however left in 2019 to work for the environmental charity Cool Earth. 

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Queen Elizabeth II (accompanied by Samantha Cohen) attend a ceremony to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge on June 14, 2018 in Widnes, England

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Queen Elizabeth II (accompanied by Samantha Cohen) attend a ceremony to open the brand new Mersey Gateway Bridge on June 14, 2018 in Widnes, England 


Skilled human assets director Samantha Carruthers labored for De Beers and funding financial institution Lazard earlier than becoming a member of the royals. Head of HR for Prince Charles and Prince William till 2019, she is now deputy chairman of the board of trustees for baby bereavement charity Winston’s Want. 

Samantha Carruthers worked for De Beers and investment bank Lazard before joining the royal

Samantha Carruthers labored for De Beers and funding financial institution Lazard earlier than becoming a member of the royal 

It had been clear for years to anybody he got here into contact with that he wasn’t completely satisfied working with the palace equipment – or, significantly, the British media (typically understandably so).

He was, they are saying, all the time able to self-destructively ‘urgent the nuclear button’ on his royal life.

Meghan, they stress, was merely the catalyst.

However the outcome was extra poisonous, extra personally dangerous, than anybody may ever have imagined.

To start with, nonetheless, the ambiance at Kensington Palace was heady and thrilling.

Right here was a glamorous couple, clearly deeply in love. Meghan was the lacking piece of the jigsaw that poor, motherless Harry had been looking for all these years.

Famously she as soon as paid for an ice cream stand for her new employees at Kensington Palace, with the occasion later – shock! – being breathlessly revealed in Individuals, a ‘pro-Sussex’ American journal, because the ‘greatest day of labor, ever’.

Greater than that, they have been a pair decided to do good on a world stage – on the similar time sprinkling a little bit stardust on Britain’s ‘fusty’ outdated Royal Household.

And their small staff of loyal employees believed in them – till, that’s, the scales fell from their eyes.

Notoriously, inside a number of weeks of Meghan’s arrival in England and the announcement of the couple’s engagement in November 2017, phrase was leaking out concerning the couple’s ‘autocratic’ and ‘tough’ behaviour.

Often it slipped into print: that Meghan (a declare robustly sourced by the Mail) had refused to put on a hat on her first official engagement with the Queen in Chester, regardless of being strongly suggested it might be acceptable and respectful to take action.

Then got here the well-known row over which tiara she needed to put on to the couple’s marriage ceremony, leading to Harry publicly admonishing one of many Queen’s most senior members of employees, Angela Kelly: ‘What Meghan needs, Meghan will get.’

There have been additionally claims that the Duchess of Cambridge had informed Meghan she should not communicate to her employees so dismissively and that there was a lot friction at a pre-wedding bridesmaid becoming that Kate was left in tears.

The Instances has reported that the ‘febrile’ ambiance inside Kensington Palace noticed employees, occasionally, weeping. Two say they have been bullied by the duchess, a 3rd that they’d been ‘humiliated’ by her.

The paper quotes one aide, who was anticipating a confrontation with Meghan, as saying: ‘I am unable to cease shaking.’ At first, my sources inform me, Harry tried to maintain the peace, gently placating his spouse and quietly apologising to employees.

On one event described to me by a number of sources, he even gently admonished Meghan about the way in which she behaved with palace employees – a lot of whom work lengthy hours for comparatively little cash out of satisfaction for the establishment – after a very explosive encounter.

The main points are topic to conjecture (and have turn into one thing of a palace legend) however resulted in Harry talking to one among his shut safety officers, who confirmed his fiancee’s behaviour.

However because the weeks went on, the prince turned more and more hostile to his once-loyal aides.

Rebecca English with Prince Harry to learn about the work of his new charity Sentebale in Lesotho in 2006

Rebecca English with Prince Harry to be taught concerning the work of his new charity Sentebale in Lesotho in 2006

The Instances has claimed Harry knew of a criticism made by the couple’s former communications secretary, Jason Knauf, that Meghan had pushed two private assistants out of the family and was undermining the arrogance of a 3rd employees member. Harry is claimed to have had a gathering with Mr Knauf through which he begged him to not pursue it. The Sussexes deny this.

Additionally they describe the allegations as ‘outdated’, ‘distorted’ and aimed toward ‘undermining’ Meghan. It has been prompt by others that employees might have ‘misunderstood’ Meghan’s extra direct, American fashion. However I’ve personally witnessed multiple member of employees pushed to tears by the remedy they have been subjected to by the duke and duchess earlier than the couple acrimoniously give up as working royals.

One particular person sobbed down the telephone to me after a very harrowing day. They clearly felt emotionally damaged and will not address the strain they have been being subjected to.

Others have indicated to me they have been being requested to behave in a way they didn’t really feel professionally snug with, significantly of their dealings with the media. A number of aides have additionally informed me that Meghan particularly was excellent at ‘drawing’ employees into her confidence, flattering them as in the event that they have been the one particular person on the earth she may belief and asking them to assist her with numerous duties.

Usually these have been issues that have been far past the scope of their regular work – in a single case being instructed to make plans for her father Thomas to be flown from his house in Mexico earlier than the marriage and brought to a fully-stocked ‘protected home’ in LA for a number of days with the intention to idiot any ready media.

After which, when issues did not go to plan, the solar would not shine on them. It was made ‘horribly clear’ they have been out of favour.

Poisonous, hostile, distrustful, toxic: all phrases I’ve heard usually used over the previous few years to explain folks’s experiences working within the Sussexes’ family.

The Instances studies issues turned so dangerous that Mr Knauf, an skilled PR operator who lower his tooth defending the financial institution RBS on the peak of its monetary scandal, determined to place his strongly held considerations in writing.

He made clear in October 2018, little greater than six months after the couple married, that he believed the duchess had already pushed two members of employees out and one other was being focused.

‘I’m very involved that the duchess was capable of bully two PAs out of the family previously yr. The remedy of [redacted] was completely unacceptable,’ he wrote.

‘The duchess appears intent on all the time having somebody in her sights. She is bullying ‘Y’ and in search of to undermine her confidence. Now we have had report after report from individuals who have witnessed unacceptable behaviour in direction of Y.’

The Instances has chosen to not match incidents to particular person names, however the members of employees leaving the Sussexes’ employment have been all girls and all seasoned professionals. A well-placed supply mentioned: ‘[One woman’s] job was extremely pressurised and ultimately it turned an excessive amount of. She put up with quite a bit. Meghan put a number of calls for on her and it ended up along with her in tears.’ One member of employees, a seasoned skilled, was initially mentioned to have left on good phrases.

However I’ve since been informed that this common aide was deeply sad about her expertise working for the duchess and had been ‘determined’ to get out so long as she may professionally put a courageous face on it. Likewise a 3rd member of employees. Mr Knauf makes clear in his e-mail, as reported by The Instances, that he was additionally involved concerning the couple’s vastly skilled deputy personal secretary, Samantha Cohen. She had labored for the Queen for greater than 20 years and was personally persuaded by the monarch to remain on and assist the couple navigate their first few years of royal life.

He indicated that she was experiencing excessive stress and mentioned: ‘I questioned if the Family coverage on bullying and harassment applies to principals [the term used to refer to a member of the royal family].’

One supply tells me wryly, with an eye fixed to Meghan’s much-hyped championing of feminine empowerment: ‘Observe that everybody involved was a girl.’

One other provides: ‘Sam all the time made clear that it was like working for a few youngsters. They have been inconceivable and pushed her to the restrict. She was depressing.’

The Instances additionally makes reference to an incident throughout the couple’s tour to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga in 2018, which was a very tough one for all involved, Meghan included. She was, after all, pregnant on the time.

The newspaper studies how Meghan lower brief a go to to a market in Fiji as a result of she was involved concerning the presence of a UN organisation selling girls, with which she had labored earlier than and made clear she not wished to have something to do with.

On the time officers had prompt that it was as a result of it was humid and the gang was oppressive available in the market.

I used to be there on the time and witnessed Meghan flip and ‘hiss’ at a member of her entourage, clearly incandescent with rage about one thing, and demand to depart.

I later noticed that very same – feminine – extremely distressed member of employees sitting in an official automobile, with tears operating down her face. Our eyes met and he or she lowered hers, humiliation etched on her options.

On the time I used to be unable to doc something as I could not conclusively hyperlink the 2 incidents collectively, regardless of my suspicions. I’ve subsequently discovered from different sources that my instincts have been proper.

It needs to be burdened that attorneys for the duchess mentioned she met different leaders from UN Ladies in a while the tour and denied she left for the rationale alleged.

So why has this all come out now, you would possibly ask?

The Instances makes clear that these aides have ‘hit again’ earlier than Meghan’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey this Sunday.

The newspaper says it was approached by sources as a result of they felt ‘solely a partial model had emerged of Meghan’s two years as a working member of the royal household and so they wished to inform their facet’.

They have been additionally involved at how such issues have been dealt with by the palace.

One supply put it extra succinctly to me yesterday. ‘These involved are fed up with the sheer hypocrisy of all of it. The suggestion that they [the Sussexes] have been being bullied and compelled out when others have been experiencing that very remedy at their palms!’ exclaimed the supply.

One other insider informed me they believed some employees had even sought psychological remedy over their experiences – one thing that Harry, who moved the nation when he revealed how he had himself sought skilled assist to deal with the emotional fall-out over his mom’s dying and has lengthy campaigned on psychological well being points, ought to know all about.

‘Individuals have been damaged by this, genuinely so. Completely traumatised,’ I’m informed.

Attorneys for the duchess say she wished to slot in and be accepted and had left her life in North America to decide to her new function.

What a tragic, sorry mess.

The irony, one other supply says, is that nobody needed a battle. However the Sussexes have waged this warfare and sufficient is sufficient.

These aides who’ve damaged the royal omerta say they refuse to take a seat by and watch Harry and Meghan’s ‘duplicitous’ behaviour, particularly when ‘good folks and good professionals’ are having their reputations unfairly traduced. One supply warns: ‘The royals can not combat again. ‘By no means complain, by no means clarify.’ However they will.’

A spokesman for the Sussexes has informed The Instances that they’re the victims of a ‘calculated smear marketing campaign based mostly on deceptive and dangerous data’.

They’ve mentioned the duchess is ‘saddened by this newest assault on her character, significantly as somebody who has been the goal of bullying herself and is deeply dedicated to supporting those that have skilled ache and trauma.’

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here