Britain's Prince William, left, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, second left, Meghan Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, right. (AP PhotoFrank Augstein)
Britain's Prince William, left, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, second left, Meghan Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, right. (AP PhotoFrank Augstein)

Harry and William to 'split Palace staff' soon

By IAN GALLAGHER Time of article published Feb 19, 2019

Share this article:

Prince William and Prince Harry are expected to divide their shared household in the next few weeks to help ease tensions between them and their wives.

Courtiers have also suggested that the ending of their ‘double act’ and the creation of separate courts reflects their changing responsibilities.

It is understood the key split will be in their communications team. In recent months, the Palace has struggled to contain a tide of negative Meghan headlines, with aides understood to be frustrated that their advice would occasionally fall on deaf ears.

Foremost among the troubling stories was the supposed froideur between the Duchess and her sister-in-law Kate. Meghan has been accused of reducing Kate to tears at a bridesmaid dress fitting before the Royal Wedding.

And it was claimed that Meghan – who is expecting her first child in April or May – was dictatorial towards Palace staff, earning her the nickname Duchess Difficult.

Strains were also said to exist between the brothers themselves. It is hoped that by no longer working so closely these tensions will evaporate. At present, 37-year-old US PR guru Jason Knauf advises both couples on media relations.

Last night, he denied that he will now concentrate only on William and Kate, leaving his deputy, Christian Jones, who was pictured leaving a restaurant with Meghan last week, to focus on the Sussexes.

But sources told the MoS that Mr Knauf was dismayed by the recent controversy over a US magazine interview in which Meghan’s closest friends ‘set the record straight’ over her troubled relationship with her father Thomas Markle.

Their interview – thought to have been tacitly approved by the Duchess – was considered a PR own goal and, as this newspaper revealed last week, prompted Mr Markle to release a devastating handwritten letter from his daughter.

Mr Knauf is not thought to have known about the article until shortly before publication. He joined the Palace in 2015 as William, Kate and Harry’s communications secretary. He had been head of media relations at RBS.

It was felt Meghan had adopted a high-risk strategy in apparently sanctioning her friends’ interview. Comparisons were made to the way Princess Diana kept her closest aides in the dark over her incendiary Panorama interview in 1995 which led to the resignation of her principal adviser.

Mr Markle last week described the letter from Meghan as being not the ‘olive branch’ he hoped for but a ‘dagger to the heart’.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will shortly move from Kensington Palace in London to Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor estate.

William and Harry first broke away from Prince Charles’s court at Clarence House in 2009, creating their own private office, originally based at St James’s Palace. But courtiers say that now William has his own family – and Harry and Meghan are expecting – they need separate teams to help them forge their own styles.

It is clearly hoped however that a parting of the ways will also end the perceived rivalry between the two couples.

As well as her rift with Kate, there were claims Meghan rowed with Buckingham Palace staff over the tiara she was lent by the Queen for her wedding. And she was said to have been critical of the ‘musty’ smell in St George’s Chapel, Windsor.

A string of aides have quit working for the Duchess recently and, last month, Meghan’s armed Scotland Yard bodyguard announced she too was quitting. A Royal source denied any personality clash with Meghan.

However, it was reported that the desire of the former actress to be seen as ‘one of the people’ has presented challenges to her protection team.

Meghan’s personal assistant Melissa Touabti departed Kensington Palace last year after six months in the role.

In addition, Harry and Meghan’s private secretary Samantha Cohen is set to leave after 17 years with the Royal Family, although her role with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is on a temporary basis.

Daily Mail

© Mail On Sunday

Share this article: