An investigation into Buckingham Palace into how it has dealt with allegations of bullying made by staff against the Duchess of Sussex will not be released due to “confidentiality obligations”, a senior palace source has said.
The independent review was announced in March 2021 to see what “lessons could be learned” after claims Meghan evicted two personal assistants and “humiliated” employees on multiple occasions.
At the time, the palace said any changes to policies or procedures recommended by the review, conducted by an independent law firm, would be published in the annual state allocation accounts.
However, the reports lack details and officials declined to comment other than to say changes had been made to the palace’s staffing policy as a result of the review. However, they have refused to identify the changes.
Sources would also not confirm whether the Duchess herself would have been interviewed as part of the trial. Meghan’s lawyers denied the allegations when they were made.
A senior Palace source said: “Personnel matters involving individuals are private and those who participated in the review did so on that basis and are therefore entitled to confidentiality in relation to the discussions that took place and what was said.”
The palace is not obliged to do so, it said, because the assessment is financed from its own funds and not from public funds from state funding.
The source denied the Palace had moved the goalposts and said the goals had been “achieved because the lessons were learned”. When asked if Meghan had been made aware of the report’s findings, the source added that people who took part in the review had been told it was complete, but added, “I won’t say , who participated.”
The reluctance to release the results could be an attempt not to further escalate tensions between the Sussexes and other members of the royal family, especially following the recent family reunion where Harry and Meghan flew to the UK with their children for the platinum anniversary: Archie, three; and Lilibet, one.
A royal source said the couple are now financially independent, which is a “great credit to them”. Prince Charles’ accounts show his bill for the activities of William and Harry and their families, along with other investment costs, which have fallen by £1.2million over two years, with the Sussexes no longer included in the accounts. The amount fell from £5.6million in 2019-20 when the Sussexes were still in the UK to £4.38million as Charles stopped funding them. But it didn’t detail what portion of that drop was solely due to the Sussexes’ departure as working royals.
Charles had a “very emotional” first meeting with his granddaughter Lilibet and a long-awaited reunion with grandson Archie during the anniversary. The source said of the Sussexes: “The Prince and Duchess [of Cornwall] were absolutely thrilled to see them.
“The prince obviously hasn’t seen his grandson Archie for a while so it was very special to spend some time with him. He hadn’t met Lili, his granddaughter, so it was very emotional to meet her. A very, very wonderful thing.”
There was little clarity in the accounts as to the Sussexes’ financial arrangements in relation to Frogmore Cottage. It was announced last year that the couple had repaid the £2.4million in government grants that were spent on refurbishing the property ahead of their wedding. A source said on Wednesday the £2.4million the couple repaid also covered their rental obligations for the property that remains their home in the UK. However, the source declined to comment on whether the Queen or Charles had or had contributed to rental or maintenance costs, saying only that nothing had been paid out of the sovereign grant.
The accounts showed that Charles’ annual private income from the Duchy of Cornwall was £23m. It rose by £2.6m, or nearly 13%, from £20.4m in 2020-21 as the duchy’s profits rebounded from the pandemic. He paid nearly £5.9million in taxes.
The government grant increased marginally by £400,000 to £86.3m in 2021-22. A core £51.8m funded the Queen’s official duties and her household, with a further £34.5m going to the ongoing 10-year Buckingham Palace reservations project.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s controversial trip to the Bahamas, Belize and Jamaica was the most expensive overseas trip at £226,383. Charles’ visit to Barbados to mark the country’s transition to a republic within the Commonwealth was the second most expensive at £138,457.