UK royal family will not release Meghan Markle bullying report

Details were released in annual briefing on royal family's finances

Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, on June 3 at Westminster Cathedral for the queen's jubilee service. AFP.
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The details of an investigation into allegations made by royal family staff about Prince Harry's wife Meghan bullying them will not be published despite them leading to reform in the palace's administration, a senior family source said.

Buckingham Palace launched an investigation last year and gathered testimony from staff about their experiences of working for the Duchess of Sussex, before she and husband Prince Harry quit royal duties in January 2020.

During a briefing on the annual royal finances report, published on Thursday, a senior palace source said the details would remain hidden to protect the privacy of those who took part.

"Because of the confidentiality of the discussions we have not communicated the detailed recommendations," they said.

"The recommendations have been incorporated within policies and procedures wherever appropriate, and policies and procedures have changed."

The couple shocked the royal family when they accused unidentified members of racism during an interview with US talk show star Oprah Winfrey.

The Duchess of Sussex denied the bullying allegations, which emerged in March 2021 just before the Oprah interview, and called them "a calculated smear campaign".

Relations between Prince Harry and his father Prince Charles have reportedly been strained, but a royal source said he had a "very emotional" first meeting with his granddaughter Lilibet this month.

Prince Harry and Meghan were low-key attendees at the queen's platinum jubilee celebrations, flying in from California with their children Lili, 1, and Archie, 3.

Prince Charles's charitable foundation is under investigation for an alleged cash-for-honours scandal.

Last weekend it was reported that Prince Charles had accepted £2.5 million ($3m) in charitable donations from Qatari former prime minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim in carrier bags and holdalls.

Britain celebrated Queen Elizabeth II's platinum jubilee last month. AFP.

The royal source said at the Wednesday briefing that the cash was "passed immediately to his charities".

"For more than half a decade, with the situation as it has evolved, this has not happened and it would not happen again," the source said.

The briefing was held as the family released its 2021-2022 report on the Sovereign Grant, which pays for the monarch's official duties and upkeep of royal palaces.

The report showed the pandemic was still curtailing the family's earning power, with income below 50 per cent of pre-coronavirus levels as public visits to palaces took a hit.

Keeper of the Privy Purse Michael Stevens warned that the family finances were also likely to be squeezed by rising prices.

"Looking ahead, with the Sovereign Grant likely to be flat in the next couple of years, inflationary pressures on operating costs and our ability to grow supplementary income are likely to be constrained in the short term," Mr Stevens said.

"We will continue to deliver against our plans and manage these impacts through our own efforts and efficiencies."

The grant came to £86.3m in the financial year ending in March 2021, a slight rise from the year before.

The figure is made up of a core grant of £51.8m, which funds official travel, property maintenance and the operating costs of the queen's household, and another £34.5m for reservicing Buckingham Palace.

The grant is set as equal to 15 per cent of the profits of the Crown Estate, which is a huge portfolio of land, property and other assets such as windfarms, that belongs to the ruling monarch but is independently managed.

The Crown Estate's net income is handed to the Treasury under an agreement sealed in 1760.

Updated: June 30, 2022, 12:29 AM
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