A Buckingham Palace inquiry into the handling of staff bullying allegations against the Duchess of Sussex will not be published due to “confidentiality obligations”, a senior palace source said.
The independent review was announced in March 2021 to see what “lessons can be learned” after Meghan reportedly ousted two personal assistants and “humiliated” employees on several occasions.
At the time, the palace said any changes to policies or procedures recommended by the review, which was conducted by an independent law firm, would be published in the annual sovereign grant accounts.
But there are no details in the accounts and officials have declined to comment, except to say changes have been made to the palace’s HR policies as a result of the review. However, they have declined to identify the changes.
Nor would sources confirm whether the Duchess herself was interviewed as part of the trial. Meghan’s lawyers denied the allegations when they were voiced.
A senior palace source said: “HR matters involving individuals are private and the individuals who participated in the review did so on that basis, and are therefore entitled to confidentiality regarding the discussions that took place and what was said.”
The palace was not required, it said, because the revision was financed internally and not with public money from the sovereign grant.
The source denied that the palace moved the goalposts, saying the objectives have been “met because lessons have been learned”. Asked if Meghan had been made aware of the report’s findings, the source added that those taking part in the assessment had been told it was closed, but added: “I’m not going to say who participated. “
The reluctance to make the results public may be an attempt not to further heighten tensions between the Sussexes and other members of the royal family, especially after the recent family reunion where Harry and Meghan flew to the UK for the platinum anniversary with their children: Archie, three; and Lilibet, one.
A royal source said the couple were now financially independent, which was a “great credit to them”. Prince Charles’ accounts show that his bill for the activities of William and Harry and their families, along with other investment costs, has fallen by £1.2 million in two years, with the Sussexes no longer being mentioned in the accounts. The amount fell from £5.6m in 2019-20, when the Sussexes were still in the UK, to £4.38m as Charles was no longer financing them. But it’s not detailed what part of that decline was solely due to the departure of the Sussexes as working royals.
Charles had a “very emotional” first meeting with granddaughter Lilibet, and a much anticipated 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 in a while so it was very, very special to have 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 of the Sussex’s financial arrangements in relation to Frogmore Cottage. Last year it was announced that the couple had repaid the £2.4 million in sovereign grant money spent on refurbishing the property prior to their wedding. A source said on Wednesday that the £2.4m paid back by the couple also covers their lease obligations on the property, which remains their UK home. But the source declined to comment on whether the Queen or Charles were or contributed to rent or maintenance costs, saying only that nothing had been paid out of the sovereign grant.
The year’s financial statements showed that Charles’ private annual income from the Duchy of Cornwall was £23 million. It rose by £2.6m, or nearly 13%, from £20.4m in 2020-21, as the duchy’s profits recovered after the pandemic. He paid nearly £5.9 million in taxes.
The sovereign grant increased marginally by £400,000 to £86.3m in 2021-22. A £51.8 million core fund will fund the Queen’s official duties and her household, and an additional £34.5 million went into the ongoing 10-year Buckingham Palace reservation project.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s controversial tour of the Bahamas, Belize and Jamaica was the most expensive overseas trip at £226,383. Charles’s visit to Barbados to mark the country’s transition to a Commonwealth republic was the second most expensive at £138,457.