Meghan, Duchess of Sussex 'saddened' by former aide's bullying claims

Who is Jason Knauf and what is his role in Buckingham Palace?

Knauf is said to have submitted bullying allegations against Meghan Markle in October 2018

Olivia Petter@oliviapetter1
Thursday 04 March 2021 07:59
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Jason Knauf is a name that few have heard before, but this week, the former press secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex has become one of the most talked-about people due to alleged claims of bullying made against Meghan Markle.

On Tuesday, The Times reported that Mr Knauf made a complaint against Meghan Markle, related to two personal assistants and a third member of staff whose confidence she is alleged to have undermined.

A spokesperson for the Sussexes has said that Meghan has been the victim of “a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation”.

They added that the duchess was “saddened by this latest attack on her character, particularly as someone who has been the target of bullying herself and is deeply committed to supporting those who have experienced pain and trauma”.

But who is Mr Knauf and what exactly has he accused Meghan of doing? Here’s everything you need to know.

Who is Jason Knauf?

Mr Knauf was the communications secretary for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the time when the allegations were reportedly made against her.

He took on the role of communications secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2015 before also taking on the same role for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex after they married in 2018.

One month after reporting the allegation, Mr Knauf handed in his notice, The Times reports.

However, he started a new job working as an adviser to the Duke of Cambridge in March 2019, after the royal households had split, with Harry and Meghan leaving Kensington Palace and moving to Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, while they set up their own office at Buckingham Palace.

Today, Mr Knauf is chief executive of the Cambridge’s Royal Foundation, which describes itself as “the primary philanthropic and charitable vehicle for The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge”.

Where else has he worked?

Prior to joining The Royal Household as communications secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Mr Knauf worked at the Royal Bank of Scotland as director of corporate affairs, according to his LinkedIn page.

He has also previously worked at HM Treasury as a senior press officer and at the government of New Zealand, where he worked as press secretary and speechwriter.

He graduated from Victoria University of Wellington with a BA in political science and international relations.

In 2009, he graduated from London School of Economics and Political Science with a masters degree in politics and communication.

What did Mr Knauf accuse Meghan of doing?

While the specificities of Mr Knauf’s complaint are not entirely clear, The Times claims that the former press secretary made the allegation in order to protect staff who he believed were “coming under pressure from the duchess”.

The publication reports the Knauf raised his concerns with Simon Case, the Duke of Cambridge’s then-private secretary and went on to speak to Samantha Carruthers, who was the head of HR based at Clarence House.

Mr Knauf is then said to have had a meeting with Prince Harry, who “begged him not to pursue” the complaint - however, the spokesperson for the Sussexes has denied that any such meeting took place.

Mr Knauf’s complaint never progressed.

*Names were withheld by The Times

The Independent has contacted Carruthers for comment.

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