The royal family has been accused of practising “double standards” over its investigation into the bullying accusations against the Duchess of Sussex, with some comparing it to the palace’s handling of questions about Prince Andrew’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein.
It comes just a few days before the broadcast of a highly anticipated interview between Meghan and Harry and Oprah Winfrey, and after the palace announced that it would probe bullying claims levelled against the Duchess by former staffers.
The royal family did not publicly announce a probe into Prince Andrew’s friendship with the late Epstein after the latter was federally charged for sex trafficking minors in 2019.
Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of the alleged victims of Epstein’s sex trafficking ring, has claimed that Prince Andrew had sex with her three times, including once when she was 17 years old and therefore a minor under US law. Prince Andrew has categorically denied the claim.
“Why is there an investigation into this bullying but there’s not been an investigation into Prince Andrew and the allegations surrounding Jeffrey Epstein and the women who have made allegations?” asked Durant.
“Why hasn’t he been urged to cooperate with US authorities? Why were Prince Harry’s military honours stripped [after he stepped down as a working royal] but Prince Andrew’s haven’t been?”
Katie Nichol, Vanity Fair’s royal editor, told the BBC’s Today programme: “I am seeing an increasing division between the UK and the US now – many Americans are Team Meghan, and I think this does pose a big problem for the royal family, they are hugely popular in America.
“You hear a lot of Americans saying this is a takedown, why are you talking about earrings, why are you talking about an investigation into bullying, you should be talking about Prince Andrew. That’s concerning.”
Tensions between the Sussexes and the rest of the royal family have spilled over into the public since the first teaser trailers of their Oprah interview were released online. A spokesperson for the couple has suggested that the bullying investigation has been timed to undermine the US TV interview.
In one of the clips released so far, Meghan can be seen accusing the royal family of “perpetuating falsehoods” about her and Prince Harry, while referring to her in-laws as “The Firm”.
Harry and Meghan stepped down as working royals to pursue a new life in the US last year.
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