Palace investigating Meghan Markle, not Prince Andrew, proves 'double standard' by royal family: author

Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, announced in 2019 he was taking a 'step back' from public duties

EXCLUSIVE: One author believes the wrong royal is being investigated by Buckingham Palace.

On March 2, The U.K. Times alleged that Meghan Markle drove out two personal assistants and left staff feeling "humiliated" during her time as a working royal. The Duchess of Sussex's team strongly refuted the allegations

Then on March 3, Buckingham Palace said it was "clearly very concerned" about the allegations, and that the palace human resources team "will look into the circumstances outlined in the article" and would seek to speak to current and former staff.

Leslie Carroll, who chronicled Markle and Prince Harry’s romance in her 2018 book, "American Princess: The Love Story of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry," said all eyes should be on Prince Andrew instead.

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The U.K. Times reported several palace aides have accused Meghan Markle of bullying during her time as a working royal. A spokesperson for the Duchess of Sussex strongly refuted the claims and said the expecting mother is 'saddened' by the allegations.

The U.K. Times reported several palace aides have accused Meghan Markle of bullying during her time as a working royal. A spokesperson for the Duchess of Sussex strongly refuted the claims and said the expecting mother is 'saddened' by the allegations. (Getty)

She pointed out how Harry, 36, had to give up his honorary military titles when the palace announced the Duke and Duchess of Sussex won’t return as working royals. However, Andrew, who has been accused of having sex with one of Jeffrey Epstein’s victims, still has his titles.

"Andrew has been consistently coddled and protected by the palace while Harry has been hung out to dry," Carroll told Fox News. "Andrew, a friend of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, is an accused pedophile. What's Harry's crime? Harry moved his family out of an abusive and toxic situation to protect them."

"So we have Andrew -- who may have sexually abused a child, versus Harry, who is trying to protect his child," she shared. "And which prince does the queen strip of his honorary military titles and permit the press to attack?"

Carroll called the move a "double standard."

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The palace said Prince Harry’s appointment as captain general of the Royal Marines and titles with other military groups would revert to the queen before being distributed to other members of the family.

The palace said Prince Harry’s appointment as captain general of the Royal Marines and titles with other military groups would revert to the queen before being distributed to other members of the family. (AP)

"Harry, who stated numerous times that he stepped back from his royal duties to protect his wife and baby from a toxic environment, had his honorary military titles stripped from him and is not even permitted to wear those uniforms after 10 years of military service and literally risking his life in Afghanistan," Carroll explained.

"But Prince Andrew, who has been accused of pedophilia, remains under the queen’s protection and has not been stripped of his military titles," she claimed. "The prince who is protecting his child has been stripped of his military titles, while the prince who has been accused of sexually assaulting a child, gets to retain his titles. A double standard is being applied to Harry."

Prosecutors in New York have wanted to speak with Andrew for several months as part of their examination of allegations, made by several women, that some of Epstein’s staff and his girlfriend helped recruit him underage sex partners.

One of those women, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, also claimed Epstein arranged for her to have sex with several rich or notable men, including Andrew, 61. Giuffre said she had sex with the prince three times — in London and at Epstein’s New York mansion when she was 17 and in the U.S. Virgin Islands when she was about 18.

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Photo from 2001 that was included in court files shows Prince Andrew with his arm around the waist of 17-year-old Virginia Giuffre who says Jeffrey Epstein paid her to have sex with the prince. Andrew has denied the charges. In the background is Epstein's girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell.

Photo from 2001 that was included in court files shows Prince Andrew with his arm around the waist of 17-year-old Virginia Giuffre who says Jeffrey Epstein paid her to have sex with the prince. Andrew has denied the charges. In the background is Epstein's girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell. (U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals)

Ghislaine Maxwell, an alleged sex abuse accomplice, reportedly introduced Epstein to the Duke of York in 1999, The Telegraph reported.

In November 2019, Andrew, whose older brother Prince Charles is heir to the throne, denied those allegations but said he would "help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations if required." While he denied any wrongdoing, Andrew quit his public duties.

In June 2020, the prince’s lawyers said he had offered three times to give information to investigators, though on a condition that his statements be made confidential. The U.S. attorney in Manhattan at the time, Geoffrey S. Berman, countered that Andrew’s lawyers were misleading the public about his willingness to cooperate. 

U.S. prosecutors reportedly made a formal request through the British government to interview Andrew.

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Prince Andrew, The Duke Of York and Jeffrey Epstein (far right). Epstein was a wealth manager who hobnobbed with the rich, famous and influential, including presidents and the royal. 

Prince Andrew, The Duke Of York and Jeffrey Epstein (far right). Epstein was a wealth manager who hobnobbed with the rich, famous and influential, including presidents and the royal.  (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

Audrey Strauss, acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said she "would welcome Prince Andrew coming in to talk with us."

"We would like to have the benefit of his statement," Strauss said.

The U.S. Department of Justice and Strauss didn’t immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. In 2020, a spokesperson for the DOJ told Fox News: "As a matter of policy, the U.S. Department of Justice does not publicly comment on communications with foreign governments on investigative matters, including confirming or denying the very existence of such communications."

A rep for Andrew told Fox News they had no comment.

"I’m afraid we simply cannot comment on the legal process as any communications would be covered by the DOJ’s own confidentiality rules, which we have always observed," the spokesperson added.

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Many critics slammed Prince Andrew (right) for not only defending his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein (left) but for failing to show empathy for the convicted sex offender’s victims.

Many critics slammed Prince Andrew (right) for not only defending his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein (left) but for failing to show empathy for the convicted sex offender’s victims. (Getty)

Giuffre, now 37, has since founded Victims Refuse Silence, which aims to create an online community supporting victims of human trafficking. A rep didn’t immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

"Both Andrew and Harry were born princes by blood," said Carroll. "But it just goes to show the double standard as to how Harry and Meghan are treated with a double standard… The Sussexes continue to do considerable humanitarian work from home during the pandemic as well as venturing out into Los Angeles to be actively participating in certain endeavors where social distancing can be safely maintained."

During the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s televised interview with Oprah Winfrey that aired on Sunday, Markle claimed the British royal family tried to silence her and that people within the institution lied to protect other members.

"It was only once we were married and everything started to really worsen that I came to understand that not only was I not being protected but that they were willing to lie to protect other members of the family," explained the former American actress, who is expecting her second child with Harry.

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During the interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan Markle claimed other members of the British royal family were being protected.

During the interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan Markle claimed other members of the British royal family were being protected. (Reuters, AP)

"But they weren’t willing to tell the truth to protect me and my husband," Markle shared. "There’s the family, and then there’s the people that are running the institution, those are two separate things and it’s important to be able to compartmentalize that because the queen, for example, has always been wonderful to me."

Harry said the royal family cut him off financially at the start of 2020 after announcing plans to step back from his roles. But he was able to afford security for his family because of the money his mother, Princess Diana, left behind.

Markle married Queen Elizabeth II’s grandson at Windsor Castle in May 2018. Their son Archie was born a year later.

On Valentine’s Day, the couple confirmed to Fox News that they are expecting their second child.

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In January 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced they were taking 'a step back' as senior members of the British royal family.

In January 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced they were taking 'a step back' as senior members of the British royal family. (Reuters)

Markle and Harry stepped away from full-time royal life in March 2020, unhappy at media scrutiny and the strictures of their roles. They cited what they described as the intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media toward the duchess, who is African American.

It was agreed the situation would be reviewed after a year. On Feb. 19, Buckingham Palace confirmed that the couple will not be returning to royal duties and Harry will give up his honorary military titles — a decision that makes formal, and final, the couple’s split from the royal family.

The pair verified "they will not be returning as working members of the Royal Family. "

A spokesperson for the couple hit back at suggestions that Markle and Harry were not devoted to duty.

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex currently reside in California with their son Archie. During their interview with Oprah Winfrey, the couple announced they were expecting a girl.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex currently reside in California with their son Archie. During their interview with Oprah Winfrey, the couple announced they were expecting a girl. (Getty)

"As evidenced by their work over the past year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain committed to their duty and service to the U.K. and around the world, and have offered their continued support to the organizations they have represented regardless of official role," the spokesperson said in a statement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.