Prince Harry, Meghan Markle’s former team call themselves the ‘Sussex Survivors Club,’ book claims
Ex-staffers for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex claim Meghan had been planning her royal exit from the beginning, the author says
Former staffers who worked on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s team before they stepped down as senior royals in 2020 called themselves the "Sussex Survivors Club" because of the difficulties in dealing with them, according to an excerpt from a new book.
The duchess was also called a "narcissistic sociopath" by her team behind her back, Sunday Times royal reporter Valentine Low writes in his book "In Courtiers: the Hidden Power Behind the Crown" to be released next month, citing sources.
In one specific instance, Low writes that Kensington Palace was in a "panic" after Meghan abruptly left a planned 15-minute meeting at a marketplace in Fiji in 2018 for a project to help women that was run by the group UN Women.
The palace initially said Meghan left after only eight minutes for security reasons, then claimed it was because of "crowd management issues," but it later emerged Meghan didn’t want to be associated with UN Women branding, according to Low.
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"I can’t believe I’ve been put in this situation," Meghan reportedly complained to an aide before leaving, prompting a staffer to call her "nuts" and the situation "insane."
The duchess was seen moments later in a car crying.
Low writes that the palace had to assure Scotland Yard that Meghan had proper protection while on the trip through the South Pacific after reports came out about her being rushed from the marketplace.
The author noted it wasn’t clear why Meghan wouldn’t want to be associated with UN Women and her lawyers have denied that claim.
"This is completely false," representatives for Meghan told the Times last year. "The duchess is a keen supporter of UN Women and has never objected to their branding. The only reason the duchess was evacuated from the event was due to safety concerns. This was a decision made by her head of security . . . [she] met with other leaders from UN Women later in the South Pacific tour."
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Meghan told Oprah last year that she felt suicidal in the first years of her marriage but wasn’t supported by the staff at the palace through her depression. But Low claims that many who worked for her wanted to help but soon felt "even her most heartfelt pleas for help were part of a deliberate strategy" to leave royal life.
Those staffers felt she wanted to be able to say "Look how they failed to support me," Low writes.
In one example, Meghan told Oprah she went to the head of human resources at the palace for help but was turned away.
Low writes: "This was inevitable: HR is there to deal with employee issues, not members of the royal family. Meghan would presumably have known that, so what was she doing there? Laying a trail of evidence, would be the cynical answer."
A former staff member claimed to Low that Meghan wanted to drive the narrative that she was being "rejected" by the palace.
"Everyone knew that the institution would be judged by her happiness," the staff member told Low. "The mistake they made was thinking that she wanted to be happy. She wanted to be rejected, because she was obsessed with that narrative from day one."
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Low writes that some staffers believe the former actress wanted to leave the palace so she could move back to the U.S. and start earning money again.
Since leaving the U.K. and settling in California, the couple have started the production company Archewell, inked a Netflix deal and more recently Meghan has started her own popular podcast "Archetypes."
Staffers allege that they were "played" by the duchess and that no one knew what to do with her alleged bullying. "When someone decides not to be civil, they have no idea what to do," a source said, according to Low. "They were run over by her, and then run over by Harry."
There was a mutual dislike between two senior aides and Meghan and Harry, who the duchess saw as "bureaucratic." A source claimed Harry "used to send them horrible emails. So rude."
Finally, in January 2020, two months after the couple left for a holiday in Canada, staffers said they felt "played" by Meghan because almost none of them had been told the two had planned to leave for good in November.
Low writes that Meghan's nanny didn't even know the two had left the country until they were in the air.
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"Shortly before the end of the year, Meghan confided in a member of her staff that the couple were not coming back," Low writes. "The rest of the team did not find out until they held a meeting at Buckingham Palace at the beginning of January 2020. They found it hard to accept they were being dumped just like that. Some of them were in tears. ‘It was a very loyal team,’ said one."
The couple returned to the U.K. in June for Queen Elizabeth II's platinum jubilee, during which they mostly kept away from the rest of the royal family. They last returned this month for several charitable events, then stayed after the queen's death on Sept. 8.
Harry and Meghan appeared outside of Windsor Castle with Prince William and Kate Middleton in a show of togetherness two days after the queen died.