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The Duchess of Sussex

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On Wednesday the Times published a story saying Meghan had allegedly driven two personal assistants out of the household and undermined the confidence of a third member of staff. They’re allegations that have prompted a response from Meghan’s spokesman saying that she is ‘saddened by the latest attack on her character’ and another, dispatched last night from Buckingham Palace, saying ‘our HR team will look into the circumstances outlined in the article’. So, who are the key figures who were close to the Sussexes at the time of the allegations?

  • Jason Knauf

    36-year-old Knauf was the communications secretary to both the Sussexes and the Cambridges at the time the allegations were made, thus he is at the very heart of the story. He is said to be the person who submitted the bullying allegations to the HR department in October 2018. It is claimed that Knauf emailed Prince William’s private secretary Simon Case (more below) after raising bullying concerns with Samantha Carruthers, the head of HR. Knauf took on the role of communications secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2015 before 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.

    Mr Knauf, who is today chief executive of the Royal Foundation, also verbally advised Meghan on the letter she wrote to her father that was at the centre of her privacy action against Associated Newspapers, publisher of the Mail on Sunday. Mr Knauf 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, according to his LinkedIn.

  • Simon Case

    Mr Case was briefly director of strategy at GCHQ before going on to work for the Duke of Cambridge as his private secretary. He was the claimed recipient of the alleged email from Jason Knauf, outlining bullying concerns at the top of the palace chain. Case, now 42, has more recently returned to government, first as permanent secretary in Downing Street to the PM and more recently as Cabinet Secretary, running Whitehall (the youngest ever person to take on the job). He’s been dubbed ‘the most important man in politics you’ve probably never heard of’.

  • Samantha Carruthers

    The HR director based at Clarence House who the email was allegedly brought to. Carruthers is an experienced human resources guru; she worked for De Beers and investment bank Lazard before joining the royals as Head of HR (where she worked between 2013 and 2019, according to her LinkedIn). She is now deputy chair of the board of trustees at Winston’s Wish, a childhood bereavement charity, where she has worked for nearly five years.

  • Melissa Toubati

    Toubati was the Duchess’s former PA and had previously worked for Robbie Williams’ wife Ayda Field and Madonna, according to the Daily Mail. She played a key role in preparations for Meghan and Harry’s wedding in May 2018, but left after six months. She reportedly now works for the Livingstone family, the owners of Cliveden House, the setting of the Profumo affair.

    Pictured: Ayda Field Williams, Nicole Scherzinger and Melissa Toubati

  • Samantha Cohen

    Formerly the Queen’s assistant private secretary, Samantha Cohen, a ‘well-liked but tough-talking’ Australian became the Sussexes’ private secretary but left for pastures new in 2019 after agreeing to help the couple temporarily until a permanent replacement was found. She was reportedly present at the Duchess of Sussex’s first official event alone with the Queen.

  • Amy Pickerill

    Pickerill worked at the Royal Bank of Scotland before joining the Royal Family as a senior communications officer for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex. She became assistant private secretary to the Duchess of Sussex in November 2017, according to her LinkedIn. When she left the job, the Telegraph reports that a Kensington Palace source said she would stay in touch with the Duchess and be on hand for any advice needed in the future. She became Director of External Affairs at Mental Health Innovation and since January last year she has been Director of The Earthshot Prize at the Royal Foundation.

  • Christian Jones

    Jones was the Duchess of Sussex’s Deputy Communications Secretary. He was well qualified for the job, working for nearly five-years at Her Majesty’s Treasury before becoming Chief Press Officer for the Chancellor of the Exchequer – who at that time, was George Osborne. He currently works as Communications Secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge but the Telegraph reports he is set to join private equity group Bridgepoint as a partner.

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