An examination into the handling of bullying allegations made against Meghan Markle — a claim she has strongly refuted — has seen HR policies improved for royal staff, but the changes have not been made public.
The report's findings will not be publicly disclosed, but recommendations have been incorporated into the policies and procedures at the palace, a senior palace aide said during a briefing on Wednesday.
All staffers and members of the royal family "will be aware of what the policies and procedures are," a royal source said.
New implementations include encouraging staff to be whistleblowers if they have complaints about "inappropriate" practices or actions, while a "concern at work" policy sets out how staffers have the ability to express a concern or "blow the whistle" on others within the royal household.
"It is not limiting in any way whatsoever — there is a procedure for how you would raise a concern," the source said, adding that there are also opportunities to raise issues through independent counselors "if that's appropriate."
Meghan and Harry Invictus Games
Chris Jackson/Getty Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
The review, which was set up by Buckingham Palace in March 2021, came in the wake of a report in The Times in the U.K. that claimed that the Duchess of Sussex faced a bullying complaint made by one of her close advisers during her time as a working royal at Kensington Palace — something she strongly refuted.
The complaint, which The Times reports was made in October 2018 by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's former communications secretary Jason Knauf, claimed that Meghan drove two personal assistants out of the household and undermined the confidence of a third staff member.
Immediately following the report in The Times, a spokesperson for Meghan said in a statement: "The Duchess is 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. She is determined to continue her work building compassion around the world and will keep striving to set an example for doing what is right and doing what is good."
A day later, the palace announced there would be an examination into the claims.
"We are clearly very concerned about allegations in The Times following claims made by former staff of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex," the palace said. "Accordingly, our HR team will look into the circumstances outlined in the article. Members of staff involved at the time, including those who have left the Household, will be invited to participate to see if lessons can be learned."
Karwai Tang/WireImage Meghan Markle
On Wednesday, a senior palace aide, Sir Michael Stevens, Keeper of the Privy Purse (a.k.a. the Queen's accountant), said that the review, which was funded privately, was complete.
"This work was undertaken privately and had no [taxpayers'] Sovereign Grant money spent on it," Stevens said during an annual briefing about the royal finances at Buckingham Palace. "I can confirm, though, that this was a review of the handling of the allegations aimed at enabling the royal households to consider potential improvements to HR policies and procedures."
"The review has been completed and recommendations on our policies and procedures have been taken forward but we will not be commenting further," he added.
It is thought that staff and former staff took part in the review, which was carried out by an independent law firm.
"The review included a wide range of individuals," a royal source said.
In November, Meghan's lawyer, Jenny Afia, addressed the bullying allegations in the BBC's The Princes and the Press documentary.
"This narrative that no one could work for the Duchess of Sussex, that she was too difficult or demanding a boss, and that everyone had to leave, is just not true," she said.