Kate and William’s aide who accused Meghan Markle of bullying QUITS after claiming Duchess of Sussex forced out at least two staff members
- Jason Knauf was communications secretary to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
- Prince William and Kate Middleton praise him today as ‘integral part of our team’
- He is said to have reluctantly quit because husband has taken up a job overseas
- Earlier this year, he was at the centre of claims Meghan had bullied palace staff
- He made a formal complaint about her behaviour that prompted internal inquiry
A royal aide who accused Meghan Meghan of bullying will quit as chief executive of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Royal Foundation at the end of this year.
Jason Knauf, former communications secretary to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, was today praised by Prince William and Kate as an ‘integral part of our team’.
Mr Knauf, who will have spent seven years working for the royals, is thought to have reluctantly quit because his husband has taken up a diplomatic position overseas.
Earlier this year, he was at the centre of claims that Meghan had bullied palace staff, and made a formal complaint about her behaviour that prompted an internal inquiry.
Mr Knauf alleged that Meghan bullied several female members of their team, forcing at least two to quit, with The Times newspaper revealing the claims in early March.
This prompted Buckingham Palace to launch an inquiry, but a spokesman for Harry and Meghan denied the claims, calling them a ‘calculated smear campaign’.
Royal Foundation chairman Jason Knauf, the former communications secretary to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, attends the couple’s wedding at Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018
Harry was said to have known of the complaint made by Mr Knauf and have had a meeting with him in which he begged him not to pursue it. The Sussexes deny this.
Mr Knauf, who said today that working for the Cambridges had been the ‘privilege of my career’, joined Kensington Palace as communications secretary in February 2015.
He then led a review of the foundation from March 2019, three months before Harry and Meghan split from it, before becoming chief executive that September.
Today, Mr Knauf said: ‘Working with The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge has been the privilege of my career. I will always be grateful for the opportunity I have had to support their leadership in the UK and internationally.
‘The months ahead will be the busiest time in the Foundation’s history with the first awards for The Earthshot Prize and more progress on our early childhood work. We have a lot to do with our amazing team and all of our partners.’
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex during a visit to Canada House in London on January 7, 2020
And William and Kate said in a joint statement: ‘Jason has been an integral part of our team since 2015. We are immensely grateful for his hard work and commitment, both at the Royal Foundation and previously as our Communications Secretary.
‘Since taking over as chief executive, Jason has driven positive change, making our vision for our charitable work and the causes that matter most to us a reality.
‘We are sad to see him go but wish him all the very best in his future career. We look forward to launching the recruitment search shortly and welcoming a new chief executive later on this year.’
While leading the foundation, Mr Knauf has overseen the development and launch of the Earthshot Prize, which asks people to find solutions to help the environment.
He has also been involved in the development of Kate’s growing work on early childhood, and steered the foundation’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Prince William and Kate are pictured together at Kensington Palace in London last month
This included establishing a response fund which saw £1.8million granted to causes supporting frontline workers and the mental health needs of Britain in August 2019.
Lord Hague, chair of the Royal Foundation, said: ‘The Royal Foundation has benefited significantly from Jason’s leadership over the past two years.
‘Working with The Duke and Duchess and the rest of the Foundation team, he has delivered impact on the issues that their Royal Highnesses care most about while steering the organisation through the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuring that support reaches those who have been most affected.
‘I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Jason and wish him well in the future. As the search for a new chief executive begins, I am looking forward to continuing to build on the inspiring work that has been done over recent years.’
A foundation spokesman said: ‘The process for recruiting a new chief executive will begin in the coming weeks and Jason’s successor will be announced in due course.
‘Jason will remain in post until the end of 2021 before a planned international relocation that has necessitated his decision to stand down.’
Royal aides at the centre of palace intrigue over Meghan ‘bully’ claims
Melissa Touabti (right) is pictured with Robbie Williams’ wife Ayda for whom she previously worked
PA WHO QUIT AFTER WEDDING:
Melissa Touabti, the duchess’s former personal assistant, had previously worked for Robbie Williams and Madonna.
She played a key role in preparations for Meghan and Harry’s wedding in May 2018, but quit after just six months.
The Frenchwoman, 41, took a job with the billionaire Livingstone family – owners of the stately home Cliveden.
THE WHIZ-KID WHO RUNS WHITEHALL:
Simon Case in Dundee in 2019
Simon Case became the youngest head of the civil service for over a century when he took the post at the tender age of 41.
The Cambridge history graduate – a noted fan of tweed suits and Barbour jackets – had previously been the principal private secretary to successive Tory prime ministers, David Cameron and Theresa May. He also worked at spying centre GCHQ as a ‘director of strategy’.
His most recent role before becoming Cabinet Secretary last year was serving as private secretary to Prince William.
THE TOUGH TALKING AUSTRALIAN:
Formerly the Queen’s assistant private secretary, Samantha Cohen had planned to quit Buckingham Palace in 2018. Instead, she agreed to stay on and help the duchess through her first months in the Royal Family.
The well-liked but tough-talking Australian became the Sussexes’ private secretary, but left in 2019 to work for the environmental charity Cool Earth.
Meghan and Queen Elizabeth II (accompanied by Samantha Cohen) attend a ceremony to open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge on June 14, 2018 in Widnes
Samantha Carruthers worked for De Beers and Lazard before joining the royal
THE PRINCES’ HR HEAD HONCHO
Experienced human resources director Samantha Carruthers worked for De Beers and investment bank Lazard before joining the royals.
Head of HR for Prince Charles and Prince William until 2019, she is now deputy chairman of the board of trustees for child bereavement charity Winston’s Wish.
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