Prince William 'fell out with Harry over Meghan bullying accusations'

·Royal Correspondent
TOPSHOT - Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, arrives with his best man Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, at the West Door of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, on May 19, 2018 for his wedding ceremony to marry US actress Meghan Markle. (Photo by Ben Birchall / POOL / AFP)        (Photo credit should read BEN BIRCHALL/AFP via Getty Images)
Prince Harrry and William at Windsor ahead of Harry's wedding in 2018. (Ben Birchall/AFP)

Prince William "went ballistic" when he heard about bullying allegations made against Meghan Markle by staff at Kensington Palace, a royal author has said.

Robert Lacey, who wrote Battle of Brothers, has traced the rift between the brothers to a row between Harry and William after Meghan was accused of bullying in the royal household - something she has denied.

In a new extract of his book, ahead of its release in paperback, Lacey spoke to a friend of Prince William who recounted how the future king reacted when Jason Knauf presented a "dossier" of complaints about Meghan from palace aides.

Allegations of bullying surfaced in The Times in March, just before Harry and Meghan's interview with Oprah Winfrey aired in the US.

Meghan's team dismissed them as a "smear campaign". Yahoo UK contacted her team for a comment. 

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales attend the Commonwealth Day Service 2020 on March 9, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Phil Harris - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Harry, Meghan, William and Kate at the Commonwealth Day Service 2020 in London, the last time the four royals were together. (Phil Harris - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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In the Winfrey interview, Harry said the tone in the royal household he shared with William changed after their successful Australia and New Zealand tour in autumn 2018, comparing Meghan to Diana, and her star quality, suggesting there was jealousy.

But Lacey has indicated the issue that split the household stemmed from the row the brothers had after Knauf, a long-term staff member of William and Kate's, revealed the complaints.

Lacey's book said: "Knauf described Meghan’s treatment of one aide as 'totally unacceptable . . . the duchess seems intent', he wrote, 'on always having someone in her sights'. Specifying another staff member, Knauf alleged Meghan had been bullying her as well, 'seeking to undermine her confidence'. His office had received 'report after report', he wrote, from people who had witnessed 'unacceptable behaviour' by Meghan towards this member of staff."

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He continued: "Prince William went ballistic when he heard the 'dossier of distress' that Knauf had gathered. We do not know whether the communications secretary brought his allegations directly to his boss or submitted them via Simon Case. What we do know is that the prince was astonished and horrified. He was instantly furious at what he heard."

Lacey said William's friend recalled how the prince called his brother as soon as he read the so-called dossier of complaints, and Harry "flared up in furious defence of his wife", before he "shut off his phone angrily".

Lacey also claims William felt Meghan was "following a plan" and said Kate was "wary of her from the start".

The result of the row was that William "threw Harry out" of the joint household they had set up together in 2009, under the banner of Kensington Palace.

ROTORUA, NEW ZEALAND - OCTOBER 31:  (UK OUT FOR 28 DAYS) Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit Redwoods Tree Walk on October 31, 2018 in Rotorua, New Zealand. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are on their official 16-day Autumn tour visiting cities in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand.  (Photo by Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Harry had suggested in the Winfrey interview that it was their 2018 trip to New Zealand and Australia that changed things for the couple. (Samir Hussein/WireImage)

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Harry and Meghan moved to Windsor, and split their household, choosing the moniker of Sussex Royal.

Meghan's team hotly contested the suggestion she was a bully, questioning the timing of the allegations when they emerged shortly before their tell-all interview with Winfrey.

The latest extract of the Lacey book comes before her first interview as an author, to be given on Father's Day on NPR Weekend, as she discusses her book The Bench.

Meghan and Harry stepped back from royal work in March 2020, moving to California where they have subsequently set up Archewell, and signed deals with Spotify and Netflix.

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