The Queen believed that Harry and Meghan would name their daughter Elizabeth – not Lilibet – after a phone call with the Duke of Sussex and was taken aback when their choice was revealed, a friend and interior designer to the royals has claimed.
Socialite Nicky Haslam, whose royal pals include everyone from the Duchess of Cornwall to Prince Michael of Kent, made the incredible claim on a recent podcast where she insisted the Sussexes should have named her Doria.
Ms Haslam alleged that the Queen had been under the impression that the child, who was born last June, would be named Elizabeth — and was surprised to discover that the couple had, in fact, called her Lilibet.
He said: ‘I heard he [Harry] rang her and said: “We want to call our daughter after you, Granny”. She said: “How charming of you, thank you”, thinking that it would be Elizabeth. So they got the permission, but they didn’t say the name.’
Speaking on The Third Act podcast, Ms Haslam goes on to question why Harry and Meghan didn’t name the baby after the American former actress’s mother instead.
‘Why on earth didn’t they call that baby Doria?’ he asked, adding: ‘It’s the prettiest name ever.’
Interior designer Nicky Haslam claims the Queen (pictured together in 2012) had been under the impression that the child, who was born last June, would be named Elizabeth — and was taken aback to discover that the couple had, in fact, called her Lilibet
Mystery has surrounded the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s decision to call their daughter Lilibet since the BBC’s royal correspondent, Jonny Dymond, claimed last year that they did not ask the Queen if they could use her family pet name. It led to a furious denial from the Sussexes
The Prince of Wales, known as the Duke of Rothesay when in Scotland and Queen Elizabeth II attending the Queen’s Body Guard for Scotland in the gardens of the Palace of Holyroodhouse yesterday
A spokesman for the Sussexes did not comment, more than three days after the Daily Mail asked them about Haslam’s claims.
Nicky Haslam pondered: ‘Why on earth didn’t they call that baby Doria?’ he asked, adding: ‘It’s the prettiest name ever’
Mystery has surrounded the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s decision to call their daughter Lilibet since the BBC’s royal correspondent, Jonny Dymond, claimed last year that they did not ask the Queen if they could use her family pet name.
In response, Prince Harry and Meghan launched an unprecedented legal attack on the BBC, saying the story was ‘false and defamatory’.
Their spokesman said: ‘The Duke spoke with his family in advance of the announcement — in fact, his grandmother was the first family member he called.
‘During that conversation, he shared their hope of naming their daughter Lilibet in her honour.
‘Had she not been supportive, they would not have used the name.’
Now, Ms Haslam, a friend of the royals has added to the mystery of what they did or didn’t say in their telephone conversation with the monarch.
Lilibet has important sentimental connotations for the Queen because it was the name used in private for her by her father, George VI, and by her late husband, Prince Philip.
Buckingham Palace’s decision not to publish the bombshell investigation into allegations of bullying by Meghan Markle is an ‘olive branch’ to the Sussexes, a royal expert told MailOnline yesterday.
Nicky Haslam speaks with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall during the Oldie Of The Year Awards 2021 at The Savoy Hotel
Buckingham Palace has effectively buried a report into allegations of bullying by the Duchess of Sussex (seen with Harry at Kensington Palace). She denies the claims
In a statement in March 2021, Buckingham Palace announced a formal probe into the allegations
Commentator and author Richard Fitzwilliams has claimed the royal household may hope that the couple could ‘reciprocate in kind’ when it comes to Harry’s upcoming memoirs and rumours of another sit-down with Oprah Winfrey.
The Queen’s aides today confirmed Buckingham Palace had ‘revised’ its HR policies in the wake of the probe – but will not release the final report – as one royal insider claimed: ‘The household seems to be terrified of upsetting or provoking Harry and Meghan’.
Mr Fitzwilliams claims that publishing the findings would have had an ‘incendiary’ impact on the already strained relations between the households in London and LA – and may even have led to a legal challenge.
He said: ‘The Palace, faced with the possibility of a memoir by Harry later this year and who knows what else if the Sussexes, as budding philanthropists, were antagonised, has simply closed it down. This is obviously an olive branch to the Sussexes too’.
And amid claims it will cause anguish for the aides who claimed they were bullied, he added: ‘This is not a monument to transparency and those involved may well feel hard done by, especially considering the allegations that Meghan ill-treated staff’.
The Queen announced the probe last year after sensational claims emerged 15 months ago following complaints by staff during a ‘toxic period’ before the couple emigrated in early 2020.
‘Broken’ royal aides told of feeling humiliated, ‘sick’, ‘terrified’, left ‘shaking’ with fear, and being reduced to tears. Meghan was accused of having inflicted ’emotional cruelty’ on her staff and ‘drove them out’. One branded the Sussexes ‘outrageous bullies’.
The palace employees who spoke out claimed to The Times last year that there had been a litany of alleged ’emotional cruelty’.
Lawyers for the Sussexes vehemently denied the couple bullied or mistreated staff allegedly between late 2018 and early 2020. Meghan then accused the Royal Family of ‘perpetuating falsehoods’ about her and Harry in their interview with Oprah Winfrey that was released hours after the allegations emerged in March 2021.
Royal sources also disclosed yesterday that the Prince of Wales had a ‘very emotional’ first meeting with his granddaughter Lilibet and a special reunion with grandson Archie when Harry and Meghan returned to the UK for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Charles and Camilla were ‘absolutely thrilled’ to see the family.
Harry has had a troubled relationship with Charles, telling Oprah Winfrey last year how he felt let down by his father, who he claimed had abandoned him financially – a claim much disputed by well-placed sources.
But a senior royal aide, at the briefing of Clarence House’s annual review, said it had been ‘wonderful’ to have the Sussexes back in the UK at the start of June.
‘It was fantastic to see them. It was wonderful to have them back in Britain,’ the source said.
‘The prince and the duchess were absolutely thrilled to see them.
‘The prince, of course, hasn’t seen his grandson Archie for a bit of time and so it was very, very, very special to have some time with him.
‘He hadn’t met Lili, his granddaughter, and so to meet her was very emotional, a very, very wonderful thing.’
What do the Palace fear revealing about ‘Duchess Difficult’? Staff say they were ‘traumatised’ by Meghan’s behaviour. But her defenders say she just had high standards. As a report into the episode is buried, RICHARD KAY examines the history of the saga
Five o’clock in the morning is an unusual time for a member of the Royal Family to be issuing instructions for staff. It smacks of panic and suggests an overly controlling nature. It is certainly anti-social.
But in the summer of 2018 junior employees at Kensington Palace were becoming wearily familiar with these dawn emails and texts from the newly married Duchess of Sussex.
Palace officials were at first quick to offer reassurance: part of Meghan’s working day meant connecting with contacts in the U.S., they said, when she had to be at her desk because of the time difference, hence the early messages to staff. They also talked of ‘cultural differences’ in management style. Americans, they suggested, were more direct.
Meanwhile, friends of the former actress were gushing to People magazine that Meghan had always prided herself on being a good boss. On one occasion, they related, she had paid for an ice cream stand to come to provide free treats for the staff. But over time these explanations seemed increasingly threadbare.
By October the glow of her and Prince Harry’s May wedding had long since faded and insiders were openly describing Meghan as ‘Duchess Difficult’.
By October the glow of her and Prince Harry’s May wedding had long since faded and insiders were openly describing Meghan as ‘Duchess Difficult’
Intervention: Former communications director Jason Knauf, left, and private secretary Samantha Cohen, right
Controversial: Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, during last year’s interview with Oprah Winfrey, which was broadcast in March 2021 just hours after the bullying claims emerged. The couple returned to the UK in June for the Platinum Jubilee (right) but were largely in the background
How the 2021 allegations unfolded with a statement from the Duchess of Sussex at the time saying it was a ‘calculated smear campaign’. Harry and Meghan were reportedly not interviewed as part of the probe
This had nothing to do with American-style straight-talking, but rather with what one figure suggested was her sharp, adversarial manner. Stories began to circulate of secretaries being reduced to tears and the word ‘bully’, fairly or unfairly, was being murmured about the duchess’s behaviour.
Just months ago Buckingham Palace promised it would publish its report into how the historic allegations of bullying were handled by officials. But how hollow those pledges sound today. Instead of disclosing the steps taken to protect victims of the allegations, a curtain has been drawn over them.
The report is buried, the changes to Palace protocols unexplained. As the Mail reported yesterday, the suspicion is that the promise of transparency has been sacrificed in order to placate the couple at the heart of the sorry saga — Harry and Meghan.
Working for the royals has never been for the faint-hearted. The hours are long, the pay poor and the requirements of the job have put many a domestic relationship under pressure. At the same time, one person’s bully is another person’s demanding boss.
There is, however, a world of difference between the kind of exacting standards Prince Charles is, for example, known to expect from his team and those rumours that began circulating from within the Sussex household of youthful aides being humiliated.
It emerged that the duchess had faced bullying complaints from members of her staff. She was accused of driving two aides out of the household and of undermining the confidence of a third employee.
Almost four years ago, in the autumn of 2018, the developments took a sensational turn when Jason Knauf, the couple’s communications secretary at the time, submitted a formal complaint about the claims in an apparent bid to protect his staff. As the man in charge of the couple’s public image, Jason Knauf was so alarmed by what he had heard that he set it down in an email, writing: ‘I am very concerned that the duchess was able to bully two PAs out of the household in the past year. The treatment of (X) was totally unacceptable. The duchess seems intent on always having someone in her sights. She is bullying (Y) and seeking to undermine her confidence. We have had report after report from people who have witnessed unacceptable behaviour towards (Y).’
In the same message, Mr Knauf expressed concern about the stress experienced by Samantha Cohen, the couple’s private secretary, a veteran of the Queen’s office and a highly regarded palace operator.
But for two-and-a-half years the bullying details remained secret. It was only after Harry and Meghan had quit royal life and moved to California that the allegations were made public. They were published in The Times just days before the couple sat down for their tell-all interview with America’s TV queen, Oprah Winfrey. In response, representatives for the duchess said that it was ‘being used by Buckingham Palace to peddle a wholly false narrative based on misleading and harmful misinformation’.
One former employee told the newspaper that they had been personally ‘humiliated’ by the duchess. It was claimed that staff would be reduced to tears with one aide telling a colleague in anticipation of a confrontation with the duchess: ‘I can’t stop shaking.’
An aide was reported saying it felt ‘more like emotional cruelty and manipulation, which I guess could also be called bullying’.
Sources complained that little appeared to have been done by senior courtiers to address the complaints, despite allegations that ‘members of staff, particularly young women, were being bullied to the point of tears’.
One was quoted as saying: ‘The institution just protected Meghan constantly. All the men in grey suits who she hates have a lot to answer for, because they did absolutely nothing to protect people.’
Buckingham Palace has effectively buried a report into allegations of bullying by the Duchess of Sussex (seen with Harry at Kensington Palace)
In a statement in March 2021, Buckingham Palace announced a formal probe into the allegations
The allegations have always been strongly denied by the duchess, whose lawyers described them at the time as a ‘calculated smear campaign’. They did not respond to requests for comment yesterday. Pictured: Lawyer Jenny Afia speaking on The Princes And The Press documentary
Meghan’s lawyer, Jenny Afia, said that the allegations were ‘absolutely untrue’ and did not match her experience of her. Meghan’s friend Janina Gavankar said ‘I have known her for 17 years and I have seen the way that she regards the people around her and I can say she’s not a bully.’ Others offered similar words of support. And it should also be borne in mind that none of the allegations made against the duchess has ever been proved to be true.
But signs that anything might be amiss first came when the Daily Mail revealed in 2018 that Meghan’s personal assistant had left. A few days later, the assistant was named as Melissa Touabti, who had previously worked for the former Take That singer Robbie Williams and the businesswoman Amanda Staveley. Miss Touabti, in fact, was not the first member of staff to leave. Another PA, also a young woman, who had been employed before Meghan and Harry married, had also suddenly quit.
Both personal assistants signed non-disclosure agreements — standard practice for royal staff — and there is no suggestion that the duchess tried to prevent them from speaking. All the same, the relaxed, easy-going atmosphere that many had found working for the bachelor prince had rapidly changed.
A part-time employee, who was briefly attached to Harry’s household, told me that before Meghan arrived, Harry would make morning coffee for his small staff. After the wedding, the duchess insisted that a butler take over the coffee-making duties.
Even so, precise details of what was alleged to be going on with the couple’s staff was not widely known. It was all the more baffling because, on the surface, all seemed well: there had been hugely positive headlines for their first major overseas tour to Australia.
Behind the scenes, senior officials were extremely concerned. Knauf’s intervention changed everything.
His email was sent to Simon Case, then Prince William’s private secretary and now the Cabinet Secretary at 10 Downing Street, after he discussed the matter with Samantha Carruthers, the head of human resources for the Prince of Wales at Clarence House.
The Palace’s internal inquiry into how claims of Meghan’s ‘belittling’ behaviour were handled, which was announced in March last year (Pictured: The Duke and Duchess at the Platinum Jubilee Service of Thanksgiving)
He said that Ms Carruthers ‘agreed with me on all counts that the situation was very serious’. But he added pointedly: ‘I remain concerned that nothing will be done.’
The email to Case concluded with the damning line: ‘I questioned if the Household policy on bullying and harassment applied to principals’ — i.e. royals.
At the time that seemed the only logical explanation. It was certainly ironic that the courtiers, the very people whom Meghan complained were out to destroy her, the so-called ‘men in grey suits’, actually appeared to be the figures protecting her from the allegations. All the same, it is significant that the complaint should have been made by Jason Knauf.
American-born with a liberal outlook, he was educated at the London School of Economics and a university in New Zealand. If anyone could understand how difficult it could be for a modern, opinionated and socially aware young woman like fellow American Meghan Markle to adjust to royal life, it surely would have been Mr Knauf.
Fast forward to June 2022 and now the sound of derision is becoming uncomfortably loud. Fifteen months after the matter became public and a little short of four years since the bullying claims were first privately raised, it is clear that the allegations are still being buried.
The Palace’s internal inquiry into how claims of Meghan’s ‘belittling’ behaviour were handled, which was announced in March last year (albeit with no focus on any specific allegations), will, conveniently, not be made public.
In any event, as revealed yesterday by the Daily Mail, Sir Michael Stevens, Master of the Privy Purse, revealed that the inquiry was in fact a ‘review’ and that recommendations on HR policies and procedures had been ‘taken forward’.
This appears to mean that peace with the Sussexes — a peace at any price — is preferable to showing what lessons might have been learned from the whole shabby episode. As one exasperated old Palace hand told me: ‘Once again, the public will think it’s a case of how can we make this go away rather than actually addressing it.’
It remains to be seen if this approach is enough to stem a rising chorus of criticism.