Who is Jason Knauf and what has he accused Meghan Markle of?November 12, 2021
THE Duchess of Sussex sued the Mail On Sunday for publishing extracts of a letter sent to her father in August 2018 as it was deemed unlawful, but in an appeal this week, her former aide has challenged her case.
In a witness statement, Jason Knauf has revealed he regretted not giving evidence after the royal won her legal battle. Here's everything we know about Jason Knauf.
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Who is Jason Knauf?
Knauf joined Kensington Palace in 2015 and became the communications secretary for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Known to be a trusted staffer, he even was asked to help with private letters to Meghan Markle's family.
Knauf was working for the royals at the time the allegations against the newspaper publisher were made.
Two months after Meghan asked for his feedback on the famous private letter to her father, Knauf turned his back on her and is said to be the person who submitted the bullying allegations to the HR department in October 2018.
The claims were raised to HR in a bid to get Buckingham Palace to protect the staff that Knauf alleged were coming under pressure from the Duchess.
A source told The Times that Prince Harry had pleaded with Knauf not to pursue the bullying allegations.
A month after reporting the allegation of bullying, Knauf handed in his notice.
He took up a job as an adviser to Prince William in March 2019 when Harry and Meghan left Kensington Palace.
Knauf is now chief executive of the Cambridges’ Royal Foundation.
What has he accused Meghan Markle of?
Knauf has suggested that Meghan hand-wrote a letter to her estranged father, Thomas Markle, knowing it may be leaked to the press.
In his witness statement, Knauf said: "When the Duchess was considering how to handle Mr Markle's increasing public interventions – both for concerns about his welfare and also to protect her reputation – she explored options for written communication that might convince him to stop giving interviews, but that could also set the record straight if he gave them to the media."
He recalled, "She asked me to review an electronic draft of the letter saying, 'obviously everything I have drafted is with the understanding that it could be leaked so I have been meticulous in my word choice but please do let me know if anything stands out for you as a liability'.
"She also asked a specific question regarding addressing Mr Markle as 'daddy' in the letter, saying 'given I've only ever called him daddy it may make sense to open as such (despite him being less than paternal), and in the unfortunate event that it leaked it would pull at the heartstrings'."
The duchess has since apologised since Knauf's witness statement, saying she had "not remembered these exchanges" and added: "I had absolutely no wish or intention to mislead the defendant or the court."
On top of the letter allegations, Meghan Markle is said to have driven two personal assistants out of the household and undermined the confidence of a third.
A spokesman for the Sussexes said they were the victims of a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation.
The couple’s spokesman claimed the duchess was “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”.
More sources told The Times a “febrile” atmosphere existed at Kensington Palace when Meghan and Harry lived beside William and Kate.
Staff were said to be occasionally reduced to tears.
And one aide, fearing a confrontation with Meghan, apparently told a colleague: “I can’t stop shaking.”
Two senior members of staff have claimed that they were bullied by the Duchess.
And another ex-employee alleged they had been personally “humiliated” by Meghan.
Knauf also said two other members of staff had been bullied.
The spokesman for the Sussexes gave a statement reported by The Times that reads: “Let’s just call this what it is — a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation.
"We are disappointed to see this defamatory portrayal of The Duchess of Sussex given credibility by a media outlet.
"It’s no coincidence that distorted several-year-old accusations aimed at undermining The Duchess are being briefed to the British media shortly before she and The Duke are due to speak openly and honestly about their experience of recent years.”
Why did Thomas Markle thank Jason Knauf?
Following Knauf's witness statement, Thomas Markle appeared on GB News to say he was happy the truth about her was finally coming out.
Discussing Meghan's recent legal battle with Associated Newspaper, Mr Markle spoke with host Dan Wootton.
The GB News host asked how Mr Markle felt about following the revelation she prepared for her letter written to him to be leaked and changed the way she wrote it in expectation.
Mr Markle said "thank god for Jason Knauf" before saying he would treat him to a steak as a way of showing his gratitude.
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