Meghan Markle Clashed With Her Aides Over This Surprising Topic

Days before the airing of her much-anticipated interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan Markle came under fire after an incendiary media report. Emails from 2018 were obtained by The Times in London that paint the Duchess of Sussex in a truly unfavorable light.

The emails allegedly document complaints from Prince Harry and Meghan's former communications secretary, Jason Knauf. Reportedly, he wrote that Meghan had been overly demanding and mistreated royal aides to the point that some decided to quit. "I am very concerned the duchess was able to bully two PAs out of the household in the past year ... The duchess seems intent on always having someone in her sights," an email from Knauf read (via Vanity Fair).

A separate source told The Times that royal officials knew that "members of staff, particularly young women, were being bullied to the point of tears," (via Entertainment Tonight). The Times' report claims that Harry "pleaded" with Knauf to not pursue the matter any further.

Harry and Meghan responded with a statement where they called the report a hit piece that was deliberately released just before their Oprah interview aired. "Let's just call this what it is — a calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation," the statement read (via Today).

As per the report, one of the issues Meghan allegedly had with her aides pertained to this topic.

Meghan Markle's wardrobe was a point of friction

Meghan Markle's designer wardrobe has long been a point of contention since she began dating Prince Harry. According to The Sun, one of the big disputes between Meghan and the royal aides involved her receiving free designer clothes. At the time, she was still only Harry's girlfriend, but sources claimed the former Suits star was upset when she found out that free clothes were not permitted to be worn. "As an actress it was perfectly acceptable to take freebies sent by fashion chains and designer labels," a source told the publication. "But Meghan had to be told it was not the done thing when you are a member of the royal family."

The Daily Mail reported that it was common to see Meghan decked out in designer brands such as Chanel, Prada, and Dior during her time in Kensington Palace. Since she was not permitted to accept free clothing, the former actress allegedly rang up exorbitant bills for her sartorial interests, including spending nearly $150,000 during her and Harry's 16-day Pacific tour. Once the couple was married however, they were able to pay off the clothing bills through Prince Charles' Duchy of Cornwall estate, which helped finance their living expenditures and engagements as a royal couple, according to the Mail.

Meghan has been targeted by the British press in the past, and was supposedly nicknamed "Duchess Difficult" back in 2019 (via Vanity Fair). A source close to the royal couple told Elle that these claims were false. "She's actually well-liked by her staff, and people were excited by her ideas and enthusiasm," the source said.

The royal tradition of refusing free clothing

While Meghan Markle faces accusations of bullying her former staff, especially over the issue of free clothing, it's worth looking back on the royal traditions around the concept. Royals are famously not allowed to accept free goods, so this rule isn't specific to Meghan.

Since items often sell out after Meghan or her sister-in-law, Kate Middleton, are spotted wearing them, it makes sense that designers want to get their items into the hands of these high-profile women. However, as Vogue stated, "neither Middleton nor Markle ever receive gifted outfits."

What happens instead for royals is that their stylists "call in designer items on loan but they will then be returned," per Vogue. Should the royal then wish to keep the item, they purchase it. The income to purchase said clothing comes from Prince Charles' estate, the Duchy of Cornwall, according to People, which brings in an income of about $28 million.

So if these allegations are in fact true, it shouldn't have come as a surprise to Meghan. It's just the nature of royal life. However, Meghan's fashion choices, whether it pertains to what she can or cannot accept, has always caused a stir. Keep reading.

Here's why some think Meghan Markle's dress has an underlying message

Even after stepping away from royal life, Meghan Markle continues to cause a stir by her wardrobe choices. In fact, the dress she selected for her highly-anticipated interview with Oprah Winfrey has made major headlines. The black Armani dress, which rings in at a whopping $4,700, according to Page Six, gives off major Wallis Simpson vibes.

Wallis Simpson married King Edward VIII, who abdicated the throne to be with her since the Archbishop of Canterbury didn't grant him permission to marry her, according to Vogue. And so Edward left England for a divorced, American socialite. (In one portrait, she wore a black dress emblazoned with white flowers, as per Page Six, much like the ensemble Meghan is wearing in the Oprah interview.) While Meghan was an actor before meeting Prince Harry, the parallels are obvious, and her choice to don a Wallis Simpson-esque dress for her tell-all interview is significant. While Meghan has obviously not lost her taste for luxury designers since leaving royal life, she may be getting more pointed with the messages these garments carry. Plus, now she's not restricted in what she can or cannot accept.