Meghan Markle’s former aide Jason Knauf tells court she was protected ‘extensively’

Meghan Markle’s senior aide says she was protected “extensively” by the palace despite her bombshell claims to Oprah Winfrey.

The Duchess of Sussex repeatedly slammed palace aides in the explosive tell-all chat in March, claiming they “failed to protect her”.

The 39-year-old also sensationally said they were “not willing to tell the truth” to protect her and Prince Harry.

But the couple’s former press secretary Jason Knauf appeared to reject her claims in official court documents.

He also said he “repeatedly” spoke to Meghan’s estranged dad Thomas Markle in a bid to try and protect the duchess’ privacy.

In a letter to the High Court, lawyers representing the Crown claim Mr Knauf led “extensive efforts” to protect Meghan’s privacy and reputation.

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It lists the 2016 example where Mr Knauf issued a press release slamming “racist and sexist coverage” of the royal.

The aide, who now works for Prince William and Kate Middleton, also made “significant efforts over many months” to protect Meghan’s father, it was said.

The documents say this was carried out “in addition to the steps that were regularly taken to object to coverage of the duchess herself, where this was perceived to be unfair or untrue”.

The details were revealed after Meghan won the latest round of her privacy and copyright battle against the Mail on Sunday over a letter she sent her dad.

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Mr Markle suffered a heart attack before Harry and Meghan’s wedding in May 2018, which he did not attend.

Mr Knauf is the staffer who reportedly submitted a bullying complaint in October 2018 to protect palace aides who were allegedly coming under pressure from the duchess.

The claims, which Meghan denies, are now being investigated by a third-party law firm drafted in by Buckingham Palace.

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In a report by The Times published just prior to the Oprah interview, staffers told the publication they had been reduced to tears when Meghan lived at Kensington Palace after her wedding.

In one alleged incident, a royal aide who had been anticipating a confrontation with Meghan told a colleague: “I can’t stop shaking.”

Two senior members of the palace staff were allegedly bullied into leaving their jobs, the UK newspaper reported.

In her Oprah interview, Meghan claimed royal aides had allowed the press to believe that she had made Kate cry in the lead up to the royal wedding, when it was the other way around.

Meghan said: “Only once we were married and everything started to worsen that I came to understand, not only was I not being protected, but they were willing to lie to protect other members of the family.

“They were not willing to tell the truth to protect myself and my husband.”

She added that her biggest regret was believing that she would be protected by the royals.

Meghan also claimed in previous court documents she was left defenceless while pregnant by the Kensington Palace media team.

The duchess said she was felt “tremendous emotional distress” but her friends felt “silenced” by Kensington Palace and unable to defend her.

This story originally appeared on The Sun and has been reproduced here with permission

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