Royal aide who accused Meghan of bullying is given New Year Honour

A former royal aide who made a bullying complaint against Meghan Markle has been recognised for his service to the monarchy in the New Year Honours. Jason Knauf has been made a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order (RVO) after working for the Prince and Princess of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Honours within the RVO are in the King’s gift and are bestowed independently of Downing Street to people who have served the monarch or the Royal Family in a personal way.

The former royal aide said: “Working for the Prince and Princess of Wales was the honour of a lifetime. Receiving this recognition means more to me than I can say. I am incredibly grateful.”

Mr Knauf became the communications secretary to Prince William, Kate and Prince Harry in 2015, before leading the press team for the Sussexes.

He went on to become a senior adviser to William and Kate before becoming their Royal Foundation’s chief executive in September 2019. He stepped down at the end of 2021. 

When working for the Sussexes as their communications secretary in October 2018, Mr Knauf emailed his concerns about Meghan to William’s then private secretary, in an apparent attempt to force Buckingham Palace to protect staff.

The Duchess’s legal team have in the past strenuously denied bullying allegations. 

Harry and Meghan’s former communications secretary who at the time was a key aide of William and Kate also gave evidence in Meghan’s copyright lawsuit against a newspaper publisher.

The Duchess had successfully sued Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), publisher of the Mail on Sunday and Mail Online, over five articles that reproduced parts of a “personal and private” letter to her estranged father Thmas Markle in August 2018.

Evidence from Mr Knauf was relied upon by ANL as it appealed against the Duchess’s legal victory.

A High Court judge ruled in Meghan’s favour last year without a full trial, but ANL argued the case should go to a trial, with the publisher’s lawyers arguing new evidence from Mr Knauf suggested the Duchess wrote the letter with the understanding that it could be leaked.

The challenge was dismissed by Court of Appeal judges.

In the Sussexes’ recent bombshell Netflix series, Meghan’s lawyer claimed Mr Knauf could not have given evidence “without the authority of his bosses”.

Meanwhile, Harry said there were attempts to try to “cover” the aide’s association with his older brother, with Mr Knauf being described as a “former aide of Meghan and Harry” as opposed to, at the time, working as chief executive of William and Kate’s Royal Foundation.

A written statement from Mr Knauf’s legal team broadcast during the Netflix episode said: “These claims are entirely false. Mr Knauf was asked to provide evidence by both the Duchess of Sussex and Associated Newspapers.

“He was advised by counsel that evidence in his possession could be relevant and he then provided this directly to the court, staying neutral in the process.”

Before joining the Royal Household the American-born former corporate affairs executive worked for a range of institutions, from the office of the New Zealand prime minister to HM Treasury and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

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