Royal household’s HR policies ‘improved after probe into Meghan bullying claims’
An investigation into the handling of bullying allegations established by the Duchess of Sussex has seen HR policies improved for royal staff, a source claims
A senior Palace source respected the confidentiality of those who took part in the independent review, refraining from detailing the improvements.
Current and former staff were invited to speak about their experiences of working for Meghan, enabling improvements to HR policies to be enacted.
Members of the Royal Family have been informed of the changes to policies and procedures for the royal household's HR department, as have staff, the source confirmed.
The issue was raised during a media briefing about the Sovereign Grant which showed the monarchy cost the taxpayer £102.4million during 2021-2022 - an increase of £14.9million, or 17 percent on the previous financial year.
Following the lifting of pandemic restrictions, the Royal Family resumed duties, increasing expenditure on travel and property maintenance.
The 10-year project to renovate Buckingham Palace raised property maintenance expenditure by £14.4million to a whopping £63.9million.
The Sovereign Grant increased marginally by £400,000 to £86.3million during 2021-22.
A core chunk of £51.8million funds the Queen’s official duties and her household, and an additional £34.5million pays for ongoing re-servicing costs for the Palace.
An investigation by Buckingham Palace was launched in March 2021, with past and present staff invited to express in confidence their experiences of working for the Duchess of Sussex, after it was alleged she forced out two personal assistants and staff suffered humiliation on several occasions.
Meghan Markle's lawyers denied the allegations when they arose.
Under the heading “Staff Report”, the 2021-22 financial document listed HR policies and procedures, but it is not known which were introduced following the investigation carried out by a law firm and funded privately, thought to be a senior member of the royal family.
The report also outlines the royal household’s “Concern at Work” policy which encourages individuals to raise any issues they may have about the behaviour of others and outlines how issues can be aired, with the policy accessible to staff on the intranet site – known as the Coronet.
The financial document also states: “Counselling and support are provided through the household’s long-established employee assistance programme and staff have been trained to be Mental Health First Aiders… Managers are trained to support, mentor and coach their teams and monitor their contribution…”
The senior palace source said: “I’m not going to comment on the changes that have been made to the policies and procedures – I’ll just say that the policies and procedures have been updated…the policies in relation to the Concern at Work apply to everyone who works within the royal household.”
They added: “Because of the confidentiality of the discussions we have not communicated the detailed recommendations.
"The recommendations have been incorporated within policies and procedures wherever appropriate and policies and procedures have changed.
“So all members of staff, all members of the Royal Family will be aware of what the policies and procedures are, the revised policies and procedures.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been contacted for a response.