Did Meghan carefully plot her own exile from the Royal Family?

Meghan’s aides branded her a ‘narcissistic sociopath’ over her demanding behaviour – and gave themselves the name ‘Sussex Survivors Club’, new book claims

  • New book claims that Meghan Markle’s aides, the ‘Sussex Survivors’ Club’, called her a ‘narcissistic sociopath’
  • Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind The Crown describes Sussexes’ deteriorating relationship with staff
  • Book also claims that staff became convinced the Duchess wanted to show how the institution failed her
  • Some of Ms Markle’s staff suspected that she left her Royal duties behind because she wanted to make money

Palace aides believed that the Duchess of Sussex was deliberately laying a ‘trail of evidence’ as she carefully plotted her departure from the Royal Family, a new book claims.

It alleges that her aides – who named themselves the ‘Sussex Survivors’ Club’ after Meghan and Harry quit their roles – called the Duchess a ‘narcissistic sociopath’.

Extracts of Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind The Crown by Valentine Low were published by The Sunday Times last night.

The book describes the Sussexes’ deteriorating relationship with their staff – a ‘succession of… decent people’ who had believed in Meghan and ‘would have done anything’ to help the couple succeed.

But it alleges that aides came to believe that Meghan’s departure was premeditated and that ‘one of [her] concerns was whether she was going to be able to make money for herself’.

One ex staff member told the author: ‘She wanted to be rejected, because she was obsessed with that narrative from day one.’

And sources said that her team reportedly said of her on repeated occasions: ‘We were played.’

Extracts from the new book Courtiers: The Hidden Power Behind The Crown have revealed that Palace aides believed that the Duchess of Sussex was deliberately laying a ‘trail of evidence’ as she carefully plotted her departure from the Royal Family

The book alleges that her aides – nicknamed the ‘Sussex Survivors’ Club’ after Meghan and Harry quit their roles – called the Duchess a ‘narcissistic sociopath’. Pictured: Meghan Markle with Sussexes’ former secretary Samantha Cohen, a core member of the Sussex Survivors’ Club


Extracts from the book claim that Ms Cohen would tell Edward Young (left), the Queen’s private secretary, and Clive Alderton (right), Charles’s private secretary that if it all went wrong, the Palace needed evidence of the duty of care it had shown to Harry and Meghan

The book quotes a source saying that Ms Cohen (pictured) was ‘bullied’ and that nothing she did was ever good enough for the couple

The book claims that staff became convinced the Duchess wanted to show how the institution failed her – and even felt there was a cynical motive behind her decision to complain to HR bosses, who listened sympathetically but offered no help.

‘This was inevitable: HR is there to deal with employee issues, not members of the Royal Family,’ the book says. ‘Meghan would presumably have known that, so what was she doing there? Laying a trail of evidence, would be the cynical answer.’

A former staff member told Low: ‘Everyone knew that the institution would be judged by her happiness. The mistake they made was thinking that she wanted to be happy.’

In her interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, Meghan emphasised the difference between the Queen and those who surrounded her – the ones she felt refused to help when she was in her hour of greatest need and perpetuated ‘falsehoods’ about her.

The Duchess’s lawyers denied last year that Miss Cohen had been bullied, saying that the couple were always grateful for her support and dedication

According to the book some of Meghan’s staff ‘suspected that in the end she wanted to make money. And the only way she could do that was by leaving her Royal life behind and going back to America’

 In her interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021, Meghan emphasised the difference between the Queen and those who surrounded her

But the aides grew so disillusioned they began to suspect even her most desperate pleas were part of a deliberate strategy designed to facilitate her departure.

The books alleges: ‘They believe she wanted to be able to say “Look how they failed to support me”.’

Core members of the Survivors’ Club included Samantha Cohen – whom the Queen had personally asked to step in as the couple’s private secretary and who worked for the Sussexes from after their wedding in May 2018 until the end of their South Africa tour in September 2019 – and Sara Latham, who was in charge of communications. Others included assistant press secretary Marnie Gaffney.

According to the book some of Meghan’s staff ‘suspected that in the end she wanted to make money. And the only way she could do that was by leaving her Royal life behind and going back to America’.

Part of the problem, according to one source, was that everyone in the Palace was too genteel and civil: ‘When someone decides not to be civil, they have no idea what to do. They were run over by her, and then run over by Harry.’ Extracts claim that Ms Cohen, who had 17 years’ experience of working at the Palace, would frequently say to Edward Young, the Queen’s private secretary, and Clive Alderton, Charles’s private secretary, that if it all went wrong, the Palace needed evidence of the duty of care it had shown to Harry and Meghan.

The new book set to reveal some bombshells quotes a source saying that Ms Cohen (pictured behind the Queen and Ms Markle) was a ‘broken record’ about showing that a duty of care had been given to the Sussexes

The Queen had personally asked Samantha Cohen to step in as the couple’s private secretary which she did from May 2018 to the end of the Sussexes’ South Africa tour in 2019

The duty of care was crucial. ‘[Sam] was a broken record with them on that,’ said a source.

The book quotes a source saying that Ms Cohen was ‘bullied’ and that nothing she did was ever good enough for the couple. It is claimed a source once said: ‘Sam [Cohen] always made clear it was like working for a couple of teenagers. They were impossible and pushed her to the limit. She was miserable.’

The Duchess’s lawyers denied last year that Miss Cohen had been bullied, saying that the couple were always grateful for her support and dedication.

They have also long described such allegations as ‘massively inaccurate’ and that the Duchess has ‘absolutely denied’ bullying anyone. While an inquiry launched by Buckingham Palace concluded that it would review how it handled bullying complaints, it did not say Meghan had actually bullied anyone.

According to the book, tensions were compounded by Harry and Meghan’s ‘deteriorating relationship with Alderton and Young’.

Royal biographer Robert Lacey, said: ‘Meghan came to perceive Young as the inflexible, bureaucratic figure who summed up what was [wrong] with the BP [Buckingham Palace] mentality, and the feeling was mutual. Young really came to dislike Meghan’s style.’

Harry was just as dismissive of the two senior courtiers as Meghan. An insider said: ‘He used to send them horrible emails. So rude.’

Their escape plans were laid amid the utmost secrecy. The book says: ‘When Harry and Meghan went to Canada for their six-week break in November 2019… Meghan would not even tell their nanny, Lorren, where they were going.’

Meghan confided in a member of her staff the couple were not coming back, according to the book, but others did not find out until January 2020. ‘They found it hard to accept they were being dumped…’ says the book. ‘Some of them were in tears.’

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