The founder of a youth organisation backed by the Duchess of Sussex sided with the Queen today and said Meghan Markle should sort out her grievances with the royals ‘in person’ and ‘privately’.
Kate Robertson said that ‘hurting the Queen in public is really low’ and praised Her Majesty for being the ‘world’s most stunning example of public service’ ahead of this Sunday’s Oprah Winfrey interview with Meghan and Harry.
But her tweet was then shared by journalist Omid Scobie, a friend of Meghan’s who co-wrote her biography Finding Freedom, who posted it to his 66,000 followers and said that ‘not everybody will be watching on Sunday’.
Around three hours later, after being bombarded with angry messages from Sussex fans, Mrs Robertson deleted her tweet and apologised – saying she had been ‘unduly critical of people I admire, care about and have worked with for a long time’, adding: ‘Everyone has the right to tell their story’.
Mr Scobie has been accused of organising a ‘nasty’ pile-on on the charity founder, and he has also since deleted his tweet.
Ms Robertson, who is the co-founder of One Young World, previously hit the headlines for awkwardly hugging Meghan on stage at the Royal Albert Hall.
Kate Robertson initially posted a tweet which was then quoted by royal author Omid Scobie, before deleting it and apologising after suffering a ‘pile-on’ because she gave her views
The Duchess of Sussex is awkwardly welcomed on stage by One Young World co-founder Kate Robertson in a greeting at the summit at the Royal Albert Hall in London in October 2019
Omid Scobie has been accused of bullying himself and organising a pile-on on Mrs Robertson
The incident in London at an event in October 2019 saw Ms Robertson greet the Duchess with a curtsy, while Meghan went in for a hug, resulting in a slight clash.
Today, Ms Robertson tweeted at 8.18am: ‘Not having any of it. The Queen is the world’s most stunning example of duty and service. The Sussexes have grievances but should sort out in person privately. Hurting the Queen in public is really low.’
Kate Robertson, co-founder of One Young World Summit, in Dublin in October 2014
Royal author Omid Scobie, who wrote the Sussexes biography Finding Freedom, then quoted the post in a tweet at 9.12am, which saw it gain a greater audience.
Mr Scobie wrote: ‘It seems that not everybody will be watching on Sunday, including the founder of One Young World, a youth-focused global forum that the Duchess of Sussex has been involved with for years.’
But by 11.11am, Ms Robertson’s initial tweet had disappeared, and she wrote an apology, saying: ‘I am so sorry. I sent a tweet this morning that was unduly critical of people I admire, care about and have worked with for a long time.
‘People have called me out on it and they were right to do so – we should all choose to contribute to a culture of kindness.
‘Everyone has the right to tell their story – that’s what our work is about. This was a good lesson: commenting on people’s personal lives is wrong. I’m truly sorry.’
Mr Scobie’s tweet that quoted her message has also since been removed.
The Duchess has spent years supporting One Young World, which was co-founded by Ms Robertson and had its first summit in February 2010.
Ms Robertson later removed her initial tweet and replaced it with a two-part apology
Meghan and Ms Robertson have appeared on stage numerous times, including at the summit in Dublin in 2014 for a ‘Bridging the Gender Gap’ special session.
Then in October 2019, the Duchess was greeted by the awkward hug at the opening ceremony of the same summit, in London. Ms Robertson and Meghan appeared to laugh off the mishap before sharing a hug on stage.
Meghan attended the event at the Royal Albert Hall without Harry, in her role as vice-president of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust.
There are no official codes of etiquette when meeting a member of the Royal Family, but Meghan and Harry have been known to hug members of the public.
The opening of the summit had been Meghan’s first public appearance since the release of the bombshell ITV documentary Harry And Meghan: An African Journey.
Today, a clip of Meghan making the remarks to Oprah Winfrey was released in the early hours of this morning, in which she said that ‘a lot … has been lost already’.
Ms Robertson received a number of critical tweets after posting the message this morning
The couple’s interview with the US television host is expected to lift the lid on their short period as working royals before they stepped down for a life in America.
In the 30-second clip released on social media, Winfrey asks the duchess: ‘How do you feel about the Palace hearing you speak your truth today?’
She replies: ‘I don’t know how they could expect that, after all of this time, we would still just be silent if there is an active role that The Firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us.
‘And, if that comes with risk of losing things, I mean, I … there is a lot that has been lost already.’
‘The Firm’ is widely considered to be shorthand for the institution of the royal family.
It came as Buckingham Palace said it had launched an investigation into claims that the duchess bullied former royal staff.
Past and present employees are to be invited to speak in confidence about their experiences of working for Meghan, after it was alleged she drove out two personal assistants and that staff were ‘humiliated’ on several occasions.
The Times newspaper has reported that the duchess ‘destroyed’ one member of staff and another was left in tears before she departed. Meghan’s lawyers have vehemently denied she is a bully.
Ms Robertson (left) and Meghan (far right) at the One Young World summit in Dublin in 2014
Prince Harry and Meghan attend a roundtable discussion with the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust and One Young World at Windsor Castle in October 2019
There has long been speculation about the atmosphere in the Sussex household, after a number of staff left, and the newspaper chronicles what it describes as ‘turmoil’ within palace walls.
Underlying Meghan’s actions, the paper reports, was the view of a number of sources that she wanted to be a ‘victim’ so her ‘unbearable experience’ would convince Harry they had to leave the UK – something her lawyers have denied.
The monarchy’s ‘men in grey suits’ have been accused of being aware of the alleged actions of the duchess and of doing ‘absolutely nothing to protect people’.
Buckingham Palace said in a statement: ‘We are clearly very concerned about allegations in the Times following claims made by former staff of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are interviewed by Oprah Winfrey for a ‘tell-all’ TV special
‘Accordingly, our HR team will look into the circumstances outlined in the article. Members of staff involved at the time, including those who have left the household, will be invited to participate to see if lessons can be learned.
‘The Royal Household has had a dignity at work policy in place for a number of years and does not and will not tolerate bullying or harassment in the workplace.’
Meghan and Harry will not be part of the process as they are not staff, and it is understood the Palace hopes to start the investigation soon.
Lawyers for the duke and duchess said the Sussexes believed staff were comfortable and happy.
The Queen, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry on the Buckingham Palace balcony in July 2018
Ms Robertson’s Twitter post was quoted this morning by royal author Omid Scobie (pictured)
However, Jason Knauf, the couple’s then communications secretary, made a bullying complaint in October 2018 in an apparent attempt to force Buckingham Palace to protect staff.
A source suggested the attitude to the allegations was more about making them ‘go away’ rather than ‘addressing’ them, with the paper claiming that Mr Knauf’s complaint was never progressed.
Meghan’s spokesman said: ‘The duchess is saddened by this latest attack on her character, particularly as someone who has been the target of bullying herself and is deeply committed to supporting those who have experienced pain and trauma.
‘She is determined to continue her work building compassion around the world and will keep striving to set an example for doing what is right and doing what is good.’