Prince William just awarded the royal aide who previously accused Meghan Markle of bullying with a prestigious honor

jason knauf meghan markle
Jason Knauf is photographed at the Earthshot Prize Awards in 2021, left, and Meghan Markle is photographed in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2019.Alberto Pezzali/Pool via REUTERS, Toby Melville via REUTERS
  • Prince William honored his former aide Jason Knauf for services to the royal family on Wednesday.

  • Knauf previously worked for William and Kate's charity and for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

  • In 2021, it was reported that Knauf accused Meghan of bullying palace staff members in 2018.

The Prince of Wales has awarded a prestigious honor to the royal aide who once accused the Duchess of Sussex of bullying.

Jason Knauf — the former CEO of Prince William and Kate Middleton's charitable foundation — was made a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order at an investiture ceremony on Wednesday at Windsor Castle.

Knauf was included in King Charles' first New Year Honours list in December 2022, as People reported at the time. But William was the one to award the royal aide with the honor, presenting him with a medal at Wednesday's ceremony, as photos published by The Mirror show.

Jason Knauf
Jason Knauf is pictured at Lord's Cricket Ground on October 7, 2016, in London, England.Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images

The Royal Victorian Order was created by Queen Victoria in 1896 and is granted by the reigning monarch to award individuals for service to the royal family, according to the website for the Cabinet Office, a department of the UK Government.

Knauf was CEO of the Prince and Princess of Wales' Royal Foundation from 2019 until January 2022, Insider previously reported. Before that, he was a communications secretary for William and Kate, Prince Harry, and also for Meghan Markle when she joined the family in 2018.

Knauf's rift with Meghan became public shortly before the Sussexes' interview with Oprah Winfrey aired in March 2021.

Days before the interview aired, Buckingham Palace announced it would investigate claims that Meghan bullied some members of staff after The Times of London reported that Knauf had filed a complaint about Meghan to the palace's HR department in October 2018.

A spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex denied the claims at the time, calling it a "calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful information" in a statement issued to The Times.

"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," the spokesperson said at the time. "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."

In June 2022, the palace said it would not publish the findings of the investigation into the bullying allegations to protect the privacy of everyone involved.

Catherine, Princess of Wales, Prince William, Prince of Wales, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex on the long Walk at Windsor Castle arrive to view flowers and tributes to HM Queen Elizabeth on Saturday.
Kate Middleton, Prince William, Prince Harry, and Meghan Markle at Windsor Castle in September 2022.Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Additionally, Knauf was involved with Meghan's lawsuit against Associated Newspapers. In 2020, the duchess sued the company over the misuse of private information, infringement of copyright, and breach of the Data Protection Act 2008 after the Mail on Sunday — which is part of the Associated Newspapers group — published excerpts of a private letter that she wrote to her estranged father Thomas Markle in 2018.

Knauf's witness statement included a text from Meghan which stated she knew the letter could be leaked and asked him for advice regarding its contents, as shown in screenshots of a text exchange between Meghan and Knauf that were made public as part of the court battle, published by the Mail Online. Associated Newspapers used the texts as evidence to support its argument that Meghan expected the letter to be made public, as Insider previously reported.

In January 2022, Meghan won the lawsuit and was awarded £1 from the Mail on Sunday.

William has never publicly commented on the bullying claims against Meghan or Knauf's involvement with the Associated Newspapers lawsuit. However, Harry wrote in his memoir, "Spare," that his brother had a negative opinion of Meghan, as he referred to her as "difficult," "rude," and "abrasive" during an argument between the brothers in 2019.

Representatives for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, the Prince of Wales, and Buckingham Palace did not respond to Insider's request for comment.

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