Shade behind the scenes? Prince William likely signed off on longtime royal aide Jason Knauf getting involved in Meghan Markle‘s lawsuit against the British press, royal expert Christopher Andersen predicts.
The legal drama was rehashed in Netflix’s Harry & Meghan, the second half of which premiered on Thursday, December 15. After watching the final three episodes, Andersen exclusively shared his thoughts on the “interesting” docuseries with Us Weekly.
“The Sussexes get the final word when … they issue a formal statement saying, ‘Oh no, we never authorized him to issue this information,'” the author of The King: The Life of King Charles III told Us on Thursday. “So it’s another swipe at William.”
According to Andersen, mentioning the lawsuit made it “rather obvious” that the tension between Prince Harry and his older brother, 40, is “a chasm that isn’t going to be breached at any time soon.”
Meghan, 41, and the former military pilot, 38, outlined their ups and downs with the royal family — both before and after their 2020 exit — in the candid six-episode series. Episode 6 detailed the Suits alum’s lawsuit against Associated Newspapers Limited, which owns the Mail on Sunday, for publishing the five-page letter she wrote to her estranged father, Thomas Markle, in 2019.
“When we were just about to go the court of appeal, a senior member of [William’s] team [Knauf] came forward to give his witness statement, which wasn’t required, and sadly there’s just no way he could have done that without the authority of his bosses,” Meghan’s lawyer Jenny Afia claimed in a confessional.
The “Archetypes” podcast host and her husband were shown getting frustrated about the legal development. “Let me deal with it,” Harry told his wife, who replied: “It’s your brother. I’m not gonna say anything about your brother, but it’s so obvious.”
After the series finale aired, Andersen hinted that the Prince of Wales likely was pulling the strings when Knauf got involved. “I mean, my guess is it would’ve had to have been approved by him,” the royal expert told Us, claiming that William may have wanted to “undercut” Harry for leaving his senior duties. “I can’t see how that kind of statement could have been made without William.”
As the drama played out on screen, the Duke of Sussex argued that it was suspicious that Knauf was referred to as “a former aide of Meghan and Harry,” rather than a current employee of William.
“It’s even more obvious that they’ll try and cover it up,” he said, criticizing the way the palace works with the U.K. press. “That’s why I’m now living in a different country. Because all the comms teams basically, like, try to outdo each other, but this is the contract. The symbiotic relationship between the two institutions working the best that they can.”
Meghan won her case against Associated Newspapers in December 2021 and received £1 (the equivalent of $1.36) in damages. While William has not publicly addressed the lawsuit — or any other accusations made in Harry & Meghan — Knauf denied the couple’s claims.
“In response to allegations that Mr. Knauf submitted a voluntary witness statement in connection with the Daily Mail litigation with the consent of Prince William’s office, a representative for Mr. Knauf sent the following statement. “These claims are entirely false,” read a statement shown in the doc. “Mr. Knauf was asked to provide evidence by both the Duchess of Sussex and Associate 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.”
The duchess’ legal team responded with a statement of their own: “The legal team for Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, disputes this claim. Mr. Knauf was not asked to provide a witness statement by the duchess or her team. Nor do her attorneys believe Mr. Knauf remained ‘neutral’ by submitting a witness statement relied on by Associated Newspapers whilst working for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.”
All six episodes of Harry & Meghan are now streaming on Netflix.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi