A palace staffer who accused the Duchess of Sussex of bullying will step down from running the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the end of the year. Jason Knauf, who joined Kensington Palace in 2015, will be moving abroad at the end of the year. The Duke and Duchess paid tribute to Knauf as “an integral part” of their team.
In a statement, the Cambridges said in full: “Jason has been an integral part of our team since 2015.
“We are immensely grateful for his hard work and commitment, both at The Royal Foundation and previously as our communications secretary. Since taking over as chief executive, Jason has driven positive change, making our vision for our charitable work and the causes that matter most to us a reality.“
“We are sad to see him go but wish him all the very best in his future career. We look forward to launching the recruitment search shortly and welcoming a new chief executive later on this year.”
Knauf added that working with the Duke and Duchess had been a “privilege” of his career. “I will always be grateful for the opportunity I have had to support their leadership in the UK and internationally. The months ahead will be the busiest time in the foundation’s history with the first awards for the Earthshot Prize and more progress on our early childhood work. We have a lot to do with our amazing team and all of our partners.”Embed from Getty Images
In October 2018, Knauf wrote an email accusing the Duchess of Sussex of bullying. “I am very concerned that the Duchess was able to bully two PAs out of the household in the past year. The treatment of X [name removed] was totally unacceptable. The Duchess seems intent on always having someone in her sights. She is bullying Y [name removed] and seeking to undermine her confidence. We have had report after report from people who have witnessed unacceptable behavior towards Y [name removed].”
When the allegations were published, a spokesperson for the Sussexes 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.”
Knauf also got involved in Meghan’s lawsuit against the U.K. tabloid the Mail on Sunday over a letter she sent her father in August 2018, two months before Knauf wrote the email. In court, it was found the Duchess asked for his feedback, advising her to mention her father’s health in a handwritten note. He claims he did not write the letter and did not own the copyright.
The American-born former corporate affairs executive has worked for a wide range of institutions including the office of the New Zealand Prime Minister, HM Treasury, and the Royal Bank of Scotland. He worked as the communications secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge before leading the press team for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. In March 2019, he also led a review of the Royal Foundation’s role and structure; he became its chief executive in September of that year.
He also oversaw the launch of the Earthshot Prize, the Duke’s £50 million environmental prize, the Duchess’s continued early childhood work, and the foundation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.