Meghan Markle was accused of bullying by an aide who some fans have now suggested contributed to her miscarriage.
Prince Harry said in the Netflix show Harry & Meghan, which came out in December 2022, he believed Meghan’s miscarriage was caused by stress from a lawsuit Meghan filed against U.K. tabloid The Mail on Sunday.
Jason Knauf, who served as Kensington Palace communications secretary from 2015 until 2019, submitted evidence in the lawsuit, prompting some on social media to link his involvement to the loss of Meghan’s pregnancy.
Twitter account @ArchewellBaby sought to link Knauf to Meghan’s miscarriage after King Charles III named him in the honors list and Prince William personally conducted the ceremony that made him a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order.
A tweet viewed 1.2 million times and liked more than 8,000 times read: “After Prince William accepted millions secretly from Rupert Murdoch while Harry takes him to court, today he honored Jason Knauf, who contributed to Meghan’s miscarriage by collaborating with the Daily Mail.
“Prince Harry dug a grave with his bare hands for his unborn child.”
For context, the tweet’s 1.2 million views are a little less than double the circulation of The Mail on Sunday, which as recently as March 2023 stood at an average of 659,454 copies per weekly edition, according U.K. media data agency ABC.
Prince Harry did link Meghan’s miscarriage to The Mail on Sunday lawsuit and Knauf did offer evidence to the U.K. Court of Appeal as part of that case but the timelines do not match up.
Harry and Meghan’s Netflix series was also clear about the cause of the anxiety and it did not relate to Knauf’s participation in the lawsuit.
Meghan first identified the date of her miscarriage in her November 2020 New York Times essay “The Losses We Share.”
“It was a July  morning that began as ordinarily as any other day,” she wrote. “I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second.”
At the time, in the summer of 2020, during a lawsuit at the High Court in London, The Mail on Sunday had applied to make public the names of five of Meghan’s friends who had defended her from British tabloid attacks in anonymous interviews to the magazine People.
Meghan was suing the the paper over the publication of a private letter she sent her father and the outlet’s lawyers were arguing that the story served the public interest because it corrected, they said, an inaccurate account presented by the friends.
In the Netflix show, Meghan said she wanted to keep her friends’ names secret: “I said ‘absolutely not’ and I just felt it was important to protect them in the way they are trying to protect me and that was right in the same week we moved into our home in Santa Barbara.”
“The first morning that we woke up in our new home is when I miscarried,” she added.
Prince Harry told Netflix: “I believe my wife suffered a miscarriage because of what The Mail did. I watched the whole thing.
“Now, do we absolutely know that the miscarriage was created, caused by that? ‘Course we don’t.”
Medical experts, including the website of Britain’s National Health Service, suggest anxiety does not directly lead to an increased risk of miscarriage, but it is not possible to say definitively whether Harry is right or wrong.
Still, he made no mention of Knauf and nor did Meghan.
Knauf did give a statement in the lawsuit but not until 2021, a year later. The first hint he might have relevant information, according to several statements, did not come until September 2020, two months after Meghan miscarried. For context, Knauf is the same palace staffer who wrote an email in October 2018 accusing the duchess of bullying two personal assistants out of Kensington Palace.
A witness statement from Mail on Sunday editor Ted Verity, signed on December 4, 2020, and seen by Newsweek outlined the timeline: “I have recently had a meeting with a senior member of the royal household (‘the source’). The meeting took place in person less than three months ago.”
He added: “The information the source gave me included the following: There were several drafts of the Letter (as defined above).
“Jason Knauf, a member of the Kensington Palace communications team, worked on
those drafts with [Meghan]. A lot of the tweaking of the drafts was done by electronic means of communication.”
Mail on Sunday lawyer Keith Mathieson submitted an October 2021 witness statement, also seen by Newsweek, clarifying: “The [Mail on Sunday] sought to make contact with Mr Knauf in September 2020 after being told by a source that he (Mr Knauf) had relevant evidence to give on important aspects of the case.”
He added that the newspaper was “informed by the source that Mr Knauf had evidence to give that was helpful to the [Mail on Sunday’s] case.”
Knauf’s witness statement was not finally submitted until September 16, 2021, even though his attorney, from law firm Addleshaw Goddard, had informed the court in December 2020 that he might be willing to testify.
His 2021 witness statement, seen by Newsweek, read: “As explained in a letter sent on my behalf by Addleshaw Goddard on 21 December 2020, I was prepared to provide evidence on several issues where my former job had made me privy to relevant events.”
He added: “I have adopted a position of neutrality throughout, offering to provide information that I am advised is relevant to both parties.”
That, though, was five months after Meghan’s miscarriage, which occurred in July 2020.
Knauf handed over private emails and text messages sent between him and Meghan which showed she had authorized him to supply information to the authors of biography Finding Freedom, a fact her lawyers had denied in court, as part of the aforementioned lawsuit.
The saga prompted Meghan to apologize in her own witness statement in November 2021: “I did not have the benefit of seeing these emails and I apologize to the Court for the fact that I had not remembered these exchanges at the time. I had absolutely no wish or intention to mislead [The Mail on Sunday] or the Court.”
The film crew making the Netflix docuseries Harry & Meghan captured Meghan’s distressed reaction to learning of Knauf’s evidence while in the company of the former head of her Archewell Foundation, Mandana Dayani. Dayani joined Archewell in June 2021, nearly a year after the miscarriage.
Jason Knauf did give evidence to Meghan’s lawsuit against The Mail on Sunday and his contribution was no doubt unwelcome, as footage captured by her Netflix documentary suggests.
However, his evidence did not emerge until 2021 and the first indication he might provide it was only known privately to The Mail on Sunday‘s editor, in September 2020, two months after her miscarriage in July 2020. Knauf’s willingness to testify was flagged a further two months after that, in December 2020.
Meanwhile, Meghan and Harry’s own account of the anxiety she experienced at the time of her miscarriage relates to the newspaper’s attempts to name her five friends, a matter that did not seemingly involve Knauf or the palace.
FACT CHECK BY NEWSWEEK