A big headline today because of a staffing change at House Cambridge. Jason Knauf has been a longtime aide to Prince William and Kate and his most recent role was CEO of the Cambridges’ Royal Foundation. Prior to that he was a member of their comms team. So he’s been around for a while, from before Prince Harry and Meghan Markle started dating. And I bring this up because even though Harry and Meghan did not get Jason in the divorce, and he continued on with the Cambridges, the coverage in the UK tabloids about his resignation has less to do with Cambridges than it does with the Sussexes.
This is because it was Jason who supposedly reported that Meghan was bullying staff members in 2018. And Jason who was implicated in the drama over the letter that she wrote to her father, Thomas Markle, that was then published without her consent in the Daily Mail. Now he’s quitting and it’s raising a lot of eyebrows.
So there’s the gossip, but there are also practical angles to this too. Like the fact that Jason’s partner has a job overseas and he’s relocating. Also royal salaries aren’t as attractive as corporate salaries – he could probably make a lot more money working at a firm of a different kind. Officially then this may be how his decision will be presented on the surface, and the royals would never admit to anything different. He wants to pursue other opportunities, they wish him well.
The gossip though?
First of all, tabloid narrative has always been that the Cambridges are a dream to work for and it was the Sussexes who were difficult and demanding. And if there were any departures from Harry and Meghan’s team, it would always be characterised in the UK papers as them losing staff members because they were impossible to please. Now that a senior House Cambridge staffer is quitting though, are people raising the same questions?
Because it has been a rough ride these last three years across the board with one sensational headline after another and that kind of working environment can be toxic; as much as the royal rota wants to pin all the toxicity on one couple, the Sussexes, remember they’ve been telling us that it’s all happy, happy, fun, fun with just Will and Kate around …and if Jason is leaving, maybe it isn’t all that happy, happy, fun, fun?
What’s interesting here is that, typically, “royal aides” are not usually named in royal headlines. Their job is to remain behind the scenes and if they’re working with the media, they’re referred to as “senior royal sources” or similar, but anonymous. Jason’s name was front and center in that bullying story though. None of it was confirmed on the record (because the royals think they can distance themselves from their media shenanigans) but someone from inside leaked it out, conveniently just days before the Television Event of the Year, featuring Harry and Meghan being interviewed by Oprah.
The timing of that drop was already sketchy as f-ck but it also, strategically, was a major miscalculation because it made the royals look desperate and even if it was true (and that’s a big IF) the Sussexes ended up dunking on them with Oprah when they revealed what a mess their whole operation is when Meghan reached out for mental health assistance and was rejected and when Harry told on them for how the royals get into bed with the likes of the Daily Mail and the Sun, which undermined the legitimacy of any of these leaks.
If you’re Jason Knauf though, and your name is splashed all over this f-cksh-t, it’s not ideal – an understatement. Remember, his job isn’t front-facing, and yet here he is having his name out there in a story accusing Meghan of bullying, which she not only denied but rerouted back in the royal direction, suggesting that SHE was the one who was being bullied…
That’s a lot of heat on Jason. Did he bring that heat on himself? Was he involved in these shenanigans and got burned?
Was he thrown into that heat, a pawn whose name was possibly volunteered (maybe involuntarily?) as a way to legitimise a sketchy story in a desperate attempt to counter the Sussex firepower…
Suddenly that workplace doesn’t seem so happy, happy, fun, fun. Especially if the workplace didn’t then protect you on the other side. I wouldn’t want to work somewhere that asked that of me and then didn’t have my back.
Not that that’s what went down. Surely that’s not how it went down. Jason’s last few years working with the royals was most definitely an awesome experience, they’re the best employers ever, and everyone is parting on wonderful terms.
Attached - Prince William visiting Croydon Custody Centre today in England.