In an extraordinarily blunt interview, Meghan Markle's sister has claimed the Duchess isn't a humanitarian, is PR-obsessed, and is walking away from royal duties as she doesn't want to be held accountable.
Samantha Markle - Meghan's half-sister via father Thomas - spoke to ITV's This Morning show on Friday in the aftermath of Meghan and Prince Harry's shocking decision to stand down from senior royal duties.
There has long been a rift between Meghan and other members of her family, with scandal after scandal before and since she married into the British royal family. That included speculation over whether Thomas faked a heart attack for press attention and, more recently, the publication of a letter from Meghan to Thomas that lead to a lawsuit.
Questioned about her thoughts on Meghan's recent behaviour, including fleeing from the United Kingdom to Canada and posing for pictures with workers at a Vancouver women's centre, Samantha said the Duchess wasn't the charitable, compassionate woman she wanted people to see her as.
"She is someone else. When I saw that, it felt like a PR stunt. My first question was how many coats and pairs of boots were the women that at the shelter given, what we the donations like?" she told ITV.
"Public events are helpful and raise awareness but really people in desperate crisis situations need resources and help. In absence of that, I just felt it was absolutely PR orientated."
The Daily Mail reported on Saturday (NZ time) that Markle never met any of the vulnerable women at the Downtown Eastside Women Centre and only went into an office to see staff. Acting executive director Kate Gibson said as only women were allowed in the centre where the at-risk clients were, Meghan's security wouldn't have been allowed in.
Samantha believes Meghan enjoyed being a royal when the public were in love with her and she could fit in with her "contrived British accent", but when things went sour, she took off.
"It was all seemingly great and wonderful then, but when the public began to criticise some of the expenditures, and the behaviours and protocols that had been broken, the tune changed," the sister said.
In the aftermath of Prince Harry and Meghan's decision to step back, become financially independent and split their time between the United Kingdom and Canada, some said Meghan - whose mother is African-American - had been bullied out due to racism.
Samantha says that is ridiculous and was just a stunt for Meghan to avoid scrutiny.
"Quite shocking and hurtful that the issue of racism would ever come out. I never saw anything that was racist in nature. It seemed like a misplacement of blame to avoid accountability for many things," she said.
"It was a gross breach of duty and responsibility and honour and confidence that had been placed on her.
"I'm feeling as though it was her decision [for the couple to step back] because she wasn't happy with the criticism which was taking place publicly."
Speaking to Good Morning Britain earlier this week, journalist Afua Hirsch said Meghan had been the subject of countless "racialised narratives" from her upbringing in areas of Los Angeles associated with gang violence, to her "exotic DNA".
Relationship with father
The sister has frequently spoken out as a critic of Meghan's, and when asked why, Samantha said it was about setting the record straight in the face of a campaign to humiliate and vilify her side of the family.
"As [Meghan] progressively behaved in ways that I felt were inconsistent with the definition of humanitarian I became more outspoken.
"Yes, I feel vindicated but under the circumstances with so many people being hurt by this, our family and the British royal family, it's not always a good thing being right, it is somewhat sad."
She also warned that Thomas, who will give evidence against Meghan in the upcoming court battle over the publication of the letter she sent him, may be about to drop a bombshell.
"He will have quite a bit to say soon."
Prince Harry and Meghan argue the letter's public release was a "misuse of private information, infringement of copyright and beach of Data Protection Act 2018".
Announcing the legal action, the Prince Harry invoked his mother, Princess Diana, who died in a car crash being chased by paparazzi.
"My deepest fear is history repeating itself. I've seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces."
He said he and his wife respect "media freedom and objective, truthful reporting", but claimed Markle has become a victim of tabloid press "that wages campaigns against individuals with no thought to the consequences - a ruthless campaign".
Samantha said it wasn't her place though to speculate over whether there could be reconciliation between Meghan and her father, only saying Thomas was a good father who really wants to meet his grandson, Archie.
Samantha's message to Meghan was to not focus on the material things.
"Life is very short. In the big picture, the money and the fame don't really matter. What matters is personal integrity, honesty, family and so I would hope that she would come to grips with that [and] apologise."
Staff at Frogmore Cottage
The shocking interview comes as reports emerge that members of Prince Harry and Meghan staff are being shunted from their jobs at Frogmore Cottage as the royal couple look to go overseas.
Sources close to the royal family cited by British media outlets say following Harry and Meghan's announcement at least two permanent employees have been removed from their staffing roster.
A house manager and a cleaner at the pair's taxpayer-funded, recently renovated Frogmore Cottage are being displaced and told they must now work within the Queen's household. According to The Daily Mail, other staff who work on an "ad hoc basis" have been told their "services are no longer required" at Frogmore.
"This has all come as a bit of shock. They took great pride in working for them and being at Frogmore."
However, other sources speaking to CNN and Insider say this isn't something that should be read too far into. They say staff are often "redeployed" in "quiet periods".
But this quiet period may have been spurred on by Meghan's decision to leave the UK, with Prince Harry expected to travel across the pond in the coming days.