The 39-year-old duchess’ former childhood boyfriend Joshua Silverstein told Us Weekly exclusively that he doesn’t “personally see her” mistreating royal staffers as alleged in a March 2 report by The Times.
“I see her doing whatever it is she feels like she should do in order to be happy and coexist within a system that has probably not been very welcoming to who she is and where she comes from,” Silverstein added.
The Braid Theater performance artist continued, “When you find women of color — particularly Black women — standing up for themselves and speaking out and speaking against what they feel [is] disrespect or oppression, often times whiteness tends to classify that in negative ways because they don’t want that to happen. It’s almost like people are expected to know their place and whenever they don’t fall in line with that, then people say it’s a problem.”
Shortly after it was confirmed that the Suits alum and her 36-year-old husband were not returning as working royals, aides claimed that they had been bullied while the couple were living at Kensington Palace. The Times was told that staffers were reduced to tears and couldn’t “stop shaking” following a confrontation with the Los Angeles native.
A rep for Meghan fired back at the allegations in a statement to Us, noting, “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.”
The spokesperson added that the Archewell cofounder “is determined to continue her work building compassion around the world and will keep striving to set an example for doing what is right and doing what is good.”
Buckingham Palace announced on March 3 that they would be launching an investigation into the claims, asserting in a statement that the royal household “does not and will not tolerate bullying or harassment in the workplace.”
Meghan’s friends and former colleagues, including Suits alum Patrick J. Adams, stepped up to defend the philanthropist after the accusations made headlines. To some in the Sussexes’ inner circle, the timing of the report appeared suspicious, as the couple’s CBS tell-all was set to air days later. “The palace knows that they will not be cast in the best light by Harry and Meghan on Sunday and doesn’t want Harry and Meghan coming off as victims,” a source exclusively told Us.
During the sit-down, which debuted on March 7, the royal couple detailed their decision to step back from their senior duties, claiming that they felt “a lack of support and lack of understanding” from Harry’s family. They also claimed that racism toward Meghan in the British press was a large part of why they left their posts.
“If members of his family say, ‘Well, this is what happened to all of us’ or if they can compare what the experience that I went through was similar to what has been shared with us — [Duchess] Kate was called ‘Waity Katie’ waiting to marry William,” Meghan said in an unaired clip from the interview. “While I imagine that was really hard, and I do, I can’t picture what that felt like. This is not the same. … Rude and racist are not the same.”
Silverstein, who will be conducting a summer session at Cazadero Performing Arts Family Camp, doesn’t think the “scrutiny” and “negative criticism” will disappear now that Meghan and Harry have settled in California. However, he’s happy to see the couple choosing what they think is in their best interest.
“She’s probably having to make hard decisions and uncomfortable ones for the sake of just being able to smile the next day. That’s what life is about — making tough decisions so that you can live the life that allows you to thrive as the person you want to thrive as,” he said. “As long as she’s happy and he’s happy, that’s all that matters.”
With reporting by Diana Cooper
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