THE director of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Archewell foundation has left after just a year – weeks after Buckingham Palace launched a probe into claims the Duchess bullied royal staff.
Catherine St-Laurent took on the role in April last year – but it's been revealed today she's no longer with the charity.
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She worked for Bill Gates' charitable ventures for eight years before joining Archewell.
The news emerged just weeks after the Duchess of Sussex, 39, was accused of bullying palace staff in an email from her former press secretary which was sent in October 2018 and later leaked to The Times.
It comes as:
- Meghan could face a fresh privacy court battle as a judge allows a newspaper to appeal
- Meghan and Harry's wedding certificate proves they didn't marry three days early
- The couple made a 'particularly dangerous claim' about the Queen during their Oprah chat
- Prince William ‘does not feel trapped’ in Royal Family – despite Prince Harry’s claims that he’s ‘stuck in the system’
- William and Harry went for ‘long walk to try to clear the air’ after the Megxit summit but ‘didn’t part as friends’
Multilingual Ms St-Laurent's Linkedin page still reads: "I am currently acting as Chief of Staff to The Duke and Duchess of Sussex as well as Executive Director of their non-profit, Archewell Foundation."
There has not yet been a statement on why she no longer works for Harry and Meghan, but rumours abound that James Holt, their UK rep, is coming to the US.
And the Duke and Duchess today confirmed they've hired veteran producer Ben Browning as head of content for Archewell Productions and Archewell Audio.
Mr Browning, who will lead the charity's creative partnerships with Netflix and Spotify, was just nominated for five Academy Awards, including best picture.
COUPLE HIRE OSCAR-NOMINATED PRODUCER FOR NETFLIX DEAL
At the time of Ms St-Laurent's appointment last year, Meghan and Harry said: “We are proud to be joined by Catherine St-Laurent in this next chapter with us.
“Her leadership and proven track record working within two organisations that have tremendous impact in the world – the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Pivotal Ventures – make her an incredible asset and we’re excited to have her on our team.”
The news comes just weeks after allegations resurfaced that Meghan had "bullied" staff.
In November 2018 The Sun revealed Kate and Meghan had a falling out over the way the American princess had spoken to staff.
Meghan’s former PA Melissa Touabti quit her role at the same time after reports she had been “reduced to tears” by the Duchess of Sussex’s demands.
The French assistant, who had previously worked “happily” for Robbie Williams, resigned after just six months in the job.
Just weeks later, Harry and Meghan’s shared private secretary and top aide Samantha Cohen resigned after 17 years working for the royal family.
In January 2019, Meghan’s female bodyguard of six months, who has never been named for security reasons, also quit, and in June 2019 The Sun also told how Meghan had gone through three nannies in just six weeks after baby son Archie was born.
Meghan’s assistant private secretary Amy Pickerall and Harry’s private secretary Heather Wong also left their team that month.
Most recently, The Times reported claims from Meghan's ex employee Jason Knauf.
He said in emails he was "very concerned" that Meghan "was able to bully two PAs out of the household".
A pair of senior staff members came forward last month claiming they had been bullied by Meghan.
And another former aide complained they had been personally "humiliated" by the Duchess, who allegedly also bullied two other members of staff.
Meghan strongly denies the allegations, branding them a "calculated smear campaign".
However, the Queen launched a probe into the allegations and the Palace released a statement saying they were "very concerned" and would be investigating.
The Palace has since reportedly decided to bring in a third-party law firm to conduct the investigation into bullying claims made by both current and former royal aides.
Who is Catherine St-Laurent?
Ms St-Laurent has an impressive CV
She worked with Melinda Gates' Pivotal Gates for five years.
But she's know the family for much longer, and was previously involved in communications for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for seven years.
Before that, Ms St-Laurent was based in London and Brussels as she worked for HSBC and Vero Communications.
She was involved in international sporting campaigns for Vero, including both Rio and PyeongChang's Olympic Games bids.
She joined the Archewell charity after Meghan and Harry laid off 15 members of staff in January 2020.
In a statement last year, she said: "From our very first conversation, Harry and Meghan have expressed a deep commitment to improving lives and having a positive impact on society.
"Their perspective on the role that empathy, connection, and compassion can play in that mission is both deeply personal and incredibly timely."
She was also appointed executive director of Travalyst, an eco-friendly travel venture led by Harry to be set up as a non-profit organisation in the UK.
But the venture has suffered a series of blows, not least with the reported resignation of 39-year-old Heather Wong.
Ms Wong was Harry's assistant private secretary and worked with the couple during Megxit.
Prince Harry launched the venue in September 2019, and brought together some of the biggest names within the travel industry – including Visa, Booking.com and Skyscanner.
Travalyst's aim is to help tourists pick low carbon options and choose destinations where tourism will benefit local communities.
Meghan's spokesperson 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."
The Duchess is understood to have demanded to see any documents, emails, and text messages related to the complaints.
The bullying claims were aired ahead of Meghan and Harry's tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey.
But the explosive chat was filmed before the accusations, meaning they weren't asked about them.
In the interview, Meghan revealed she had experienced suicidal thoughts during her time in the UK.
Meghan and Harry have not yet released a statement on Ms St-Laurent.
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