I’m not difficult, I’m particular, says the Duchess of Sussex Golie Mark

Duchess of Sussex

Duchess of Sussex

The Duchess of Sussex has said being “particular” does not make her difficult, as she describes how she believes her management style has been seen through the stereotype of the “angry black woman”.

The Duchess said she had to remind herself that “setting boundaries” and saying what she needed did not make her “demanding” or “difficult” but “clear”.

Speaking during a podcast episode in which she examines the “archetype” of the “angry black woman”, she claims she finds herself “cowering and tiptoeing” into rooms for fear of being misunderstood.

While in the UK as a working member of the Royal family, the Duchess faced accusations of bullying for her management style, with a formal complaint made about her behaviour towards staff.

The findings of a report into that behaviour have never been made public, with the Duchess insisting through her lawyers that she was not a bully.

On the latest episode of her Spotify podcast, she sets out to “ask honest questions about the judgements we make about women, and specifically women of colour” in interviews with actress Issa Rae and comedian Ziwe.

In it, the Duchess disclosed she had recently been looking into her own genealogy, finding she is “43 per cent Nigerian” and promising she is “going to start to dig deeper into all this” after hearing the positive reactions from Nigerian women she has told.

Duchess of Sussex - Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage

Duchess of Sussex – Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImage

In a discussion over how black women in the workplace can be “misconceived”, the Duchess said of her own style: “I’m particular. I think a rising tide raises all ships. We’re all going to succeed so let’s make sure it’s really great – it’s a shared success.

“But I also know that I will find myself cowering and tiptoeing into a room where… the thing that I find the most embarrassing when you’re saying a sentence with the intonation goes up like it’s a question?

“And you’re like, oh my God, stop! Stop, like, whispering and tiptoeing around it. Just say what it is that you need.

“You’re allowed to set a boundary. You’re allowed to be clear, does not make you demanding. It does not make you difficult, it makes you clear.”

Allegations about the Duchess’s behaviour at Kensington Palace were first made in writing in Oct 2018, when the couple’s then-press secretary wrote to their private secretary, outlining his concern “that the Duchess was able to bully two PAs out of the household in the past year”.

Calling the treatment of one member of staff “totally unacceptable”, Jason Knauf said there had been “unacceptable behaviour” towards a second, including “bullying” and “seeking to undermine her confidence”.

A spokesman for Buckingham Palace said at the time that they were “clearly very concerned” about the allegations, but a subsequent investigation by an independent law firm has not made public its results.

The Duchess has always denied the allegations, with a spokesman calling it a “smear campaign” and saying she was “saddened by this latest attack on her character, particularly as someone who has been the target of bullying herself”.

Her lawyer Jenny Afia, appearing in a television documentary in January 2022, claimed allegations of bullying are used “very freely” to damage “career women”.

“This narrative that no one could work for the Duchess of Sussex, that she was too difficult or demanding a boss, and that everyone had to leave, is just not true,” she said then.

During her podcast investigation into the stereotyping of black women, the Duchess said: “I think we could use a little more inspiration and an opportunity to try on what it feels like when we’re allowed to just live our truths.

“To be direct without being called angry, to exist on our own terms to just be human.”

The Duchess also revealed she has recently begun drinking coffee again, having given up while living in the UK.

When she was an actress on the set of Suits, she said, she drank “Nespresso all day, every day”.

“And then I didn’t drink it really in the UK,” she added.

Asked why she had recently resumed, Meghan said: “I guess because life started to come back? And so people started to come… when guests come or [I have] meetings and they’re like ‘oh would you like coffee?’”

New episodes of Archetypes are released on Spotify on Tuesdays.

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