Meghan Markle "knew it would get ugly" ahead of her bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, according to her close friends.
The Duchess of Sussex, 39, has found herself at the centre of fresh accusations from two former palace staff members who claim to have been bullied by the former royal.
It reportedly led to both members of staff quitting their jobs – with other members of staff saying they were often left "terrified" and "shaking" amid disagreements in the royal household.
However Meghan – who is currently expecting her second child with husband Prince Harry – has hit back at the claims and accused royals of "perpetuating falsehoods".
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Now royal author Omid Scobie says Meghan's longtime friends told him "she knew it would get ugly" in the run-up to the tell-all interview.
Omid – who is the author of Finding Freedom: Harry And Meghan And The Making Of A Modern Royal Family – spoke with unnamed friends of the pair for a Harper's Bazaar article about the fresh allegations.
"Harry and Meghan knew that it would get ugly in the run up [to the Oprah special], but seeing such an obvious attempt at destroying her character was distressing and upsetting," a source told the author.
Meghan and Harry's tell-all interview with Oprah is set to air on Monday night in the UK
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"You can't ignore the timing of this," the source added. "This has been done to undermine her character or undermine the topics that they discuss on Sunday."
Meanwhile another source said: "They have had everything and the kitchen sink thrown at them this week, but ultimately nothing will stop them from sharing their truth."
Following the accusations of bullying behaviour about Meghan, her friend told the author that it's "so far from the woman I know".
In one clip, Oprah is heard telling Meghan it appeared "almost unsurvivable, sounds like there was a breaking point"
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They said: "I hate to say it, but find me a woman of colour in a senior position who has not been accused of being too angry, too scary, too water in the workplace.
"It's sad that it's happening, but I'm not surprised."
According to royal commentator and co-author of the Duke and Duchess's biography Finding Freedom, a source said Meghan was left "speechless" by the accusations.
In response to the bullying allegations, 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."
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"She 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," the spokesperson added.
The Mirror has contacted Meghan's reps for further comment.
The interview with the revered television host is expected to lift the lid on Harry and Meghan's short period as working royals together before they stepped down for a life in America.
It is aired for the first time in America tomorrow and will be shown on ITV for a UK audience on Monday.
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