Toya Holness started working for the couple as their press secretary in October 2020 and has been promoted twice, first to global press secretary in April 2021, and then again three months later.
There has been no official public announcement and her LinkedIn profile still records her as working for Archewell, based in Los Angeles. No reason has been offered and the newspaper simply said the two had “recently parted company.”
However, the Daily Mail is among publications to connect her reported departure to a spate of royal resignations during Meghan and Harry’s time at the palace.
The British media went through a phase of counting turnover from the couple’s staff after a leak to U.K. broadsheet The Sunday Times in December 2018 suggested Meghan was difficult to work for.
The story, which nicknamed her “Duchess Difficult,” was published weeks after a famous account of Meghan making Kate cry at a bridesmaid’s dress fitting, which Meghan would later tell Oprah Winfrey was false in her March 2021 tell-all interview.
The Duchess of Sussex said that by January 2019 she told Harry negative media coverage had left her feeling suicidal.
Ultimately, it emerged that Jason Knauf, Kensington Palace press secretary, emailed a superior in October 2018 accusing her of bullying two PAs out of the royal household.
Meghan has denied bullying her staff, and when Knauf’s message was leaked to U.K. broadsheet The Times ahead of the Oprah interview, a spokesperson for the couple 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.”
There is nothing to suggest Holness had a bad experience while working for the duke and duchess, or was in any way forced out.
The Daily Mail ran the May 22 headline: “Prince Harry and Meghan Markle ‘lose ANOTHER key aide’: Couple’s global press secretary at Archewell Foundation steps down – the latest of at least 12 of their top staff to leave since 2018.”
Meanwhile, OK! magazine began its write-up: “Another one bites the dust.”
Holness was one of Harry and Meghan’s early U.S. hires after the couple initially retained James Holt, a U.K. aide who worked with them during their time at the palace.
They initially worked alongside each other until Holt became executive director of Archewell.
In 2021, the Sussexes brought in Miranda Barbot, who previously worked for Barack Obama‘s team, and in May 2022 it emerged they had hired Ashley Momtaheni, former vice-president of global communication at Universal.
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