MEGHAN Markle appeared to claim royal officials insisted on being in the room when she spoke to Oprah Winfrey on the phone.
The duchess made the comments in a preview clip of her explosive interview with Oprah, which is due to air on Sunday night in the UK.
Oprah said she called Meghan at the start of 2018 – right before her wedding to Prince Harry – to ask her for an interview.
Meghan turned the TV host down, saying that it was “not the right time”.
Now three years on, Meghan told Oprah: “I remember that conversation very well.
“I wasn’t even allowed to have that conversation with you personally, right.
“There had to be people sitting there.”
Oprah asked Meghan what the difference was between turning her down three years ago and agreeing to be interviewed now.
Meghan said: “We’re on the other side of a lot of life experience that’s happened.
“And also that we have the ability to make our own choices in a way that I couldn’t have said yes to you then. That wasn’t my choice to make.
“So as an adult who lived a really independent life to then go into this construct that’s different than I think what people imagine it to be, it’s really liberating to be able to have the right and the privilege in some ways to be able to say yes.”
The duchess said she was glad that she could now “speak for herself”.
Oprah also asked Meghan: “Were you silent or were you silenced?” – hinting at division between the former TV star and the Royal Family.
The full two-hour interview will screen on Sunday night at 1am UK time, before ITV shows it the following evening at 9pm.
And the new footage from the ‘tell-all’ interview, filmed in California last month, will be shown on American breakfast show CBS This Morning between 12pm and 2pm UK time.
As ordered by the Queen, Buckingham Palace is investigating claims Meghan “humiliated” female aides and drove them to quit.
The Duchess strongly denies the claims.
Former aides who worked with Meghan and Harry are lining up to to share their experiences in the investigation, the Mirror reports.
The former royal aides are reportedly prepared to offer their help in the bullying investigation after being reassured of confidentiality by the Palace.
Sources connected to the group of aides said they were all considered to be “hugely professional and proud of their efforts” while working at Kensington Palace.
One said: “A group of people are queuing up to be involved. They have been silent for too long and there is much to talk about.”
Senior royals are understood to be “dismayed” at reports that female staff had been reduced to tears, with one aide telling a colleague ahead of a row with Meghan: “I can’t stop shaking.”
Buckingham Palace issued a statement on Wednesday saying it is “very concerned” by the bullying accusations, first reported in The Times.
Palace sources said the Queen was “completely right” to order the probe “in the face of new allegations”.
A Palace spokesman told HOAR last night it had nothing further to add at this point.
Allegations about bullying were lodged by one of Harry and Meghan’s most senior advisors, Jason Knauf.
Mr Knauf, who worked as communications secretary to Harry and Meghan and now heads the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s charitable foundation, alleged: “I am very concerned that the duchess was able to bully two PAs out of the household in the past year. The treatment of [X] was totally unacceptable.
“The duchess seems intent on always having someone in her sights. She is bullying Y and seeking to undermine her confidence.
“We have had report after report from people who have witnessed unacceptable behaviour towards [Y].”
In response to the reports, Meghan and Harry accused the Queen’s staff of orchestrating a “calculated smear campaign” ahead of their explosive two-hour interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Just hours before the bombshell interview is due to be screened, Prince William and Kate Middleton will join a rare TV special with the Queen.