An author has claimed that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle carried out “loyalty tests” on staff during their time in Buckingham Palace, in a bid to see if the workers were “still fighting for them”.

Times royal correspondent Valentine Low discusses in his new book Courtiers: the Hidden Power Behind the Crown how these “tests” were initially brought forward by Harry, 38, before dating Meghan, 41, to check if the staff had “Palace syndrome”.

According to Mr Low, this referred to whether staff had been “institutionalised” by the royal household, and the author claims workers nicknamed themselves the “Sussex Survivors’ Club” following the tests.

Appearing on Good Morning Britain to promote his book, Mr Low said: “This was brewing for a long time — before Meghan. Harry had this obsession with the media. He was so very unhappy.”

In his book, the journalist wrote: “[Harry] would use this phrase the whole time, 'the palace syndrome', when you won't fight the battles he wants, because you have been institutionalised.

“Giving in to the media was a key symptom of whether you had developed it.

“It was a constant test of loyalty: 'Are you going to protect me? Or have you just become one of them, who won't fight for me?' It was exhausting.”

Mr Low said the loyalty tests got more intense as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex began living together at the palace.

He explains in his book: “Harry's obsession with the media; his sense of frustration that he wasn't achieving everything that he could; his mistrust of the courtiers in the other households; the constant loyalty tests of his own staff: all of this was there before Meghan arrived on the scene.

“But after she turned up, it would get significantly worse.”

OK! has contacted the Duke and Duchess' representatives for comment.

Discussing further about the “Sussex Survivors’ Club” he claimed was formed, Mr Low said on GMB that staff were left “completely destroyed” by their treatment in the palace.

The author described the time as “a very difficult experience” for the staff as he said they revealed to him that they were left “feeling sick” from their encounters with the Duke and Duchess.

Mr Low did mention though that the courtiers were responsible for the royals’ exit in 2020, as he added: '”There is a way in which the courtiers are to blame.

"There were signs early on, in the first year of their marriage, of how unhappy Harry and Meghan were.

“And no one really did anything about that. No one picked it up, no one flagged it up and there were no big discussions with the most senior courtiers in the institution.”

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