Prince Harry criticises media intrusion into new girlfriend’s life

Statement says actor Meghan Markle has been ‘subject to a wave of abuse and harassment’

Britain’s Prince Harry has alleged that the media is intruding into the private life of his new American girlfriend, actor Meghan Markle.  Photograph:  PA Wire.

Britain’s Prince Harry has alleged that the media is intruding into the private life of his new American girlfriend, actor Meghan Markle. Photograph: PA Wire.

 

Prince Harry has accused the media of engaging in racist and sexist smears in a “wave of abuse and harassment” aimed at his girlfriend, Meghan Markle. In an unusually detailed and forthright statement, Kensington Palace said the media’s treatment of Markle “crossed a line”, adding that the prince feared for her safety.

The statement, which offered the first official confirmation of their relationship, followed two weeks of frenzied speculation about the prince and the American actor, whose father is white and her mother black, and who is best known for her role in the TV crime series Suits.

“Since he was young, Prince Harry has been very aware of the warmth that has been extended to him by members of the public. He feels lucky to have so many people supporting him and knows what a fortunate and privileged life he leads,” it said.

“He is also aware that there is significant curiosity about his private life. He has never been comfortable with this, but he has tried to develop a thick skin about the level of media interest that comes with it.”

The palace said that the prince had never taken formal action against the media, even when they published stories about his private life which were untrue.

“But the past week has seen a line crossed. His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment. Some of this has been very public – the smear on the front page of a national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments,” it said.

Paparazzi

Markle’s ex-boyfriend has been offered money to talk about her and “nearly every friend, co-worker, and loved one in her life” has been bombarded by the press, according to the palace.

“Prince Harry is worried about Ms Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her. It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms Markle should be subjected to such a storm. He knows commentators will say this is ‘the price she has to pay’ and that ‘this is all part of the game’. He strongly disagrees. This is not a game – it is her life and his,” it said.

The statement did not identify the media organisations it blamed for intrusion into Prince Harry’s private life but the Sun and the Daily Mail, Britain’s biggest-selling tabloids, have carried some of the more excitable reports and comment pieces. The Sun ran a headline suggesting that Markle had appeared on a porn site, when in fact a clip from Suits she appeared in had been uploaded to the site.

The Mail on Sunday carried a comment piece by Rachel Johnson which drew attention to the actor’s “exotic” racial background. “Genetically, she is blessed. If there is issue from her alleged union with Prince Harry, the Windsors will thicken their watery, thin blue blood and Spencer pale skin and ginger hair with some rich and exotic DNA,” it said.