Prince Harry has attacked the media over its “abuse and harassment” of his girlfriend, US actress Meghan Markle, warning: “This is not a game - it is her life.”
Kensington Palace issued a lengthy and strongly-worded statement saying that a “line had been crossed” over the treatment of the Suits star.
His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassmentJason Knauf
The prince’s communications secretary Jason Knauf said his Toronto-based girlfriend, who is of mixed race, had experienced racism, sexism and attempts by members of the press to get into her home.
“Prince Harry is worried about Ms Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her,” Mr Knauf said. “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.”
The unprecedented and emotional plea marks the first official confirmation that the pair are an item.
Mr Knauf said 32-year-old Harry has, since a child, been very aware of the warmth of public feeling towards him and had to “develop a thick skin” about press interest in his private life, but asked for the statement to be issued to prevent any further damage.
“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.
“Some of it has been hidden from the public – the nightly legal battles to keep defamatory stories out of papers; her mother having to struggle past photographers in order to get to her front door; the attempts of reporters and photographers to gain illegal entry to her home and the calls to police that followed; the substantial bribes offered by papers to her ex-boyfriend; the bombardment of nearly every friend, co-worker, and loved one in her life.”