Britain’s royal family is notoriously press-shy. Rarely do Prince William, Prince Harry, Prince Charles or the Queen herself go out of their way to seek publicity, particularly for anything personal.
Prince Harry just made an exception, saying that a line had been “crossed.” In a formal letter issued by Kensington Palace, Harry, 32, acknowledged that he has been dating the American actress Meghan Markle, 35, and said he feared for her safety due to “outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments.”
Markle has described herself as mixed race, with a Caucasian father and African-American mother—though her preferred answer to the “what are you?” question, is “I’m an actress, a writer, the Editor-in-Chief of my lifestyle brand The Tig, a pretty good cook and a firm believer in handwritten notes.” She stars in the TV legal drama Suits, where she plays Rachel Zane.
The statement also called out the press, in particular a “smear on the front page of a national newspaper; [and] the racial undertones of comment pieces.” According to the Guardian, the front page in question is thought to be this Nov. 4 edition of The Sun tabloid newspaper, Britain’s highest-circulation daily:
Among the examples of what the palace called a ”wave of abuse and harassment” are:
- Markle’s 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”
Harry “asked for this statement to be issued in the hopes that those in the press who have been driving this story can pause and reflect before any further damage is done,” the letter reads.
One British columnist called the coverage of the couple’s relationship a “feeding frenzy,” likening it to the intrusive press coverage of Harry’s late mother, Princess Diana, in the 1980s and 1990s—which some have blamed for her death, in a car crash as paparazzi pursued her.