Prince Harry leaps to his girlfriend's defence: 'our private lives are not a game'

Prince Harry lambasts media in defence of his girlfriend, Meghan Markle, through a statement in which he expresses fears for her safety

The prince said ‘a line has been crossed’ in reporting of his relationship with the 35-year-old American actor PHOTO: PA
The prince said ‘a line has been crossed’ in reporting of his relationship with the 35-year-old American actor PHOTO: PA

Prince Harry has taken a colossal stand for his girlfriend, American actress Meghan Markle, issuing a scolding statement addressing the press over their “wave of abuse and harassment” of her.

The unusual statement, issued by the Prince's Communications Secretary Jason Knauf, is the first official confirmation of their relationship, and claims that they have been together "a few months".

News of the rumored relationship emerged in the British press two weeks ago, and People reported the story on Nov. 1, pointing to the pair’s matching bracelets and shared love of animals, children and humanitarian work as evidence for their compatibility.

According to the UK’s Daily Express newspaper, the pair are rumored to have met in May when Harry was promoting the Invictus Games in Toronto, where Suits is filmed.

The Prince's statement lashed out at media intrusion, calling it out on the fact that was "not right" that Markle should be subjected to such treatment, as “this is not a game – it is her life and [Prince Harry’s]”.

“[Prince Harry] is … 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. He has rarely taken formal action on the very regular publication of fictional stories that are written about him and he has worked hard to develop a professional relationship with the media, focused on his work and the issues he cares about,” the statement read.

However, the finger that struck the chord seemed to be when the media shifted its attention to his California-born girlfriend, with a number of newspapers in recent days having carried front page stories about Markle, who is best known for playing Rachel Zane in the TV drama Suits. The internet has also proved to be not a very nice place for her, with the Prince’s statement making reference to racist and sexist comments. Another thing picked up on is that the alleged “abuse” seems to extend to those close to Markle, with reports of relatives and friends being continuously hassled by ambitious media workers hungry for the latest dirt on the 35-year-old actress.

Prince Harry has always made it clear that he loathes what he regards as intrusive media reporting of his private life, and he does not mince his words when it comes to his criticism of both mainstream and social media.

“… 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.”

The front page of last Wednesday's The Sun
The front page of last Wednesday's The Sun

On Wednesday, the Sun ran a headline above an interview with Markle’s sister, saying: “Don’t fall for my little sis Harry, she’d be the next princess pushy”. On Friday, it headlined a story on its front page “Harry’s girlfriend on Pornhub”, a reference to the internet pornography site.

The statement continues, expressing Prince Harry’s fears for Markle’s safety, claiming he 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 Markle should be subjected to such a storm,” it reiterated.

The Prince insisted that “this is not a game,” but it is their lives, and in a passionate, mediated plea, hoped that those in the press who have been driving this story could “pause and reflect before any further damage is done.”