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British Royal Family asks media to leave Prince Harry's girlfriend alone

“This is not a game – it is her life and his.”

Image: Ian West

THE BRITISH ROYAL Family has asked the media to respect the privacy of Prince Harry’s actress girlfriend Meghan Markle.

In a statement issued by Kensington Palace, the Prince says he is “worried about Ms Markle’s safety” after intense media scrutiny of their relationship.

The Prince’s relationship with the Suits actress became public knowledge last week, the two having met in the summer.

The statement says that Harry is “disappointed”  that he hasn’t “been able to protect” Markle.

It says that the idea that the two should accept harassment as the price of fame is wrong.

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 statement in full accuses the media and online coverage of being both racist and sexist.

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.
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. 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.

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.

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.
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.

He has 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.

He knows that it is unusual to issue a statement like this, but hopes that fair-minded people will understand why he has felt it necessary to speak publicly.

Prince Harry’s mother Princess Diana was subject to severe media attention up to her death in 1997 while being chased by paparazzi in Paris.

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