Prince Harry has confirmed his much speculated relationship with American actress Meghan Markle in an attack on the media’s “sexist” and “racist” treatment of his girlfriend.
Confirmation of the relationship came in the form of a public plea issued by Kensington Palace late Tuesday night (AEDT), in which Prince Harry called on the media to treat his girlfriend and her family respectfully.
Markle’s mother is African-American.
“His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment,” the statement read. “Prince Harry is worried about Ms Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her.
The statement slammed: “the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments.
“It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms Markle should be subjected to such a storm.
“He has asked for this statement to be issues in the hopes that those in the press … can pause and reflect before any further damage is done.”
Read the full statement:
Kensington Palace has issued a statement this morning about the harassment currently being experienced by Meghan Markle and her family. pic.twitter.com/EuFZ4fmUIj
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) November 8, 2016
The rare public plea for decency was a surprise from Prince Harry, who is obviously outraged by how news of his relationship has been covered.
The racism accusations in Prince Harry’s statement seemed to be taking aim at an article by the Daily Mail UK, which announced that “Harry’s girl is (almost) straight outta Compton: Gang-scarred home of her mother revealed – so who will be dropping by for tea?”
The article went onto detail that: “there have been a total of 21 crimes in the immediate area around Highgrove over the past 12 months, 47 have taken place in Crenshaw in the last week alone – including murder and robbery.”
Marcella grew up in Crenshaw and her mother still lives there.
Markle – an actress and model – is best known for her role in American legal drama Suits.
Like Prince Harry, she is a keen human rights campaigner and has visited Afghanistan to support US forces and their families.
It is believed she met Prince Harry while he was in Canada (where she lives) promoting his Invictus Games for disabled servicemen earlier this year.
Markle was previously married to film producer Trevor Engelson in 2011, however the pair split two years later.
Prince Harry has been linked to a string of women for several years since his last serious relationship in 2014.
In June, The Daily Mail reported nine of Prince Harry’s possible previous flings, most notably pop star Ellie Goulding.
Kate’s sister Pippa was also being shipped around as a possible suitor for the Prince in 2011.
Rumours started shortly after the royal wedding five years ago, when Harry and Pippa were pictured in a London bar – which turned out to be a hoax.
– with reporting by James Ried