Prince Harry hits out at me­dia ‘ha­rass­ment’ of new girl­friend Harry says press have crossed a line

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Bri­tain’s Prince Harry is­sued a rare state­ment yes­ter­day crit­i­ciz­ing the me­dia for in­trud­ing into the pri­vate life of his Amer­i­can girl­friend, ac­tress Meghan Markle, say­ing the press had sub­jected her to “a wave of abuse and ha­rass­ment”. Bri­tish news­pa­pers have been run­ning daily sto­ries about Markle since it emerged at the end of October that the 35-year-old ac­tress had been “se­cretly” dat­ing the prince, 32, the grand­son of Queen El­iz­a­beth, for sev­eral months.

Harry and his el­der brother Prince Wil­liam, the sec­ond in line to the throne, have had a strained re­la­tion­ship with the press ever since their mother, Princess Diana, was killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997 while be­ing chased by pa­parazzi on mo­tor­bikes. How­ever, the state­ment from his com­mu­ni­ca­tions sec­re­tary, which of­fi­cially con­firmed Harry and Markle’s re­la­tion­ship for the first time, con­tained an un­usu­ally strong condemnation of the press.

“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,” the state­ment said. “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.” Divorcee Markle is a na­tive of Los Angeles who stars in the le­gal drama “Suits”. Her fa­ther is white and her mother African-Amer­i­can.

Bribes

The state­ment said royal aides had fought nightly le­gal bat­tles to keep defam­a­tory sto­ries from ap­pear­ing in pa­pers. It also in­cluded a litany of al­leged of­fences by re­porters. Markle’s mother had been forced to strug­gle past me­dia camped out­side her front door, it said, and re­porters and pho­tog­ra­phers had tried to gain il­le­gal en­try to the mother’s home. In ad­di­tion, Markle’s ex-boyfriend had been of­fered sub­stan­tial bribes, it said, while “nearly ev­ery friend, co-worker, and loved one in her life” had been bom­barded by the press.

The prince un­der­stood he en­joyed a priv­i­leged life but was wor­ried about Markle’s safety and was “deeply dis­ap­pointed” he could not pro­tect her, the state­ment said. Harry, Wil­liam and Wil­liam’s wife Kate are a sta­ple of the front pages of Bri­tish news­pa­pers and gos­sip mag­a­zines, which pore over ev­ery as­pect of their lives. All three had their phones hacked by em­ploy­ees of the now-de­funct News of the World tabloid a decade ago. Wil­liam has also crit­i­cized in­tru­sions into Kate’s life be­fore they were mar­ried and at­tempts to take un­so­licited pic­tures of his young chil­dren, George and Char­lotte.

In 2012, the Sun de­fied the royal fam­ily and printed pic­tures of Harry ca­vort­ing naked in Las Vegas. “I think it’s fairly ob­vi­ous how far back (the mis­trust of the press) goes. It’s when I was very small,” Harry said in an in­ter­view in 2013. In the lat­est state­ment, he said he hoped “fair-minded” peo­ple would un­der­stand why he had now spo­ken out. “It is not right that a few months into a re­la­tion­ship with him that Ms Markle should be sub­jected to such a storm,” the state­ment said. “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.”— Reuters

This com­bi­na­tion of file pho­tos shows Meghan Markle and Bri­tain’s Prince Harry as he ar­rives at Lord’s cricket ground in Lon­don. — AFP

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