Prince Harry con­demns press ‘abuse’ of girl­friend

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

Prince Harry has con­firmed US ac­tress Meghan Markle is his girl­friend, in a state­ment from Kens­ing­ton Palace at­tack­ing the me­dia for sub­ject­ing her to a “wave of abuse and ha­rass­ment”. The state­ment said the cou­ple were “a few months into a re­la­tion­ship” and it was “not right” that Ms Markle should be sub­jected to such treat­ment. It said the prince rarely took for­mal ac­tion over “fic­tional sto­ries”. “But the past week has seen a line crossed,” it added. In re­cent days a num­ber of news­pa­pers have car­ried front page sto­ries about the 35-year-old ac­tress, best known for play­ing Rachel Zane in the TV drama Suits. The state­ment is­sued by the prince’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions sec­re­tary said: “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 exboyfriend; the bom­bard­ment of nearly ev­ery friend, co-worker, and loved one in her life.” The 32-year-old prince has long had an un­easy re­la­tion­ship with the press, hav­ing grown up aware of the im­pact that in­tense me­dia in­tru­sion had on the life of his late mother, Diana Princess of Wales. When he was 20, he was caught up in a scuf­fle with a pa­parazzi pho­tog­ra­pher out­side a London night­club and in 2012 naked pho­to­graphs of him in a Las Ve­gas ho­tel room were pub­lished on­line and on news­pa­per front pages. But he has also at­tracted pos­i­tive cov­er­age of his char­i­ta­ble in­ter­ests and mil­i­tary ser­vice. Edi­tors in the UK might abide by the prince’s re­quests but it was un­likely to have an im­pact on for­eign pub­lish­ers as there was a con­sid­er­able fi­nan­cial in­ter­est in pur­su­ing sto­ries about the re­la­tion­ship. The state­ment ap­peared to be a “cry from the heart” and showed how clearly Prince Harry was de­ter­mined to pro­tect this re­la­tion­ship af­ter pre­vi­ous girl­friends had en­dured sim­i­lar me­dia at­ten­tion. The state­ment said Prince Harry was wor­ried about Ms Markle’s safety and that he “is deeply dis­ap­pointed that he has not been able to pro­tect her”. It added: “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.” The state­ment ended with Prince Harry ap­peal­ing for “those in the press who have been driv­ing this story [to] pause and re­flect be­fore any fur­ther dam­age is done”.

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