Prince Harry Spoke Out to End ‘Character Assassination’ of Girlfriend Meghan Markle — New Details

By putting out a statement to protect Meghan Markle, Prince Harry knew he would have to reveal just how serious his relationship with the Suits actress and philanthropist is. But losing a little privacy to defend his girlfriend was an easy sacrifice for the 32-year-old royal.

A source close to Harry tells Us Weekly that he chose to speak out Tuesday, November 8, because of the “level of harassment and scale of character assassination” that Markle, 35, has endured on social media and via certain British media outlets since news of their relationship broke in late October.

With certain articles quick to point out Markle’s mixed-race background (her African American mother, Doria Ragland, "has dreadlocks and a nose stud,” one paper breathlessly wrote while comparing her to the “high-society aristocratic” parents of Harry’s previous girlfriends) and others choosing to criticize her humble beginnings (“straight outta Compton,” snarked a different outlet of her Crenshaw, Los Angeles, childhood home), Harry felt enough was enough.

Prince Harry Meghan Markle
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images; Robin Marchant/Getty Images

“With the racial undertones and the harassment against her family, Harry felt it was not acceptable for him to say nothing,“ adds the source. “This isn’t about speculation about their relationship. … This is not all media.”

There were also physical security worries for Markle, whose Toronto, Ontario, home has been besieged by paparazzi for the past week. A separate source describes Markle as “totally shaken up” after discovering that a photographer had tried to enter the private garage of her building.

“The past week has seen a line crossed,” reads the Kensington Palace statement that Prince Harry asked to be issued. “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 [British] newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments. 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."

Prince Harry Meghan Markle statement
Prince Harry's statement.

With Harry’s plea now in the open, sources say the pair hope that they can continue their relationship without further incidents. In the meantime, it will be business as usual for the prince on November 20 when he begins a two-week tour of the Caribbean on behalf of the queen.

As well as returning to Barbados, where he will meet Rihanna at a celebration to mark the 50th anniversary of the island country’s independence from British rule, Harry will also visit Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“He’s looking forward to getting out there and meeting the people,” says the Harry source. Adds a Kensington Palace spokesman, "This visit will allow Prince Harry to experience more of the unique and individual cultures and traditions of these special Commonwealth Realms and countries."

Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!

Want stories like these delivered straight to your phone? Download the Us Weekly iPhone app now!