There have been rumors swirling around a potential relationship budding between the most eligible royal, Prince Harry, and biracial (black and white) American actress Meghan Markle. The couple reportedly met in Toronto, where Markle lives, in the beginning of May, and Markle has posted photos in London over the past few months.
While the reports had been nothing more than rumors, many of the comments surrounding the relationship were extremely vile, including threats against Markle’s life. Last week, The Daily Mail printed a story describing Markle as “straight outta Compton,” providing murder statistics and and information on gang affiliations in the area. Many English citizens have had a hard time accepting that a British royal would date a woman of color.
Well, Prince Harry isn’t having it. In a bold statement to the press, he called them out and reprimanded them for their descriptions and treatment of Markle in their coverage and attempts to speak with her and her friends and family, citing racist undertones, sexist remarks, and harassment.
The statement reads:
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.
Prince Harry has his own checkered past when it comes to race.
In 2005, he attended a “colonials and natives” costume party dressed as a Nazi. Given that a large chunk of the world is still in cultural and economic recovery from England’s oppressive, centuries-long colonial rule, it is shocking he would even attend a function like this. And even more horrifying that he went as a Nazi. He later apologized for his actions.
But in 2009, he was in hot water again after videos from 2006 surfaced of him calling fellow cadets “Paki” and “Rag-head” — racial slurs for Pakistanis and Muslims — during his time serving in the British army. The solider whom Harry was addressing denied that the Prince meant ill by his words, but the public thought otherwise.
Now, years later, Prince Harry is on the other side of the race spectrum, seeing up close how racial taunts are not harmless or thoughtless and can cause real harm. We are glad that he is speaking out and hope it’s a sign that his views on race have evolved.