The Royal Family Deletes Prince Harry’s Rare Statement About Meghan Markle

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The official website for the British royal family no longer includes a 2016 statement Prince Harry released in defense of his then-girlfriend (and now wife), Meghan Markle.

Through his press secretary, Harry had lambasted the media for turning his relationship with Meghan into a public spectacle, one that often detoured into a “a wave of abuse and harassment” laced with “sexism and racism.”

Besides officially confirming Harry’s romance with Meghan for the first time, the statement also served as a rare instance of a member of the royal family publicly pushing back against the press.

Although the statement has remained on the royal family’s website in the years since it was first released, the link to the statement is no longer active. Newsweek reported that the digital archive website Wayback Machine was able to access a version of the statement as of December 3, 2023, but that a later attempt to access the page on December 10 failed, which may indicate it was deleted in the period between.

announcement of prince harry's engagement to meghan markle
Chris Jackson - Getty Images

In his 2023 memoir Spare, Harry reflected on what drove him to draft the groundbreaking statement for Meghan, despite the palace’s traditional policy of staying silent. “We needed a statement out there,” the Duke of Sussex wrote. “Within a day we had a draft. Strong, precise, angry, honest.”

The message apparently didn’t go over well with other members of his family—namely, with King Charles and Prince William. Harry described the reactions of his father and brother as “furious.”

“Because they’d never put out a statement for their girlfriends or wives when they were being harassed,” he continued.

Harry and Meghan, who wed in 2018, ultimately stepped back as senior members of the royal family in 2020. Since, the royal website has undergone several updates in regards to the couple. This past March, the couple's individual profiles were merged into one page that combined both of their biographies. The biographies of their children, Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet, were also removed from the family’s homepage.

You can read Harry’s full 2016 statement below.

Since he was young, Prince Harry has been very aware of the warmth that has been extended to him by members of the public. He feels lucky to have so many people supporting him and knows what a fortunate and privileged life he leads.

He is also aware that there is significant curiosity about his private life. He has never been comfortable with this, but he has tried to develop a thick skin about the level of media interest that comes with it. 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, focused on his work and the issues he cares about.

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.

He has asked for this statement to be issued in the hopes that those in the press who have been driving this story can pause and reflect before any further damage is done. He knows that it is unusual to issue a statement like this, but hopes that fair-minded people will understand why he has felt it necessary to speak publicly.

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