*Britain’s Prince Harry has released a rare statement both confirming his relationship with African American actress Meghan Markle and condemning the racist and sexist abuse against her by the British press.
A statement issued by the 32-year-old prince’s spokesperson Tuesday said that “a line has been crossed” in the past week regarding coverage of her background.
“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,” read the statement from Kensington Palace.
Markle, the 35-year-old daughter of an African American mother and white father, is best known for playing paralegal Rachel Zane in the USA network drama “Suits.” She has also worked with the United Nations on gender equality and is a global ambassador for the charity World Vision Canada, traveling to Rwanda earlier this year to campaign for clean water.
The statement from Harry’s office said Markle’s mother has had to struggle past paparazzi to reach her front door, reporters and photographers have tried to illegally enter Markle’s home and publications have offered “substantial bribes” to her ex-boyfriend.
“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 asked for the “unusual” statement to be issued in the hope that “those in the press who have been driving this story can pause and reflect before any further damage is done.”
Below, the full statement from Kensington Palace:
Kensington Palace has issued a statement this morning about the harassment currently being experienced by Meghan Markle and her family. pic.twitter.com/EuFZ4fmUIj
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) November 8, 2016
Markle wrote at length about her biracial upbringing in an Aug 2015 piece for Elle UK titled “I’m More Than an Other.” Read excerpts below, and the full article here.
To describe something as being black and white means it is clearly defined. Yet when your ethnicity is black and white, the dichotomy is not that clear. In fact, it creates a grey area. Being biracial paints a blurred line that is equal parts staggering and illuminating. When I was asked by ELLE to share my story, I’ll be honest, I was scared. It’s easy to talk about which make-up I prefer, my favourite scene I’ve filmed, the rigmarole of ‘a day in the life’ and how much green juice I consume before a requisite Pilates class. And while I have dipped my toes into this on thetig.com, sharing small vignettes of my experiences as a biracial woman, today I am choosing to be braver, to go a bit deeper, and to share a much larger picture of that with you.
It was the late Seventies when my parents met, my dad was a lighting director for a soap opera and my mom was a temp at the studio. I like to think he was drawn to her sweet eyes and her Afro, plus their shared love of antiques. Whatever it was, they married and had me. They moved into a house in The Valley in LA, to a neighbourhood that was leafy and affordable. What it was not, however, was diverse. And there was my mom, caramel in complexion with her light-skinned baby in tow, being asked where my mother was since they assumed she was the nanny.
I was too young at the time to know what it was like for my parents, but I can tell you what it was like for me – how they crafted the world around me to make me feel like I wasn’t different but special. When I was about seven, I had been fawning over a boxed set of Barbie dolls. It was called The Heart Family and included a mom doll, a dad doll, and two children. This perfect nuclear family was only sold in sets of white dolls or black dolls. I don’t remember coveting one over the other, I just wanted one. On Christmas morning, swathed in glitter-flecked wrapping paper, there I found my Heart Family: a black mom doll, a white dad doll, and a child in each colour. My dad had taken the sets apart and customised my family.
Fast-forward to the seventh grade and my parents couldn’t protect me as much as they could when I was younger. There was a mandatory census I had to complete in my English class – you had to check one of the boxes to indicate your ethnicity: white, black, Hispanic or Asian. There I was (my curly hair, my freckled face, my pale skin, my mixed race) looking down at these boxes, not wanting to mess up, but not knowing what to do. You could only choose one, but that would be to choose one parent over the other – and one half of myself over the other. My teacher told me to check the box for Caucasian. ‘Because that’s how you look, Meghan,’ she said. I put down my pen. Not as an act of defiance, but rather a symptom of my confusion. I couldn’t bring myself to do that, to picture the pit-in-her-belly sadness my mother would feel if she were to find out. So, I didn’t tick a box. I left my identity blank – a question mark, an absolute incomplete – much like how I felt.