For the last few weeks speculation has been rife around Prince Harry's rumoured girlfriend, American actress Meghan Markle and today Harry has confirmed their relationship, in possibly the saddest way ever. Kensington Palace, on his behalf, have issued a statement saying that whilst he feels very "lucky" to have so many people supporting him and that he is fully aware of how "fortunate" and "privileged" his life is, he is uncomfortable with the interest in his private life and that last week a "line's been crossed" as his girlfriend Meghan Markle, has been subject to a "wave of abuse and harassment".
It goes on to talk about the "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 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.”
It goes on to say that: “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 - 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."
And so whilst I applaud Harry for his courage in speaking out - something really unusual considering his circumstances, I am immensely saddened that he has had to. The treatment of Meghan Markle has been beyond disgusting since rumours of their romance emerged, that go far beyond the speculation we have come to expect about her bikini body and whether or not her table manners are up to scratch. She has been branded a slut, there have been disgusting comments made about the colour of her skin and unsurprisingly, she has been the target of a fuck tonne of sexist abuse. (because we're in 2016 and people still seem to think this is in anyway acceptable).
Despite the fact that she has made an incredible career for herself as a star on one of the USA's favourite TV show, Suits, has her own company and dedicates a huge part of her life to humanitarian work in Rwanda, the articles that have been printed about her have painted her in a totally different light, (an unfair, unflattering and untrue light) opening her up really to nothing but hate from the public.
And hate is what she got.
But this is something that I don't understand. I bloody love the royal family and second to the Queen, Prince Harry is by far and away my favourite (not that I should have favourites but whatever), his recent work with the Invictus Games is something not only close to my heart, but by anyone's standards, an incredible feat, credited with changing the lives of those wounded, sick and injured servicemen and women that took part.
From an early age, Harry has had to accept that his life is our business, in that he is a member of the most famous family in the world, but when are we going to get it into our heads, that just because we are 'entitled' to know what is going on in his life, does not mean that we have the right to pass judgement on it, let alone comment.
It is nothing other than lovely that Harry has found a girlfriend, and personally I think Meghan seems like a truly awesome human being, so why is it that we can't just let this be what it is: great?
On the one hand I am pleased that Harry has released this statement and stuck up for not only himself but for his new girlfriend too, but on the other hand I am mortified that he had to do anything of the sort. I'm somewhere between screaming YES HARRY and sobbing I'M SO SORRY HARRY right now, and I can't be alone in that.
Whatever happens we need to learn from this, we NEED to understand that people in the public eye are NOT public property and that really, regardless of ANYTHING, everyone deserves respect.