Royal Family Deletes Statement Defending Meghan Markle From 'a Wave of Abuse and Harassment'

The statement condemned the 'racial undertones' and 'outright sexism and racism' that arose amid the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's romance.

The British royal family has seemingly deleted Prince Harry's 2016 statement that not only confirmed his relationship with Meghan Markle, but also defended her against "a wave of abuse and harassment." Issued on November 8, 2016 through Harry's communications secretary Jason Knauf, the statement is now no longer available on the royal family's website, with Newsweek being the first to report that the statement appears to have been deleted sometime between December 3 and December 10, 2023.

At this time, Buckingham Palace has not commented on the statement's removal. According to Newsweek, the link to the statement no longer works, and the internet archive site Wayback Machine last successfully recorded a functioning version of it on December 3, 2023. Another attempt to access the statement on Dec. 10 was not successful, suggesting it was removed from the site sometime between those two dates.

Knauf issued the statement in early November 2016, just days after Harry and Meghan's romance was made public in the press. The statement noted that a line had been "crossed" in coverage of the romance, particularly in the way Meghan was being treated, with The Mail notably publishing an article titled: "Harry's girl is (almost) straight outta Compton: Gang-scarred home of her mother revealed-so will he be dropping by for tea?"

"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," the statement read in part. "But the past week has seen a line crossed. His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment."

The statement added that "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."

The statement said that Harry was "worried about Ms. Markle's safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her" and "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."

Writing about the statement in his 2023 memoir Spare, Harry said, "we needed a statement out there-within a day we had a draft. Strong, precise, angry, honest." He added that the statement made his father, King Charles III, and brother, Prince William, "furious... Because they'd never put out a statement for their girlfriends or wives when they were being harassed." Harry said that despite the statement, the "onslaught" of harassment targeting Meghan continued.