Prince Harry's girlfriend Meghan Markle 'asks for time off from Suits' amid after 'abuse and harassment' from media
Prince Harry's new girlfriend Meghan Markle has asked for time off filming her hit show Suits amid the media furore surrounding her relationship with the royal.
The pair had been quietly dating for six months, but news of their romance broke last week and she has been subjected to intense press scrutiny around the world, prompting Harry to release a rare statement lambasting the media for its "abuse and harassment".
Now it's reported that the actress, who stars on the hit legal drama which films in Canada, has asked for some time off from the show because she has "something important to do", according to Page Six.
Details of her absence are being kept under lock and key but the paper reports she is liaising with lawyers to discuss her rise to international prominence in the last week as she is learning to cope with life in the royal fishbowl.
"She comes across as just a regular girl. She’s stunning in person, but not everyone knew who she was. And she’s everywhere now," a source siad.
The 32-year-old British royal released a rare statement about his personal life on Tuesday confirming his relationship with actress and slamming the "sexist and racist undertones" in articles about their burgeoning relationship.
In the lengthy communication, he references the intense scrutiny "hidden from the public", including "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."
And while British newspapers like the Daily Mail and The Sun both slammed the move in scathing editorials citing his "privileged life at public expense", palace insiders told the Guardian it was an attempt to try to protect his new relationship and he doesn't regret it, despite the backlash.
"That’s what he wanted to do. This was a debate happening in public being encouraged by a handful of papers and he has added his voice to that and went straight to the public. Millions of people will have seen that statement directly," the source said.
Harry was reportedly prepared for the backlash but was hoping to start a conversation about privacy and let it be known to the public how unhappy he was with such extensive intrusion, especially given the media interference his late mother Princess Diana faced.
The Mail Online issued a statement in response to Harry's initial claims, which did not name any individual publications and is believed to be referencing British and American press.
"We were very surprised by the Prince’s comments, particularly as no earlier complaint had been made by the Palace. MailOnline believes it has acted courteously and correctly in its coverage of this story. We carried no smears. Our articles had no racial undertones. There were no nightly legal battles over stories," it read.
"We sent no photographers to Ms Markle’s mother’s home. We offered no payments to Ms Markle’s ex-boyfriend or anyone else associated with this story. And, finally, we certainly made no attempt to gain illegal entry to her home."
"We wish Prince Harry and Ms Markle well in their relationship."
Here is the Kensington Palace statement about Prince Harry in full:
"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."