Prince Harry's new girlfriend, Suits star Meghan Markle, has been subjected to "a wave of abuse and harassment" according to a statement released by Kensington Palace this morning.
Speculation about the pair being a couple has intensified in recent weeks but this is the first time that it has been officially confirmed.
In a statement through his spokesperson, Prince Harry accused the media of "sexism and racism". He lamented how he has worked hard to develop a good relationship with the media but that in the past week a "line has been 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 of national newspaper; the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments."
The statement goes on to recount the harassment Markle has suffered which has been hidden from the public: "the nightly legal battles to keep defamatory stories out of the papers, her mother having to struggle past photographers to get in the front door, the attempts of reporters and photographers to gain illegal entry to her home"
The statement concludes with the note that Prince Harry is "worried about Ms. Markle's safety" and that he hopes "fair minded people will understand why he felt it was necessary to speak publicly" about the issue.
You can read the statement in full below.
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