Life in the public eye is always going to come with some scrutiny but that seems even more amplified for members of the British Royal Family. Now that Prince Harry is dating American actress, Meghan Markle, the frenzy surrounding their relationship is unreasonably intense.
Whether they are walking through an airport, attending a friend’s private wedding in Jamaica, or just trying to find their groove as a couple, the pair cannot seem to escape photographers. Neither Harry nor Markle are movie stars and they aren’t high-profile Hollywood types so the curiosity seems a little extra uncalled for.
Why It’s Different
Unlike other celebrity couples, there is a wider audience interested in this pair. There are, of course, the famous-people watchers that pay attention to all levels of popular culture but there are also the Royal watchers who seem to be interested in Markle’s pedigree and worthiness of a place in Buckingham Palace.
For that reason, it’s almost like the public are actively invested in “grooming” her to become a princess. It’s a strange process and seems to come with a much higher level of standards. Is she pretty enough? Does she have good table manners? Can she handle the responsibilities associated with being on Harry’s arm? There’s just so much.
Markle is bi-racial. Of her background, the actress told Elle: “My dad is Caucasian and my mom is African American. …I have come to embrace [it, and] to say who I am, to share where I’m from, to voice my pride in being a strong, confident mixed-race woman.” Her father is Emmy Award-winning lighting director, Thomas W. Markle, and her mother works as a therapist and yoga instructor.
A few months back, Kensington Palace released a statement confirming the relationship between Prince Harry and Markle but the reasons for this announcement were less than positive. Apparently, the actress had been subjected to a “wave of abuse” that had crossed the line.
The statement said: “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.”
That is so terrible. It’s hard to imagine trying to live through something so invasive on every level. We all have secrets. We all have done things we would rather keep private. Why do these photographers believe that they are entitled to that information?
The statement concluded with a request to back off and included the following sentence: “Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her.”
Harry’s older brother, Prince William, went through something similar when he became engaged to Kate Middleton. The one saving grace, however, was that the pair had been able to get to know each other out of the limelight at school for years before they became romantically involved. This gave them some time to ease Kate into the chaos.
Of course, it brings back memories of what Harry and William’s mother, Princess Diana, endured while she was still alive. Throughout her marriage to their father, Prince Charles, and in the years following their divorce, she was heavily followed by paparazzi. Tragically, she was being pursued by photographers on the night she died in a tunnel in Paris. Their cat-and-mouse pursuit has been blamed for the deadly car crash.
Having lost their mother this way, it’s completely understandable that the princes, who do their best to share details of their life when appropriate, want to maintain some level of humanity and privacy when it comes to their own relationships.
For now, it seems like Meghan Markle is taking everything in stride but, hopefully, the media will learn to be more respectful and give her some space. The current situation is really out of hand.