Prince Harry knew that anyone who dated him would be subject to intense scrutiny by the U.K. media, but when he issued a statement requesting privacy for his then-girlfriend Meghan Markle in 2016, that was a sign he was serious about his future with her. Royal fans interpreted his warning to the media that an engagement was on the horizon, but behind the palace walls, it went much deeper than that for Harry.
The Duke of Sussex was reportedly so concerned about her reaction to the press’ constant badgering that she would leave the relationship. He realized he had to do something drastic because no one else in the royal family was going to help her or ask the media to back off since she was a private citizen at the time. “It did feel like that if the palace was not able to stand up and support his girlfriend, against some of that disgusting coverage . . . then who in their right mind would ever consider entering into a relationship [with him] in the future? He definitely felt that if nothing was done to support her, then she would be, ‘I’m not sure this is what I signed up for,’ ” a source explained to the Times.
Mark your calendars for Meghan Markle's highly anticipated podcast that's reportedly coming out this summer. https://t.co/5aIxxxdtWD
— SheKnows (@SheKnows) March 17, 2022
Harry was so deeply in love with Meghan that he grew quite concerned that a breakup was imminent. “He was freaking out, saying, ‘She’s going to dump me,’ ” a second insider shared. With the subtle racism and harassment Meghan was experiencing, he realized he had to take a bold and dramatic step publicly to reassure her (and himself) privately. Part of the statement discussed the uncalled for abuse she was enduring from the media once their romance was discovered. “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,” the statement reads.
He pulled out all of the punches, not just to fire a warning signal, but to let Meghan know he was serious about their blossoming love, and he would do anything to protect her. That promise extended into their marriage and their growing family as he willingly gave up royal life for them so they could have the privacy they deserve — and that moment was rooted in one 2016 press release.
Click here to see Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s complete relationship timeline.