Royal Family Quietly Deletes Prince Harry’s 2016 Statement on Meghan Markle’s Harassment from Official Website

In a subtle yet significant move, the British royal family has quietly removed a landmark statement issued by

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry attend a service of thanksgiving in London on June 3, 2022. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, MATT DUNHAM - WPA POOL/GETTY)
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry attend a service of thanksgiving in London on June 3, 2022. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, MATT DUNHAM – WPA POOL/GETTY)

Prince Harry in 2016, confirming his relationship with Meghan Markle, from their official website.

The statement, which was seen as groundbreaking at the time, highlighted the intense media scrutiny and harassment Meghan faced shortly after news of their romance went public.

This removal has sparked discussions about the ongoing tensions and changes within the royal family.

Back in November 2016, Prince Harry’s communications secretary released a rare and impassioned plea, condemning the “wave of abuse and harassment” directed at Meghan Markle.

The statement was a strong rebuke against the media’s treatment of Meghan, which included both overt and covert racial and sexist undertones.

It was notable for its candidness and the urgency with which it addressed the issues surrounding Meghan’s safety and well-being.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, SAMIR HUSSEIN/SAMIR HUSSEIN/WIREIMAGE)
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, SAMIR HUSSEIN/SAMIR HUSSEIN/WIREIMAGE)

“His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment,” the statement read. “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’s concern for Meghan’s safety was palpable. He expressed deep disappointment at his inability to protect her from such invasive and harmful behavior, emphasizing that their relationship should not come at the cost of her well-being.

“Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her,” the statement continued.

“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.”

The statement remained on the royal family’s website for several years but was recently discovered to be missing. According to Newsweek, the internet archive site Wayback Machine was able to access the link on December 3, 2023, but by December 10, it had been removed, indicating the deletion occurred within that week.

The royal family attends the Commonwealth Day service on March 9, 2020. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, PHIL HARRIS / POOL / AFP/ GETTY)
The royal family attends the Commonwealth Day service on March 9, 2020. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, PHIL HARRIS / POOL / AFP/ GETTY)

This removal marks a significant shift in how the royal family is managing its online presence and historical records.

The significance of the statement was further highlighted in Prince Harry’s memoir, “Spare.” He recalled the pressure he felt to address the media’s treatment of Meghan and his insistence on issuing a statement despite being advised that “silence is the best option.”

“We needed a statement out there,” he wrote in his book. “Within a day we had a draft. Strong, precise, angry, honest.” However, Harry also noted that the statement, despite its strong wording and wide dissemination, did little to stem the onslaught of media scrutiny.

Moreover, it reportedly caused friction within the royal family, as his father, now King Charles, and brother, Prince William, were allegedly upset because they had never issued similar statements for their partners when they faced harassment.

Since stepping back from their roles as working members of the royal family in 2020, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have continued to carve out a new life in California.

Their departure from royal duties has been accompanied by various changes to their profiles on the royal family’s website. In March, their individual bios were merged into a single joint profile, reflecting their new status.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry visit the Lightway Academy. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, AP PHOTO/SUNDAY ALAMBA)
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry visit the Lightway Academy. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, AP PHOTO/SUNDAY ALAMBA)

This profile now includes a link to their independent website, sussex.com, and retains historical announcements about their step back from royal duties.

Queen Elizabeth II’s supportive statement following the Sandringham Summit in January 2020 remains on the site. “Following many months of conversations and more recent discussions, I am pleased that together we have found a constructive and supportive way forward for my grandson and his family,” she said.

“Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much-loved members of my family. I recognize the challenges they have experienced as a result of intense scrutiny over the last two years and support their wish for a more independent life.”

The removal of Prince Harry’s 2016 statement is emblematic of the ongoing evolution of the royal family’s public narrative and the delicate balancing act they maintain in managing their image.

As Harry and Meghan continue to redefine their roles and public presence, the historical records and public statements from their past with the royal family will likely continue to be points of interest and contention.

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