Prince Harry condemns media for Markle stories

LONDON (AP) — It’s the British royals versus the press — again — and Prince Harry thinks enough is enough.

In a highly unusual statement, the prince on Tuesday lashed out at the media for intruding on the privacy of his new girlfriend, American actress Meghan Markle. The 32-year-old royal said the press had crossed a line with articles that had “racial undertones,” and pleaded: “This is not a game.”

The condemnation was the latest in an often uneasy dance between Britain’s royals and an international press hungry for any tidbit about royal scandal or courtship. Both Harry and his brother, Prince William, have spoken candidly about their distrust of the media: Their mother, Princess Diana, died in a 1997 car accident while being pursued by paparazzi, and William’s wife, Kate, was relentlessly scrutinized for years before the couple married in 2011.

It looks like nothing has changed.

Kensington Palace described how journalists tried to break into Markle’s home, how newspapers offered “substantial bribes” to her ex-boyfriend, and said nearly everyone she knows has been bombarded for information. Markle’s mother couldn’t even get to her front door without jostling reporters.

“What is extraordinary about this letter is the level of ethical conduct breaches it details,” said Steven Barnett, a communications professor at the University of Westminster. “You have to feel something for Harry, who is presumably thinking of his mother and what she had to put up with.”