The royal family has deleted Prince Harry’s rare 2016 statement about Meghan Markle

The Duke and Duchess greet well-wishers outside Windsor Castle
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are two of the most talked-about people in the world - something that has only continued since they stepped down from their senior royal roles in 2020. 

In fact, from their recent four-day Invictus Games tour of Nigeria to the launch of Meghan Markle's new American Riviera Orchard brand, they are all anyone can talk about.

This week, it was the couple's relationship with the firm that got the world talking, as eagle-eyed fans spotted that Prince Harry's statement confirming his relationship with Meghan Markle had been inexplicably removed from the royal family's website. 

The statement - a rare move by Prince Harry, was released by his communications secretary Jason Knauf, back in November 2016, in the early days of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's relationship, following "a wave of harassment" faced by Markle.

"[Prince Harry is] aware that there is significant curiosity about his private life," read part of the 2016 statement. "He has never been comfortable with this, but he has tried to develop a thick skin about the level of media interest that comes with it. He has rarely taken formal action on the very regular publication of fictional stories that are written about him and he has worked hard to develop a professional relationship with the media, focused on his work and the issues he cares about."

The statement then went on to voice Prince Harry's concerns with the treatment of his girlfriend since news of their relationship broke, quoting "the smear on the front page of a national newspaper", "the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments", "the attempts of reporters and photographers to gain illegal entry to her home", and "the bombardment of nearly every friend, co-worker, and loved one in her life."

“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.

"He has asked for this statement to be issued in the hopes that those in the press who have been driving this story can pause and reflect before any further damage is done," the now-deleted statement concludes. "He knows that it is unusual to issue a statement like this, but hopes that fair-minded people will understand why he has felt it necessary to speak publicly." 

It is not known why the statement - calling for an end to the "wave of abuse and harassment" against Meghan Markle has been removed from the royal family's website, but it is thought that it was deleted in December 2023.

The royal family has not yet commented on the statement's removal.

We will continue to update this story.

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.