Police chief reveals that Meghan Markle was faced with "disgusting and credible" plots against her

Meghan threat
(Image credit: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Meghan Markle has spoken about the pressures of being part of the royal family and the online abuse she has received - so much so that it affected her mental health and was one of the reasons that she and husband Prince Harry stepped down as senior royals.

The online hate was at one point so bad that Harry issued a statement to the press in 2016. Kensington Palace later announced in 2019 that the firm was "concerned" about the online abuse against Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton.

Now a senior police chief has confirmed that there were "police teams investigating the online abuse" and there were "disgusting and credible" plots against her.

Talking on Channel 4 News, Neil Basu, assistant commissioner at the Metropolitan Police explained: “If you’d seen the stuff that was written and you were receiving it … the kind of rhetoric that’s online, if you don’t know what I know, you would feel under threat all of the time.

"We had teams of people investigating it. People have been prosecuted for those threats."

Prince Harry's rare statement in 2016, via Kensington Palace, was the first sign that a line had been crossed. 

“The past week has seen a line crossed," read the statement. "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.

“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.”

Since the couple's move to California in 2019 and the subsequent removal of their police protection, the couple has been paying for their own private protection.

Opening up about it during their interview with Oprah, Harry stated: "From my perspective, all I needed was enough money to pay for security to keep my family safe."

We will continue to update this story.

Sarah Finley
Sarah is a freelance journalist - writing about the royals and celebrities for Marie Claire, fitness for Women's Health and Tech Radar and travel for the Evening Standard and Woman & Home. She covers a variety of other subjects too and loves interviewing leaders and innovators in the beauty, travel and wellness worlds for numerous UK and overseas publications. Sarah can normally be found trying out the latest fitness class or on a plane to an exotic destination - and of course, writing about them.