Prince Harry wants the press to stop harassing his new girlfriend, Meghan Markle.
On Nov. 8, the royal's communications team issued a statement lambasting the abusive, sexist, and racial undertones used by press and social media when talking about Markle.
Prince Harry has "seen a line crossed," the statement reads:
"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."
In the letter, the royal family specifically calls out and condemns the racist and sexist harassment Markle has been facing.
The statement describes incidents of photographers attempting to gain entry into Markle's home, bribes offered to Markle's ex-boyfriend, and "the bombardment of nearly every friend, co-worker, and loved one in her life."
Prince Harry has only been dating Markle for a few months. In fact, this is the first time the relationship has been publicly confirmed.
Despite that, British tabloids have already run several insidious stories about her. One of them suggested she appeared in pornography, when, in fact, clips of the TV show that Markle co-stars in had simply been uploaded to a porn site.
Markle, who is biracial, has also been the target of racially charged online comments and tweets.
It's a pretty big deal for the royal family to come to Markle's defense.
They have a long history of fighting with the press over scrutiny of their private lives. It's also a personal subject for them since the death of Princess Diana in 1997 was the result of trying to outrun paparazzi. This is the first time, though, they've publicly defended someone outside of the family, specifically condemning racism and sexism.
It's unprecedented for the family to issue a statement like this, but the treatment of Markle was so bad that Prince Harry was apparently afraid for her safety and for that of her family.
The letter also addresses those who say that harassment is just the price you have to pay for celebrity.
"It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm," the statement says. "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 letter makes no demands; it simply calls on members of the press to "reflect" for a moment before any more damage is done.
Maybe that's something we should all do.
We certainly have a similar problem here in America. In fact, we practically invented celebrity culture, and there are countless examples of celebrities being harassed or assaulted online and in person.
When someone is in the spotlight, it can be too easy to forget that they're a human being — that they have feelings and an identity. It can be too easy to forget that we don't own them and that they deserve to be treated with the same amount of respect and dignity as anyone else.