Prince Harry is rumored to have a new girlfriend and not only is she not British (she is American), but she is also divorced (shocking!) and biracial — and the British tabloids are going absolutely nuts.
The woman in question is actress Meghan Markle, best known for her role in the TV show Suits.
British media are obsessing about the relationship — which hasn’t been confirmed by the Kensington Palace or Markle.
Markle’s heritage in particular — her mother is African American and her father is Caucasian, and she has spoken extensively about being biracial — has spurred the interest of the British tabloids, and some of the results have not been pretty.
The Sun was relatively subdued in discussing it, if not entirely subtle, describing her as a “brunette” and a “break from the mould for Prince Harry, who has previously dated a string of blondes.”
But the Daily Mail went further and displayed more prejudice, playing on stereotypes of African Americans. In a story headlined “Harry’s girl is (almost) straight outta Compton,” it reported Markle’s mother lives in a “run-down area” in Crenshaw, Los Angeles.
It described the neighborhood as “gang-scarred” and dominated by “tatty one-storey homes.”
The media have already compared Markle to Wallis Simpson, the divorced American whose relationship with King Edward VIII led to his abdication in 1936. Also widely discussed are Markle’s “racy” and “fruity” scenes in Suits, her Instagram posts, her mother and the fact that she is three years older than Harry.
It’s not just the tabloids that are chasing the story. The Daily Telegraph ran an article questioning whether Harry could marry a divorcee, looking at precedents from the past. The Times featured an “everything you need to know” story about Markle, and the Guardian ran a comment piece about the history of mixed-race relationships in the royal family.
Times have changed since Edward’s relationship with Wallis nearly caused a constitutional crisis, but for British papers trying to sell as many copies as possible, a “divorced American” is still enough to drag up some of their worst instincts.