The reason Prince Harry finally snapped over new girlfriend Meghan Markle

After nine days of relentless scrutiny of his relationship with Suits actress Meghan Markle, Prince Harry has finally snapped.

In a shock move, the popular royal released an official statement through Kensington Palace warning everyone to back off from his "girlfriend" of a "few months".

He added that the 35-year-old divorced star had faced "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".

It's an absolute first for the 32-year-old Prince, and it's likely to mean just one thing: this love story is the Real Deal.

All of the women who have been in serious relationships with Harry have copped the same media treatment as Markle - including his ex of seven years, Chelsy Davy - but we've never seen a response like this from him.

London's The Telegraph suggested the statement said a lot about Harry's hopes of marriage.

"Never before has he [Harry] been so angry that he felt the need to go public with a statement confronting what has been written about a girlfriend by both the mainstream media and by the public through the skewed prism of social media," chief reporter Gordon Rayner wrote.

"The Prince is fully aware that in issuing such a public defence of his new girlfriend - and a plea to give her some space 'before any further damage is done' - he is confirming just how serious their relationship is."

It's fuelled strong speculation Harry's considering proposing to Markle - after all, Prince William lashed out in a similar defence of his then-girlfriend, future Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton back in 2007.

After she was swarmed with aggressive paparazzi on the morning of her 25th birthday, William requested his spokesman issue a statement branding their behaviour "incomprehensible".

It read: "He wants more than anything for it to stop. Miss Middleton should, like any other private individual, be able to go about her everyday business without this kind of intrusion. The situation is proving unbearable for all those concerned."

Prince William with Kate Middleton in 2012. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Prince William with Kate Middleton in 2012. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Meanwhile, royal experts are predicting Harry's plea may fall on deaf ears outside of the United Kingdom.

As Dickie Arbiter told the BBC: "It's a request for the media to back off, but it's not just the British media, it's global.

"How do you get the global media to back off? You can't because you've got no jurisdiction. The British media will probably tone down."

Arbiter added that it was likely the tragic way in which Diana, Princess of Wales died is what's playing on his mind now.

"Obviously he's concerned that what he's seeing now is sort of shades of what happened to his mother and he remembers very well what happened to his mother."

Harry was just 12 years old when Diana died in a car crash in Paris in 1997 while being chased at high speeds by the paparazzi.

And it's certainly clear from his letter that this is a man who is all-too-familiar with how devastating the consequences of this type of frenzied attention can be.

As it reads: "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."

- news.com.au

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