Prince Harry and girlfriend Meghan Markle are said to have broken Royal protocol by being so affectionate with one another in public.
Prince Harry and Markle were in Toronto, ON this weekend for the Invictus Games, which Harry had started in 2014. After serving two tours in Afghanistan, Harry returned home and began the Invictus Games, which welcomes injured armed services personnel and veterans to partake in Paralympic-style games.
“These Games have shone a spotlight on the ‘unconquerable’ character of service men and women and their families and their ‘Invictus’ spirit. These Games have been about seeing guys sprinting for the finish line and then turning round to clap the last man in. They have been about teammates choosing to cross the line together, not wanting to come second, but not wanting the other guys to either. These Games have shown the very best of the human spirit,” Harry is quoted as saying on the Invictus Games Foundation website.
The games in Toronto will continue until September 30 and include sports such as archery, golf, indoor lifting, sitting volleyball, and wheelchair basketball among dozens of others played. It was announced that the 2018 Invictus Games will be played in Sydney.
Harry and Markle were spotted holding hands before walking to their seats. They also met with children who attended to shake their hands.
However, according to an unspoken Royal rule, Royal couples often don’t openly display affection when attending events together.
The duo was affectionate while watching a wheelchair tennis match but kept their distance when the opening ceremonies took place over the weekend.
When news of Markle and Harry first hit the media, tabloids and social media exploded with racist comments about Markle in addition to headlines questioning her upbringing.
Kensington Palace released a statement addressing these concerns, whereby Harry admitted that he was worried about Markle’s safety. “His girlfriend, Meghan Markle, has been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment,” the statement read.
The statement concluded by saying Harry asked for the press to cease their slander and inappropriate articles.
It added that Harry was aware of the unusual release of such a statement but hoped that in light of the circumstances, “fair-minded” people would understand why he felt the need to go public.
Among the social media trolls who took to various platforms after news of their relationship broke out, tabloids were also commenting on Markle.
An article published by Daily Star in November of 2016 ran the headline, “Harry to marry into gangster royalty? New love ‘from the crime-ridden neighborhood.” It went on to make racist comments about her being a “rags to riches” story on account of her “ancestors freed from slavery.”
In an article published on September 6, 2017, for Vanity Fair, Markle said that in light of the negativity surrounding their relationship, she’s relied on close friends for support.
One close friend of Markle, Serena Williams, said, “‘I told her, ‘You’ve got to be who you are, Meghan. You can’t hide.’”
Markle addressed the issue with the media and social media trolls as well in the Vanity Fair piece.
“I can tell you that at the end of the day I think it’s really simple. We’re two people who are really happy and in love. We were very quietly dating for about six months before it became news, and I was working during that whole time, and the only thing that changed was people’s perception,” she told Vanity Fair.
“Nothing about me changed. I’m still the same person that I am, and I’ve never defined myself by my relationship,” she added.
She also told the magazine that she doesn’t read the press. “The people who are close to me anchor me in knowing who I am. The rest is noise.”