How Prince William and Prince Harry's Messages to the Press About Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle Compare

Prince William sent a stern message to the press about Kate Middleton when coverage of her intensified around her 25th birthday.

Members Of The Royal Family Attend Events To Mark The Centenary Of The RAF
(Image credit: Anwar Hussein)

  • Before her 2011 marriage to Prince WilliamKate Middleton endured harassment from the media.
  • Things got so bad in 2007 that William issued a statement to the press about the situation, royal expert and biographer Katie Nicholl explains in her book, Kate: The Future Queen
  • See how Will's statement to the press about Kate compares to the one Prince Harry famously issued about Meghan Markle in 2016.

If you wanted a sign that a royal thinks their current S.O. is marriage material, you could do worse than looking out for official statements to the press asking people to leave said S.O. alone.

In her book Kate: The Future Queen, royal expert and biographer Katie Nicholl describes the moment when Prince William had to issue a stern warning to the British press about his then-girlfriend Kate Middleton, following a dangerous barrage of coverage she endured on her 25th birthday that left her "close to tears."

According to Nicholl, Will's decision came on the heels of the publication of the official inquest into his mother, Princess Diana's, tragic death, which infamously involved the media's pursuit of royal coverage.

"When William called to wish Kate a happy birthday, she was closet to tears, and the prince instructed his aides to issue a statement complaining about the level of harassment Kate was experiencing. His message to the press was unequivocal: leave Kate alone."

Here's Will's message, via the Palace, to the press regarding coverage of Kate:

"Prince William is very unhappy at the paparazzi harassment of his girlfriend. 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."

If this feels familiar, it might be because Will's younger brother, Prince Harry, also took the dramatic step of issuing a formal statement asking people to leave the love of his life alone in November 2016, Harry issued a much lengthier statement regarding the coverage of his relationship with Meghan Markle:

Since he was young, Prince Harry has been very aware of the warmth that has been extended to him by members of the public. He feels lucky to have so many people supporting him and knows what a fortunate and privileged life he leads.

He is also aware that there is significant curiosity about his private life. He has never been comfortable with this, but he has tried to develop a thick skin about the level of media interest that comes with it. He has rarely taken formal action on the very regular publication of fictional stories that are written about him and he has worked hard to develop a professional relationship with the media, focused on his work and the issues he cares about.

But the past week has seen a line crossed. 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.

Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her. It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm. 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.

He has asked for this statement to be issued in the hopes that those in the press who have been driving this story can pause and reflect before any further damage is done. He knows that it is unusual to issue a statement like this, but hopes that fair-minded people will understand why he has felt it necessary to speak publicly.

The statements are definitely different, but they also reflect the different situations Kate and Meghan encountered when their relationships with their royal loves turned serious.

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Kayleigh Roberts
Weekend Editor

Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.