In a rare salvo at reporters from Britain's royal family, Prince Harry has condemned the media for harassing his American girlfriend, Meghan Markle, in coverage that has included "racial undertones" — alluding to her racial mix of a white father and black mother.

Harry, 32, said that he had tried to develop a "thick skin" about the level of media interest in his personal life, but that in the last week, a line had been "crossed." It was also the first confirmation from Kensington Palace that the prince, who is Queen Elizabeth's grandson and fifth in line to the throne, was dating Markle, a 35-year-old actress perhaps best known for her role in the drama "Suits." The palace said that they have been dating for "a few months."

It's highly unusual for the palace to issue such a blistering and candid statement like this. But since the Sunday Express's "royal world exclusive" late last month, there has been intense speculation across Fleet Street about the relationship.

Harry's communications secretary, Jason Knauf, said Tuesday that there has been a "wave of abuse and harassment" that has included "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."

He also said that some of the abuse had been hidden from public view, such as "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."

Harry said that he is worried for his girlfriend's safety and that he feels helpless that he can't protect her. "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," the statement read. "This is not a game — it is her life and his."

Elton John collection on display

He's one of the most colorful figures in rock 'n' roll, but when it comes to photography, Elton John embraces black and white. Scores of vintage images from the musician's collection are on display in "The Radical Eye," an exhibition opening this week at London's Tate Modern. The show displays more than 190 photos that usually line the walls of John's 18,000 square foot Atlanta apartment and other homes. John, who once embraced a life of rock 'n' roll excess, began buying photographs after he became sober in 1990. In the exhibition catalog, the musician says he replaced alcohol with "a much healthier addiction" that has seen him amass 8,000 images, one of the largest troves of 20th-century photography in private hands.

agreement: Angelina Jolie Pitt will continue to have sole custody of her six children with Brad Pitt in a joint agreement reached by the actors, a representative for the actress said. The voluntary agreement calls for the former couple's six children, who range in age from 8 to 15, to continue to have "therapeutic visits" with Pitt for the time being.

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