Kensington Palace have released an uncharacteristic statement, on their official Twitter profile regarding the "harassment" Prince Harry's girlfriend Meghan Markle and her family are experiencing following the exposure of their surreptitious five-month relationship.

Markle – who was pictured leaving her house in Toronto, Canada, with a brave smile across her face last week – had reportedly acquired a personal police guard amid the sudden mass media attention.

The 32-year-old prince, who met the American star back in June – reportedly through mutual friends Alexander Gilkes and Misha Nonoo – felt a need to protect his girlfriend by ordering Kensington Palace to release the statement.

It reads: "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 statement went on to confirm that Harry is officially in a relationship with Markle. It continued: "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."

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle
Meghan Markle met Prince Harry while he was publicising his Invictus Games for disabled British troops in Toronto Getty Images

The 35-year-old is three years older than Harry, and was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She is best known for her role as Rachel Zane on the hit USA legal drama Suits since season one. She also played FBI special agent Amy Jessup in Fox's sci-fi thriller Fringe. A retired photography director, her father is of Dutch and Irish descent while her mother is a yoga instructor and of African-American descent.

More about Meghan Markle here

Markle is a divorcee and was married to Trevor Engelson in 2011 after dating since 2004. The couple divorced in August 2013.

Read the full Twitter statement below: