Five retired British police officers have pleaded guilty to sending offensive and racist social media messages about the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, and other individuals. The men, all in their 60s, were arrested following a BBC investigation last year, which led to an internal police inquiry. The charges state that the messages were posted in a closed WhatsApp group and targeted Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Prince William, Kate Middleton, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, as well as U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, former Home Secretary Priti Patel, and former Health Secretary Sajid Javid.
The individuals involved, namely Robert Lewis, Peter Booth, Anthony Elsom, Alan Hall, and Trevor Lewton, pleaded guilty at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court to the charge of sending grossly offensive racist messages through public communication. It is important to note that none of the suspects were serving police officers at the time the messages were sent between 2020 and 2022. Another former officer, Michael Chadwell, denied one count of the same charge and is scheduled to stand trial on November 6. The sentencing for the other five individuals is also set for the same day.
Meghan Markle, an American actress of biracial heritage, married Prince Harry, the grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, in 2018. In early 2020, the couple stepped away from their royal duties and left the United Kingdom, citing intrusive media coverage and racist attitudes.