A letter addressed to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry at the Kensington Palace is now being treated as a hate crime by authorities as it was found to have allegedly contained a white powdery substance purported to be anthrax.
The letter was received on February 12 at St. James’ Palace in central London and was intercepted by authorities before it could reach Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The package is said to have contained a racist note, together with the powder, which was later declared as harmless and “non-suspicious” by experts after examination.
However, the Scotland Yard is now treating the letter as a hate crime, given Markle’s mixed-race background. According to the Guardian, officers are looking further into an allegation of “malicious communications” and the incident is being considered as a “racist hate crime.” Authorities went on to mention that the matter is currently being inquired into by the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism command.
Markle, 36, and Prince Harry, 33, have been informed about the incident, Evening Standard reported.
A similar package was sent to the Houses of Parliament on February 13, also containing the same white powder included in the letter sent to the royal couple. The police are conducting a further investigation on the situation to determine if the same person or persons are responsible for both letters.
No arrests have been made so far with respect to the incident as inquiries continue.
The anthrax scare is the first security alert involving Markle. Although she will become an official member of the royal family after her wedding in May, she has already been assigned her own round-the-clock security detail.
St. James’ Palace is where Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla Parker-Bowles, are housed, as well as the Queen Elizabeth II’s daughter, Princess Anne, and cousin, Princess Alexandra.
Anthrax is a substance that can be weaponized and may cause death if not prevented or treated immediately.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle aren’t the two prominent people subjected to anthrax threats in recent weeks. In the U.S., Donald Trump Jr.’s wife, Vanessa, received and opened a letter containing white powder, after which she felt nauseous. She was immediately taken to the New York City hospital to receive treatment. Like the substance in the letter sent to St. James, the powder found in Trump’s letter was not found to dangerous.
A representative of the royal family said the palace will not issue a statement and will leave the matter to the police.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police is now on high alert for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s wedding in May. The security for the event is under constant review, with potential threats ranging from terror attacks to chaos caused by obsessed fans.