Priyanka Chopra Defends Meghan Markle, Says Public Criticism Against Pal 'Has to Do with Racism'

"If there's anyone who can handle it, it's her," Priyanka Chopra said of media criticism of Meghan Markle

Priyanka Chopra says much of the media criticism aimed at pal Meghan Markle is rooted in racism.

The Isn’t It Romantic actress, 36, addressed the negative commentary surrounding Meghan since marrying into the royal family in a new interview with The Sunday Times, and said much of it is due to her biracial heritage.

“I’ve seen that and it’s really unfortunate. But if there’s anyone who can handle it, it’s her,” Chopra said. “Of course it has to do with racism, it’s an obvious reason.”

Chopra – who recently shut down reports that she and Markle were feuding – continued to praise her friend, explaining that the former Suits star, 37, remains just as grounded as she was before she wed Prince Harry in May 2018.

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock; Karwai Tang/WireImage

“The beauty of Meg is that she’s been herself through all of this. A lot of people got to know her after everything, but I knew her before [she started dating Harry] and she’s the same chick,” Chopra said. “Now she’s got a real platform, she talks about the same things she always did.”

The actress added, “We spent hours speaking about the difference that influence and dialogue can make to the world before this whole thing happened, so what you see now is authentically her. She’s always been the girl wanting to move the needle.”

Chopra’s defense of the new mom echoes that of friend George Clooney, who criticized the media’s treatment of Markle back in February.

Meghan Markle, Prince Harry.

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“They’re just chasing Meghan Markle everywhere, she’s been pursued and vilified,” Clooney told reporters at a press panel in February, according to Australia’s Who magazine. “She’s a woman who is seven months pregnant and she has been pursued and vilified and chased in the same way that Diana was and it’s history repeating itself.”

“We’ve seen how that ends,” the actor reportedly added, referencing Princess Diana’s fatal car crash in 1997 during which she was being chased by paparazzi.

Concerns of such a nature were first addressed by Prince Harry in November 2016, when the royal issued a rare public statement criticizing the press for subjecting then-girlfriend Meghan to “a wave of abuse and harassment.”

Commonwealth Day 2019
Samir Hussein/WireImage

“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,” the statement read. “Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her.”

Meghan herself has also spoke out about the abuse, calling it “disheartening” during the couple’s engagement interview.

“You know it’s a shame that is the climate in this world to focus that much on that . . . but I think, you know, at the end of the day I’m really just proud of who I am and where I come from, and we have never put any focus on that,” she said.

Meanwhile, Meghan – who welcomed son Archie May 6 – was also the target of criticism this week from President Donald Trump.

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In an interview with The Sun ahead of his upcoming state visit to the U.K., Trump called Markle “nasty” upon learning she criticized him back in 2016.

“I didn’t know that,” he told the outlet, which shared audio of the interview online. “No, I didn’t know that she was nasty.”

The comments in question came during an appearance on The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, with the former actress calling Trump “misogynistic” and “divisive” and saying she was considering moving to Canada should he win the election.

Trump – who later in the interview said Markle will be “very good” in the royal family – denied calling her “nasty” on Twitter Sunday.

“I never called Meghan Markle ‘nasty.’ Made up by the Fake News Media, and they got caught cold! Will @CNN, @nytimes and others apologize? Doubt it!” he wrote.

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