It had seemed that Prince Harry was at least tolerating, if not embracing the media; that he had largely put behind him the resentment over what he had long regarded as the inexcusable hounding of his late mother, Diana Princess of Wales.
Then along came Meghan Markle, the American actress revealed a few days ago to be the latest love interest in the Prince's life.The blizzard of tabloid fascination with her has now prompted an unprecedented statement issued on Harry's behalf by his communications team at Kensington Palace.
The statement confirmed that Ms Markle is indeed Harry's girlfriend and that they have been in a relationship for "a few months," a fact eagerly seized on by the very papers it sets out to condemn.
But that condemnation was unequivocal. A line had been crossed, said Kensington Palace, and Meghan Markle had been subject to a wave of abuse and harassment. "Some of it 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 declared.
It also charged that there had been attempts by reporters and photographers to enter the actress's home and that substantial bribes had been offered by newspapers to her ex-boyfriend. "Prince Harry," the statement said, "is worried about Ms Markle's safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her."
Prince Harry rejects such unwarranted attention as the "price she has to pay and all part of the game." He strongly disagrees, said his officials: "This is not a game - it is her life and his."
There had been noticeable thaw in Prince Harry's attitude towards those of us in the media. He was more friendly, more approachable, less dismissive. But now it appears that a new ice age is setting in.