The Royal Couple’s Ordeal in New York
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, had a harrowing experience in New York City on Tuesday night, when a group of paparazzi chased them for more than two hours. The couple, who were attending an awards ceremony at the Ziegfeld Ballroom, where Meghan was honored for her work on women’s empowerment, had to resort to various tactics to evade the photographers, including switching cars, driving around the city, and seeking refuge at a police station.
The incident recalled the tragic death of Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, who was killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997 while being pursued by paparazzi. Harry and Meghan have been vocal about their desire for privacy and their struggle with media intrusion, especially after they stepped back from their royal duties last year and moved to California. They have also sued several media outlets for invasion of privacy and copyright infringement.
According to a statement from their spokesperson, Harry and Meghan were “involved in a near catastrophic car chase at the hands of a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi” who “put countless lives at risk.” The statement also said that the couple’s security team had to intervene several times to prevent collisions and injuries. A member of their security team told CNN that the chase “could have been fatal.”
However, some details of the episode have been disputed by other sources, such as the police and a taxi driver who briefly drove the couple and Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland. The police said that they escorted the couple to the 19th precinct on the Upper East Side after they could not shake off the paparazzi, but that they did not witness any reckless behavior or violations by the photographers. The taxi driver, Sukhcharn Singh, said that he picked up the trio outside the police station and drove them for about a block before getting stuck behind a garbage truck. He said that the paparazzi then surrounded his cab and started taking pictures, but that he did not see any car chase or danger.
The incident has sparked a debate about the complicated relationship between celebrities and the paparazzi, as well as the role of the police in protecting public figures. Some photographers have defended their right to take pictures of celebrities in public places, while others have criticized their aggressive tactics and lack of ethics. Some observers have also questioned whether Harry and Meghan exaggerated or staged the incident to garner sympathy or attention.
Mayor Eric Adams condemned what happened as “reckless and irresponsible,” but also expressed confusion about how a two-hour car chase could happen in Midtown Manhattan. He said that he would look into the matter and review the police protocols for escorting celebrities. Tina Brown, a former editor of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker who has written two books on the royals, said that the whole story “sounds mildly preposterous.”
Harry and Meghan have not commented further on the incident since their initial statement. They are expected to leave New York soon after completing their engagements in the city, which included visiting a school in Harlem, meeting with U.N. officials, and attending a concert for global citizens.