A two-hour chase through the streets of Manhattan involving Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and aggressive paparazzi has raised safety concerns, drawing chilling parallels to the fatal crash that claimed the life of Princess Diana in 1997. However, authorities claim the situation wasn't as severe as reported by the couple.
Following their departure from the Ziegfeld Ballroom event on Tuesday night, the royal couple alleged a "relentless pursuit" by an aggressive group of photographers. The chase, according to their spokesperson, led to numerous near misses with other drivers, pedestrians, and even two NYPD officers.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams branded the paparazzi's actions as "reckless and irresponsible," making a poignant reference to the tragic circumstances of Princess Diana's death. Nonetheless, the NYPD downplayed the couple's distress, asserting that their transport was challenging yet managed without reported collisions or arrests.
Harry and Meghan, along with Meghan's mother Doria Ragland, exited the event, where Meghan was honored by Gloria Steinem, surrounded by private security and an NYPD vehicle. Witness Lieba Nesis disclosed that the trio managed to evade many photographers through a covert entrance and had their faces covered while leaving, rendering the paparazzi's hours-long wait fruitless.
Some witnesses claim the couple's security team provoked the photographers. Further, it was suggested that the erratic driving, meant to evade the paparazzi, could have led to potential exposure of the couple's whereabouts in the city.
A member of Harry and Meghan's security detail, Chris Sanchez, alleged the paparazzi endangered the public. He narrated a dangerous chase with about a dozen vehicles, including cars, scooters, and bicycles. Despite this claim, police sources maintained there was no high-speed chase.
The couple's evasion efforts led them in circles across Manhattan before they sought refuge at the 19th Precinct, where they switched cars and hired cab driver Sukcharn "Sonny" Singh for a short-lived journey. However, their fear of being followed prompted them to return to the precinct.
The couple's portrayal of the incident drew criticism from several figures, including former Fox host Megyn Kelly, British journalist Piers Morgan, and Caitlyn Jenner. Critics found their claims exaggerated, with Jenner commenting, "Whine, whine, whine is all these two seem to do."
Rob Shuter, a former publicist for Jennifer Lopez and P. Diddy, among others, argued that the couple's response was not reasonable for celebrities in New York. He suggested they could have easily pulled over if there were genuine safety concerns.
The incident occurs amid Prince Harry's legal tussle over security provisions in the UK, after his private detail was revoked following his move to California in 2020. While the royal couple has faced backlash and mockery on social media for the incident, no comment has been issued by Buckingham Palace or other members of the royal family.