While attending the esteemed Women of Vision Awards in New York City, where Meghan Markle was among the honorees, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex found themselves at the center of controversy over their chosen accommodations. Unnamed law enforcement insiders reportedly branded the couple as "cheap" for their decision to stay at a friend's Upper East Side residence instead of a hotel.

According to reports by the New York Post's Page Six, the royal couple approached the Carlyle, a hotel favored by the late Princess Diana, requesting a discounted room. Their request was purportedly declined by the hotel, which has been their accommodation of choice during past visits, with room prices ranging from $1,240 to $6,000.

One NYC law enforcement source reportedly told the outlet: "They should have just gotten a hotel for the safety of everyone. Instead, they were cheap and wanted a free place to stay. Harry and Meghan's people called the Carlyle ahead of the trip and asked for a discounted room, and the hotel said no."

This particular source suggested that the harrowing "aggressive paparazzi" car chase they faced upon leaving the awards event wouldn't have occurred if they had chosen hotel accommodation. As the insider put it: "If they had just paid up and got a hotel in the first place, this supposed 'dangerous' paparazzi chase around town would never have happened."

Mark Selden, a security expert, echoed this sentiment in an interview with Fox News Digital. He stated that the safety offered by hotels cannot be replicated in a residential townhouse. "There is security, doorman, porters and staff [in the hotel]. You have built-in safety... You are essentially in a fortress," he said.

The public reaction to the Sussexes' choice of accommodation was varied, with speculation ranging from financial trouble to a simple preference for the warmth of a friend's home.

A Twitter user surmised: "I don't believe it's because they're too cheap. I think they're broke." Meanwhile, another opined on the inconvenience: "You got dressed up for an amazing awards ceremony. Then it took you two hours to get home. What a downer. Why not stay nearby?"

However, others came to the couple's defense. One supporter tweeted: "When I travel to different cities, I am perfectly capable of staying in nice hotels but actually prefer to stay with friends as I rarely see them. It's called having friends who are hospitable."

Responding to rumors of financial distress, another supporter countered: "[Prince Harry's] book ['Spare'] is at number one again. He has more money than you will ever see."