Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s recent visit to New York City took a terrifying turn when they found themselves caught in a harrowing car chase, as revealed by a spokesperson for Harry. Following their attendance at the esteemed Ms. Foundation for Women’s annual gala, where Markle was honoured with a prestigious Woman of Vision award for her unwavering dedication to gender equality, the couple, accompanied by Markle’s mother Doria Ragland, embarked on a journey in a taxi. Little did they know that they would soon become the target of a group of overly aggressive paparazzi, resulting in a heart-stopping ordeal.
“Last night, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Ms Ragland were involved in a near catastrophic car chase at the hands of a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD (New York Police Department) officers.”
This incident obviously carried an extra layer of fear for Harry, as it echoed a tragic event from his past. The untimely death of his mother, Princess Diana, in a car crash during a paparazzi pursuit in 1997 left an indelible mark on his life. Reflecting on the incident in a poignant BBC documentary in 2017, the Duke said, “I think one of the hardest things to come to terms with is the fact that the people that chased her into the tunnel were the same people that were taking photographs of her while she was still dying on the back seat of the car.”
Meanwhile, cab driver Sukhcharn Singh, who goes by the name Sonny, shared with the media that he picked up four passengers on 67th Street between Lexington Avenue and 3rd Avenue that night.
“A security guard hailed me, next thing you know Prince Harry and his wife were hopping into my cab,” he said.
“As we went a block, we got blocked by a garbage truck and all of a sudden paparazzi came and started taking pictures. They were just about to give me the location of where they were going to go, but then they told me to circle back to the precinct.” He said they were “nice people” who “looked nervous”.
Singh thought claims of a “near catastrophic chase” might have been exaggerated, saying that he did not think the paparazzi were being “aggressive”.
In 2021, Harry shared his experiences with public scrutiny and relentless paparazzi intrusion during his upbringing, explaining how these factors influenced his aspirations of having a family in the future. During an interview on the Armchair Expert podcast with Dax Shepard and Monica Padman, he expressed his concerns about inheriting the risks associated with his royal status.
He highlighted that being born into the royal family meant having no choice but to face all the challenges that came with it. He further mentioned that the British media often exerted a sense of ownership over him, exacerbating the difficulties he faced.
Reflecting on his early twenties, Harry admitted to contemplating whether he wanted to continue with his royal duties and the consequences it could have on his personal life. He said, “I was in my early twenties and I was thinking, ‘I don’t want this job, I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to be doing this. Look what it did to my mum [the late Princess Diana], how am I ever going to settle down and have a wife and family when I know that it’s going to happen again?‘”
Prince Harry is also currently engaged in legal battles with British tabloids, including allegations of phone hacking and unlawful information gathering. His lawyer recently argued in a London court for the right to challenge a government decision that denied him police protection funding.
The couple stepped down from their royal duties and relocated to the United States in 2020, citing harassment from UK tabloids as a contributing factor. Prince Harry considers his efforts to reform the media as his “life’s work” and is scheduled to provide evidence in a phone-hacking case in a London court next month.
Meanwhile, recent reports indicate that at the royal couple’s Montecito, California home this week, police arrested 29-year-old Kevin Garcia Valdovinos on a misdemeanor stalking charge. The man was allegedly seen near the property around 2 a.m., as per reports. He has since been released on bail.