Prince Harry is offering more insight into the two-hour ordeal that transpired between the Sussexes and photographers in New York City this week.
Harry, Meghan Markle and the duchess’s mother, Doria Ragland, were leaving the Ms. Foundation’s Women of Vision Awards gala on Tuesday night when, according to a spokesperson for the couple, the group “were involved in a near catastrophic car chase at the hands of a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi.”
“This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers,” the spokesperson, a representative for the Sussexes’ Archewell organisation, said in a statement shared with HuffPost on Wednesday.
According to a Thursday report in The Times of London, Harry privately told friends that the experience was the “closest I have ever felt” to understanding what happened in the 1997 car crash that killed his mother, Princess Diana.
Harry has previously spoken about the parallels he sees between the press intrusion his mother faced before her death and what Meghan has dealt with over the years.
“My deepest fear is history repeating itself,” he said in a 2019 statement. “I’ve seen what happens when someone I love is commoditised to the point that they are no longer treated or seen as a real person. I lost my mother and now I watch my wife falling victim to the same powerful forces.”
In the Sussexes’ bombshell 2021 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Harry made similar comments about Diana and Meghan.
“What I was seeing was history repeating itself. More perhaps, or far more dangerously, because then you add race in, and social media in,” the duke said at the time, referring to his wife’s biracial background.
Though differing accounts have emerged about this week’s incident, the New York Police Department confirmed in a statement to HuffPost on Wednesday that it helped assist the royals after the gala and that there were “numerous photographers that made their transport challenging.”
In an interview with The New York Times, an Archewell spokesperson disputed suggestions that the chase was manufactured for publicity.
“Respectfully, considering the Duke’s family history, one would have to think nothing of the couple or anybody associated with them to believe this was any sort of P.R. stunt,” the representative said Friday. “Quite frankly, I think that’s abhorrent.”