“They insist their account of the car chase was absolutely not exaggerated, and for people to say otherwise is so hurtful and out of line,” the insider adds.
Despite facing backlash over their version of events, Harry, 38, and Meghan, 41, refuse to be silenced. “As far as staying out of sight and being scared to show their faces, that’s not going to happen,” the source tells Us. “[This has] just strengthened their resolve to keep standing up for themselves and speaking out when they feel wronged.”
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were followed by “a ring of highly aggressive” paparazzi in New York City after leaving the 2023 Women of Vision Awards on May 16. “This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers,” a spokesperson for the couple — who were traveling with Meghan’s mom, Doria Ragland — claimed on May 17.
Describing the incident as “near catastrophic,” the rep continued: “While being a public figure comes with a level of interest from the public, it should never come at the cost of anyone’s safety. Dissemination of these images, given the ways in which they were obtained, encourages a highly intrusive practice that is dangerous to all involved.”
While Chris Sanchez — a member of the pair’s security detail — claimed to CNN that the ordeal “could have been fatal,” a statement from the NYPD clarified that Harry and Meghan were still able to reach their destination safely.
“There were no reported collisions, summonses, injuries or arrests in regard,” the department noted.
Shortly after the sticky situation made headlines, Whoopi Goldberg chimed in during an episode of The View, arguing that busy Manhattan traffic makes it difficult to believe the Archewell cofounders’ perspective.
“I think their spokesperson referenced something that you generally would reference in Los Angeles. That’s where you have chases, that’s where you can move at high speeds,” the EGOT winner, 67, said on Thursday, May 18. “I think they were dealing with aggressive paparazzi, but I don’t think it was where, you know, you’re watching on TV … just watching the cars go … because it just doesn’t work in New York.”
Cohost Joy Behar agreed, teasing, “Sometimes I’m in the city and I hear an ambulance trying to get through and I think, ‘That person is dead.'”
Sunny Hostin, however, encouraged her fellow panelists to consider how different the experience would be for Harry, who lost his mother, Princess Diana, in a fatal car crash in Paris in 1997. “If they felt scared, I will grant them that,” she said.
The former military pilot has been candid over the years about coping with Diana’s death. Harry was 12 years old at the time of the collision — which was brought on by persistent paparazzi.
“For a long time, I just refused to accept that she was gone. Part of [it was] she would never do this to us. But also, part of it maybe [felt like] this is all part of a plan,” the Spare author confessed during a 60 Minutes interview in January. “For a time [I believed she was alive] and then she would call us, and we would go and join her.”
Harry spent “many years” wondering whether Diana would come out of hiding before finally accepting her death. “I had huge amounts of hope,” he said.
Following their own encounter with photographers, a source exclusively told Us that Harry and his wife — who share son Archie, 4, and daughter Lilibet, 23 months — “were terrified throughout the whole ordeal.” Buckingham Palace, meanwhile, refused to comment on the incident.
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