“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 PR stunt,” Ashley Hansen, a spokesperson for the Sussexes, told The New York Times in an article published Friday, May 19. “Quite frankly, I think that’s abhorrent.”
The Spare author and the Suits alum’s response comes days after they were chased by “a ring of highly aggressive” photographers after leaving the 2023 Women of Vision Awards in New York City on May 16. Meghan’s mom, Doria Ragland, was also in the taxi with the couple at the time.
“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 Harry, 38, and Meghan, 41, said in a statement on Wednesday, May 17, calling the incident “near catastrophic.”
The statement 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.”
A source exclusively told Us Weekly at the time that the trio “were terrified throughout the whole ordeal” and “still very upset” over the incident.
Chris Sanchez, a member of Harry and Meghan’s security team, recalled the “chaotic” situation in an interview with CNN on Wednesday, claiming it “could have been fatal.”
“I have never seen [or] experienced anything like this. What we were dealing with was very chaotic. There were about a dozen vehicles: cars, scooters and bicycles,” he alleged. “The public were in jeopardy at several points. It could have been fatal. They were jumping curbs and red lights. At one point they blocked the limousine [carrying the couple] and started taking pictures until we were able to get out.”
However, the driver of the Sussexes’ vehicle, Sukhcharn Singh, had a different perspective. When recalling his version of events, he said that reports of the passengers being in danger were “exaggerated.”
“I was on 67th Street and then the security guard hailed me. Next thing you know, Prince Harry and his wife were hopping into my cab,” the cab driver told BBC on Thursday, May 18. “They looked nervous, I think they were being chased the whole day or something. They were pretty nervous, but the security guard, he was on it.”
When it comes to the idea that Harry, Meghan and her mom were involved in a dangerous situation, Singh responded: “I don’t think that’s true, I think that’s all exaggerated and stuff like that. Don’t read too much into that.”
Several celebrities — including Megyn Kelly and Caitlyn Jenner — have also called Harry and Meghan’s experience into question. Gayle King, meanwhile, defended the Archewell cofounders.
“It’s troubling to me that anybody would try to downplay what that would mean to them. That’s very troubling to me,” the CBS This Morning journalist, 68, told Page Six on Saturday, May 20.
Harry has long been vocal about protecting his family — including son Archie, 4, and daughter Lilibet, 23 months — particularly after losing his mom, Princess Diana, in a car crash in 1997. The fatal accident occurred while the then-Princess of Wales was being chased by paparazzi.
Days after the car chase in New York City, a London judge denied Harry’s request to hire his own police protection while in the U.K. (Harry and Meghan moved to California after stepping down from their roles as senior royals in 2020.)
Though the Invictus Games founder’s team stated in 2022 that Harry “inherited a security risk at birth, for life” as a member of the royal family, the British government argued earlier this month that police offers are for the public’s best interest and not “private bodyguards for the wealthy.”