Harry and Meghan’s New York car chase sparks media harassment debate

Photo Courtesy of Bangkok Post

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan, found themselves at the centre of a media storm in New York recently, as they were pursued through the streets by paparazzi. The incident has reignited the debate surrounding the couple’s relationship with the media, with some drawing parallels to the tragic death of Princess Diana.

According to a spokesperson for the couple, Harry, Meghan, and her mother were subjected to a two-hour car chase involving “highly aggressive” photographers, putting their lives in danger. The experience was reminiscent of the events leading up to the fatal Paris car crash in which Princess Diana was killed in 1997, a tragedy that Harry has often expressed fears of repeating, reported Bangkok Post.

However, the New York Police Department’s response to the incident seemed to downplay its severity. A police spokesperson acknowledged that photographers made the group’s transport “challenging,” but added that there were “no reported collisions, summonses, injuries, or arrests.”

Some newspapers reported that one celebrity news agency involved in the chase accused the couple’s security detail of behaving in a manner “that could be perceived as reckless.” In an interview on ITV, an anonymous photographer involved in the incident claimed that the couple’s vehicle entourage was to blame for any danger, stating that their driver was “making it a catastrophic experience.”

Taxi driver Sukhcharn Singh, who briefly had the couple and Meghan’s mother in his cab as they tried to outwit the photographers, told Reuters they looked scared but did not think there would be an accident. This has led to accusations from the couple’s critics, particularly on social media, that they had exploited the incident for their own purposes.

Columnist Camilla Tominey wrote in the Daily Telegraph that the couple’s first statement was “laced with the sort of hyperbole we have come to expect from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex when alleging media intrusion into their lives.” Meanwhile, former politician and broadcaster Nigel Farage took to Twitter to call Harry and Meghan “frauds.”

The royal family has remained silent on the matter, as is customary. However, public opinion in Britain remains divided. Some, like retired lawyer Nick Williams, expressed doubts about the veracity of Prince Harry’s statement. Others, such as legal administrator Paris Smith, sympathised with the couple, stating, “I’ve always loved them, so I feel for them.”

Former royal protection officer Simon Morgan told Sky News, “We know how catastrophic that cat-and-mouse game can actually be when we look back to 1997 and the death of the Duke’s mother.”

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With a Bachelor's Degree in English, Jenn has plenty of experience writing and editing on different topics. After spending many years teaching English in Thailand, Jenn has come to love writing about Thai culture and the experience of being an ex-pat in Thailand. During long holidays, she travels to North of Thailand just to have Khao Soi!