Harry And Meghan's 'Near-Fatal' Paparazzi Car Chase Proves We Have Learned Nothing From Diana

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were caught in a two-hour-long car chase with paparazzi in New York City on May 16, TMZ reports. The couple and Markle's mother were leaving an award ceremony where the Duchess of Sussex was honored with the Women of Vision Award. However, the night became "nearly catastrophic" as they tried to avoid "aggressive paparazzi," according to a statement from the couple's spokesperson shared by royal expert Omid Scobie.


The pursuit involved paparazzi and nearly led to crashes involving pedestrians and NYPD officers, according to the statement. Scobie noted that traffic violations by the paparazzi drivers included "driving on a sidewalk, going through red lights, reversing down a one-way street, driving while photographing and illegally blocking a moving vehicle." Though the Duke and Duchess of Sussex managed to escape the harrowing scene unscathed, it is reminiscent of Prince Harry's mother's tragic death following a paparazzi chase. 

Scobie reported that a source close to the couple said that Harry, Meghan, and Meghan's mother Doria Ragland were "understandably shaken by the event."

Prince Harry has been wary of the paparazzi for a long time

Prince Harry is no stranger to the terrors associated with unrelenting paparazzi. His mother Princess Diana's tragic death at the hands of a car chase gone wrong is an infamous moment in modern history. One of the searing images from the fallout of Princess Diana's death is Prince Harry and his brother, Prince William, just teenagers while standing alongside their mother's casket. 


Both Prince William and Prince Harry were never the same after Princess Diana's death, and Prince Harry became especially critical of the invasive culture of the paparazzi as he grew older. Prince Harry gave a stern warning to Meghan Markle about paparazzi and the tumultuous nature of trying to steer clear of the media. Although the two are no longer working senior royals, paps cannot seem to get enough of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. That incessant goal to snap a clear picture of the two led to a "near-fatal" chase on May 16, an insider described to Page Six.

How the 'near catastrophic' paparazzi chase played out

Meghan Markle, her mother Doria Ragland, and Prince Harry attended the Ms. Foundation for Women gala in New York City, where Markle was honored with the Women of Vision Award from feminist activist Gloria Steinem, per Page Six. The celebratory evening soon turned stressful, however. Upon leaving the event, paparazzi began following the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's car to their private residence. Uniformed police confronted the paps, who reportedly were in six blacked-out vehicles, according to a statement from the couple's spokesperson


Eventually during the two-hour-long chase, Meghan, Harry, and Ragland switched from their private SUV into a taxi, with NYPD officers driving in the opposite direction to confuse the paparazzi. Although no reports have emerged about arrests, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's spokesperson encouraged media outlets to scrap any images that came from the daunting encounter: "Dissemination of these images, given in the ways in which they were obtained, encourages a highly intrusive practice that is dangerous to all involved."

History almost repeats itself, with memories of Princess Diana's death resurfacing

Princess Diana died following a horrific crash that resulted in an attempt to avoid paparazzi on the night of August 31, 1997. The world was shocked and honored the "People's Princess" while seeing young Prince Harry and Prince William mourn their mother in real-time. Prince Harry seemed especially impacted by the paparazzi's role in Princess Diana's death. After marrying Meghan Markle, Prince Harry became publicly critical of British media, denouncing its "malicious" and "relentless" attempts to get photos and spread stories about the duchess. 


"[M]y deepest fear is history repeating itself," the Duke of Sussex wrote in an open letter in 2019. "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." 

This nearly-devastating event serves as a reminder that we have not learned our lesson in the years after Princess Diana's death.