Every Disturbing Interaction Meghan And Harry Have Had With The Paparazzi

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are arguably one of the most famous couples in the world, but their status comes with some serious downsides. Not only do they need tight security 24/7, but doing simple, everyday things — like going out for dinner or taking a walk outside — has to be well thought out and planned ahead of time.

It's no secret that the couple has previously clashed with the paparazzi and the press. In fact, the hostile press coverage Meghan received after marrying Harry is reportedly one of the reasons the duke and duchess decided to step back from their roles as senior members of the royal family. By the time they decided that they'd had enough, the paparazzi and press had been hounding them for some time.

Shortly after Harry and Meghan's relationship became public in 2016, the prince's communications secretary released a statement on his behalf, condemning the media's treatment of Meghan. The statement revealed that Harry had never been very taken with the vested interest the media had in his private life but that he understood it was his burden to bear. However, the prince made it clear that he would not tolerate the "wave of abuse and harassment" directed at Meghan. The couple likely hoped to have some semblance of peace after they left the United Kingdom, but alas, avoiding the paparazzi has remained a near-impossible feat.

Prince Harry's bad experiences with the paparazzi date back to his childhood

Given the fact that Prince Harry's mother, Princess Diana, was killed in a car accident after being chased by the paparazzi, it is completely understandable that the prince dislikes them. When he and Meghan Markle sat down for a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021, Harry revealed that even his earliest memories of his mother are tainted by the paparazzi. He recalled a memory of him and his brother, Prince William, driving with their mother and being chased by paparazzi trying to get their picture. "Strapped in the car, seatbelt across, with my brother in the car as well, and my mother driving, being chased by three, four, five mopeds with paparazzi on, and she was always unable to drive because of tears. There was no protection," Harry said.

The prince has also spoken out about how encounters with the paparazzi remind him of his mother's tragic death. "Every single time I see a camera, every single time I hear a click, every single time I see a flash, it takes me straight back," Harry told Tom Bradby in 2019 for the ITV documentary "Harry & Meghan: An African Journey." He also said that his mother's death is still "a wound that festers" and that he hasn't been able to find complete peace, thanks, in part, to the fact that he still has to deal with the paparazzi in his everyday life.

Prince Harry once got hit in the face with a camera when paparazzi ambushed him

Prince Harry is no stranger to getting ambushed by overly eager paparazzi. Back in 2004, he had a nasty encounter when being swarmed in the street as he was leaving a London nightclub. Harry was 20 years old at the time and the press was very interested in his comings and goings. When the prince left the club at around 3 a.m., he got into an altercation with some of the waiting paparazzi, and one of their cameras ended up hitting him on his nose, as Clarence House confirmed the following day. One of the photographers, Chris Uncle, sustained a cut lip after Harry reportedly pushed away his camera. "He lashed out and then deliberately pushed my camera into my face. The base of the camera struck me and cut my bottom lip. At the same time, he was repeatedly saying, 'Why are you doing this? Why don't you just leave me alone?'" Uncle told the London Evening Standard.

Photographers didn't seem to think that the prince was hounded by paparazzi frequently enough to warrant his reaction. "He is only [photographed] like this once or twice a year," photographer Charlie Pycraft told Sky News at the time. Meanwhile, some newspaper editors argued that Harry's party lifestyle was bound to put him in the spotlight and that he basically had no business complaining about it. Yikes.

Paparazzi stalked Meghan Markle at home and at work

Once her relationship with Prince Harry became public, Meghan Markle's whole life changed. Suddenly, the whole world knew who she was and the paparazzi were desperate to feed the frenzy. In the couple's Netflix docuseries "Harry & Meghan," Meghan opened up about how photographers stalked her day and night — at home and at work. "I would say to the police that if any other woman in Toronto said to you right now, 'I have six grown men sleeping in their cars around my house and following me everywhere that I go and I feel scared,' wouldn't you say that it was stalking? And they would say 'but there is nothing we can do because look who you are dating,'" Meghan recalled.

While she was on set filming "Suits," paparazzi continued to hound her and even tried to break onto the set. The production crew was eventually forced to cage the area to keep them out. Steve Davies, who worked as Meghan's security detail, revealed in the series that he'd never seen anything like it. "I have worked with A-list celebrities before and high net-worth families before. This blew me right out the water," he said, adding that Meghan's driver had to be trained in evasive driving to dodge photographers. "Suits" executive producer Silver Tree added that the paparazzi even approached production assistants, offering them money in exchange for the show's call sheets so they'd know when Meghan would be on set.

Paparazzi paid Meghan's neighbors to put up cameras to spy on her

As if being hounded by photographers wasn't bad enough, one of Meghan Markle's neighbors betrayed her, so to speak. In the Netflix documentary "Harry & Meghan," Meghan revealed that one of her neighbors was paid a handsome sum of money to put up cameras to film her house.

Prince Harry also touched on this subject in his memoir "Spare," explaining that some of Meghan's neighbors told her they'd been harassed by the paparazzi. "Men had gone up and down the street, asking questions, offering sums of money for any tidbit about Meg — or else a nice juicy lie. One neighbor reported being offered a fortune to mount, on their roof, live streaming cameras aimed at Meg's windows," Harry wrote.

The prince also confirmed that one neighbor took the paps up on their offer and installed a camera that pointed at Meghan's backyard. When Meghan became aware of this, she contacted the police but was told that, technically, her neighbor wasn't breaking any laws because they weren't physically trespassing on her property. Needless to say, Meghan was on her own when it came to dealing with the paparazzi, which must have been incredibly scary.

Paparazzi surrounded the couple's home on Vancouver Island

Upon stepping down as working royals, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle spent some time on Vancouver Island, hoping to escape the paparazzi and find some peace after the tumultuous couple of years they'd experienced in the spotlight. Unfortunately, the paparazzi found out where they lived soon enough and proceeded to set up camp outside their house. Meghan was also followed by a photographer while she took a walk in one of the nearby public parks. The couple's lawyers alleged that some paparazzi even used long-range lenses to try to photograph inside their house.

This wasn't the first time Harry and Meghan's residence was compromised. Not long after they got married, the paparazzi took aerial photos of their Cotswolds home, which they were renting at the time. The pictures included shots of the house's dining area, the living area, and the bedroom. The photos were sold to various media outlets, compromising not only the couple's privacy but also their security, and they were forced to move.

Harry called in his lawyers and filed a lawsuit against Splash News and Picture Agency, which were responsible for the paparazzi that took the invasive photos. The prince won the lawsuit, but this victory did not keep the paps from trying to invade the duke and duchess' privacy once again after they tried to make a home in Canada.

Long-lens pictures were taken of Meghan and Archie

While residing on Vancouver Island, the paparazzi managed to snap long-lens photos of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's son Archie. Archie, who was only eight months old at the time, was photographed while Meghan was taking a walk in a public park. 

Meghan's lawyer, Jenny Afia, told the court that a photographer for Splash had even gone as far as to stake out the couple's house the day before Archie's picture was taken. Afia said the man was trying to find "entry and exit points and putting his camera over the fence to take photographs," Sky News reported. The public hadn't seen many pictures of Archie since his birth, and this had clearly been intentional. Given the couple's history with the paparazzi, it makes sense that Harry and Meghan would want to shield their kids from the spotlight.

Harry and Meghan were granted a settlement, which was welcomed by Schillings, their legal representation, and seen as a victory in their ongoing battle against the press. "This settlement is a clear signal that unlawful, invasive, and intrusive paparazzi behavior will not be tolerated and that the couple takes these matters seriously — just as any family would," a spokesperson for the law firm said.

Harry and Meghan were ambushed by paparazzi when they went out for dinner

When it became public knowledge that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had been asked to vacate Frogmore Cottage, the couple made headlines again. Shortly afterwards, they were ambushed by paparazzi as they made their way to a restaurant in California. Harry in particular seemed frazzled by the encounter, with footage of the incident showing the prince getting out of the car in the midst of a paparazzi mob. "Hello, whoa, hello," the prince can be heard saying to the group of photographers before helping Meghan out of the car.

This incident piqued the interest of many, especially since Harry revealed in his memoir "Spare" that he found the sight and sound of cameras downright traumatizing. While making the front page of the tabloids was bad enough, it was the sound of the cameras that really unnerved him. "That click, that terrible noise, from over my shoulder or behind my back or within my peripheral vision, had always triggered me, had always made my heart race, but after Sandhurst, it sounded like a gun cocking or a blade being notched open," the prince said in the book. He also described how the paparazzi would purposely become overbearing at times in the hopes that he would react negatively. "That would create a better photo, and thus more money in their pockets," Harry added.

Harry and Meghan were involved in a car chase with paparazzi

In an incident that had chilling similarities to the paparazzi chase that preceded Princess Diana's tragic death, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were involved in what their spokesperson called a "near catastrophic car chase" by "a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi," after leaving the Women of Vision Awards in New York, NBC News reported. "This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians, and two NYPD officers," their spokesperson revealed in a statement.

The spokesperson said the chaotic chase ended with the couple arriving at the New York City police station, where they finally managed to escape the crazed paparazzi. Harry, Meghan, and Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, were in the car together during the incident. Amid law enforcement sources claiming that the couple's spokesperson was exaggerating the incident, deputy commissioner of public information at the New York police department, Julian Phillips, said that the drive was "chaotic" and that "there were numerous photographers that made their transport challenging."

Chris Sanchez, a member of Meghan and Harry's security detail told CNN, "I have never seen, experienced anything like this. What we were dealing with was very chaotic." He continued, saying, "There were about a dozen vehicles: cars, scooters, and bicycles. The public were in jeopardy at several points. It could have been fatal." Thankfully, the couple made it home okay, but it's terrifying to think that history very nearly repeated itself.