Did Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Lie about the ‘ Near Catastrophic Car Chase’?
News broke yesterday from a spokesperson for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle that the royal couple was involved in a
News broke yesterday from a spokesperson for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle that the royal couple was involved in a “near catastrophic” car chase in New York City late Tuesday.
Concern immediately flared for the two but especially for Harry, whose mother Princess Diana died in a car crash in the ’90s.
Now, however, police and even the cab driver who was chauffeuring the couple are offering a slightly different story, begging the question: did Prince Harry and Meghan lie?
The Original Story about the Car Chase
To start with, let’s look back at how this story evolved.
Here’s what was reported yesterday:
A spokesperson for the couple said in a statement, “Last night, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Ms Ragland were involved in a near catastrophic car chase at the hands of a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi.”
They added, “This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD (New York Police Department) officers.”
The statement continues, “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.”
Harry and Meghan’s team allege that traffic violations incurred during the chase included driving on the pavement and through red lights, reversing down a one-way street, illegally blocking a moving vehicle and driving while photographing and while on the phone. They also allege that that while those involved were confronted by uniformed police multiple times, they continued the pursuit and that there is footage taken from security along with other evidence to support these allegations.
NYPD and Cabbie Set the Record Straight
However, there have been some developments overnight.
CBS News reports, “The NYPD initially said officially ‘the incident is under investigation.’ However, in a new statement, the NYPD offered its own assessment of what happened:
‘On [Tuesday] evening, May 16, the NYPD assisted the private security team protecting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. There were numerous photographers that made their transport challenging. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived at their destination and there were no reported collisions, summonses, injuries, or arrests in regard.’
Sukhcharn Singh drove the couple in his yellow cab for about 10 minutes of this whole ordeal.
‘I think that’s all, you know, exaggerated and stuff like that,’ he said.
He says while they were in his car, he didn’t see paparazzi acting particularly aggressive.
‘No, no, no. No, that must have happened earlier, if they were being chased before,’ Singh said.”
They were in the car with another cabbie before being transferred to try to shake the paparazzi.
Mayor Eric Adams blasted the paparazzi who chased the couple, saying, “… I think all of us, I don’t think there’s many of us, who don’t recall how his mom died. And it would be horrific to lose an innocent bystander during a chase like this and something to have happened to them as well. So I think we have to be extremely responsible. I thought that was a bit reckless and irresponsible,” Adams added. “I would find it hard to believe that there was a two hour high speed chase, that would be – I’d find that hard to believe. But we will find out the exact duration of it. But if it’s 10 minutes, a 10 minute chase is extremely dangerous in New York City”
John Miller, NYPD’s former deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism, took to CNN to talk about the incident; “This originally came in as a story about, you know, they had a car accident yesterday, which apparently is not the case. What the case is, speaking to people around the protective detail that was assigned to this, was they were overwhelmed by paparazzi. These were people in cars. These were people on motorcycles. These were people on scooters that had surrounded the vehicle in Midtown traffic.”
Miller added, “And now you’ve got the NYPD team that is the protective detail behind the principal car, and there’s scooters, and motorcycles running in between them, ahead of them, crossing in front of them. They’re trying to create some distance, and this is becoming worse and worse. So finally, in frustration, they made a command decision of, you know, trying to first slow down traffic, block a street, and get some distance. That didn’t work, because then the scooters and the motorcycles flew down the sidewalks with pedestrians scattering,” Miller said.
He continued, “So they went to the 19th Precinct. That’s 67th Street in Manhattan. They blocked off both ends of the street, they created basically a buffer. And then they spent some time, A, trying to cool down from this and say ‘Alright, what’s our strategic plan to get to the next location without bringing this entire crowd.'”
Did Harry and Meghan Lie About the Car Chase?
So knowing that the chase may not have been as harrowing and dangerous as previously reported, it begs the question: Did Prince Harry and Meghan Markle lie about the car chase?
And the verdict is: not exactly.
Harry’s trauma around being chased by paparazzi probably made the situation far more fraught than it would have been for other people. But being relentlessly hounded by the media even if you’re not weaving in and out of traffic at breakneck speeds is terrifying for anyone.
So while they may have misinterpreted the danger they were in, it seems like their perception of the experience was genuine.
And the only people who were involved from the inside from start to finish are the royal couple themselves – and they’re more than entitled to talk about the fear they experienced at the hands of a media who just won’t leave them alone.