Published On: Mon, May 22nd, 2023
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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s reaction to car chase defended | Royal | News

It’s “troubling” that prominent figures within the media and the general public are “downplaying” the paparazzi car chase, a popular US broadcaster and friend of the Sussexes has said.

Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, along with her mother Dorian Ragland, were trailed in their car by photographers as they left a New York City charity event on Tuesday night, briefly taking refuge at a police station before being whisked away in a yellow taxicab.

The royal couple set off alarms when their spokesperson claimed Wednesday that they had been dangerously pursued by paparazzi in a “near catastrophic car chase” that lasted “over two hours” through the streets of Manhattan.

That account led New York City Mayor Eric Adams to condemn the paparazzi chasing them as “reckless and irresponsible”.

However, conflicting reports later emerged about the incident, with police saying the pursuit was relatively short and led to no injuries and the Sussexes’ cab driver playing down that it was a chase, although paparazzi “were following us the whole time”.

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Now, CBS Mornings host Gayle King has hit out at the couple’s critics, branding efforts to “downplay” the incident “troubling”.

King, who was introduced to Harry and Meghan through her best friend Oprah Winfrey, told PageSix: “I think it was a very unfortunate incident. It’s troubling to me that anybody would try to downplay what that would mean to them. That’s very troubling to me.”

She added that it was “unsettling” that some people have tried to “minimise how [Harry and Meghan] felt in that moment”.

“I’m just really sorry it happened and very sorry they had to go through it,” the broadcast journalist continued.

“Everybody can have all of their opinions but I always go back to, ‘How did they feel in that moment?’”

The media frenzy kicked off after the couple left Manhattan’s Ziegfeld Ballroom — where Meghan had just accepted the Ms. Foundation’s Woman of Vision Awards with Black Voters Matter co-founder LaTosha Brown — and got into an SUV as crowds of pedestrians and photographers gawked, according to video posted to social media.

Harry and Meghan’s vehicle was then followed by photographers in a scene that their office said “resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers”.

The couple’s office called the incident “near catastrophic”.

Police intervened and, assisting the couple’s private security detail, led them to a police station about 18 blocks from the ballroom, a law enforcement official told the AP.

The couple spent several minutes at the police station, waiting for the situation to de-escalate.

Once it was safe, they left in a taxi, according to the official, who was not authorised to speak publicly about the matter and did so on condition of anonymity.

“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,” the couple’s office said in a statement.

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Bruce Cotler, the president of the New York Press Photographers Association, said the way photographers allegedly acted Tuesday night violated the basic photojournalism principle of covering news “as documentarians and observers” and the code of ethics to which his members and “any press photographer with respect for themselves and the profession” are expected to adhere.

Meanwhile, police in California were called this week about an episode near the couple’s property in Montecito.

A man was arrested shortly after 2 am last Monday on suspicion of prowling near the property, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the man actually entered the property.

He was released on $2,500 bail after the misdemeanor arrest.

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