Last week, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were chased by paparazzi through the streets of Manhattan as they attempted to make their way from an award ceremony to the friend’s house where they would be spending the night.
The following day, a rep for the couple shared an account of this harrowing incident with the media.
The Sussexes likely expected that their story would be met with sympathy and concern.
What they got instead was skepticism and blame.
Yes, critics have been casting doubt on Harry and Meghan’s story, with many claiming that the couple exaggerated the severity of the situation in an attempt to create parallels between their own struggles and those of Harry’s mother, the late Princess Diana.
Diana, of course, was killed while fleeing from paparazzi in Paris in 1997.
Harry and Meghan never claimed that their recent brush with overzealous photojournalists was anywhere near as dangerous, but some critics refuse to believe that it qualified as a car chase at all.
One such skeptic is former Real Housewives of New York City star Bethenny Frankel.
“I swear to you this woman needs to get on the Housewives. Just be a Housewife. Lean in and be infamous. It is not going that great. You alienated your base of fans,” Frankel complained in a recent Instagram Live session.
“So that sounds very scary. To be sought after and hounded sounds very scary. That’s the honest truth,” she said added.
“Perhaps this was the worst car chase since Princess Diana, but people have a hard time believing it because they’ve been raising their hands so much, saying, ‘We are experiencing the same thing as my mother who was killed in a paparazzi car chase.’”
Frankel went on to note that she has “never heard of Taylor Swift or Beyoncé or J.Lo or mega, mega, mega stars like Justin Bieber or Harry Styles” having similar experiences with paparazzi in New York.
“It’s a story that keeps being pushed. So it seems like it fits perfectly in that narrative of, ‘Oh, this is a good way, now we finally get to prove that it is as bad as it was for Diana,’” Frankel alleged, adding:
“You can live a very, very well-rounded life without entering into the eye of this very dangerous storm. So don’t go if you know this is a massive risk and you are hounded by the paparazzi ad nauseam and it’s going to risk your life.”
Meanwhile, a source described as a law enforcement insider tells Page Six that the incident occurred because Harry and Meghan chose not to shell out for a nearby hotel room, opting instead to make a much longer trek to a friend’s house, where they’d been invited to spend the night for free.
“They should have just gotten a hotel for the safety of everyone. Instead, they were cheap and wanted a free place to stay,” says the source.
“Harry and Meghan’s people called the Carlyle ahead of the trip and asked for a discounted room, and the hotel said no.”
Yes, the insider claims that a simple cost-cutting measure on the part of the Sussexes nearly resulted in catastrophe.
“If they had just paid up and got a hotel in the first place, this supposed ‘dangerous’ paparazzi chase around town would never have happened,” the source alleges.
“They would have been driven back to the Carlyle, been photographed going inside and that would have been the end of it,” the insider says.
“Harry and Meghan put regular people’s lives at risk because they are cheap.”
The police source concluded by accusing the Sussexes of a failure to understand the culture of New York City:
“They should just accept that people are going to take photos of them, photographers are going to follow them — this is New York — and they have to take intelligent steps to ensure their own security for the safety of themselves and everyone else,” the insider said.
New York mayor Eric Adams has vowed to thoroughly investigate the incident, so we should have more information sometime in the near future.
It remains to be seen if that information will vindicate or humiliate Harry and Meghan.