More eyebrow-raising details have emerged about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s “near-catastrophic” paparazzi chase…
According to Page Six on Friday, the Sussexes and the 41-year-old’s mom, Doria Ragland, were accompanied by Chris Sanchez, a former Secret Serviceman for Barack Obama, at the Mrs. Foundation’s Women of Vision Awards on Tuesday night. He is known as “the king of the back exits” for his ability to sneak celebrities out without getting noticed by the paparazzi. But rather than making a quick escape out of the Ziegfeld Ballroom, Meghan and Harry purposefully chose to walk in front of the photographers waiting outside the venue. You know, the same group of paps the duo accused of aggressively following them for two hours. Oof.
A source close to the couple claimed that they decided to walk out the back of the ballroom at around 10 p.m., as they wanted the paps a shot of them:
“Harry and Meghan were willing to give everyone those shots when they left the event, that was not the problem, but they were tailed from that point on.”
However, Harry and Meghan did not stop to pose for the cameras. Photographers got snaps of the 38-year-old smiling while holding his wife’s hand as they exited the Ziegfeld Ballroom. While Harry was all smiles at first, his expression quickly turned into a scowl and security then blocked the paparazzi from photographing the group getting into their SUV (see above insets). Their rep, Ashley Hansen, told the New York Times on Friday about the pics:
“They were some of the most beautiful images of the evening.”
After the photo op, everyone knows what happened from there. The trio was allegedly pursued by “highly aggressive paparazzi” for two hours that “resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians, and two NYPD officers.” Law enforcement insiders told Deadline that scooters and motorbikes drove onto the sidewalks at one point during the pursuit. The situation must have been terrifying for Meghan and Harry, as it was reminiscent of Princess Diana’s deadly car chase. Per Page Six, Harry took a video of the car ride – which captured the person driving up on the sidewalk and another car nearly hitting another vehicle.
However, there has been a lot of speculation over how this situation happened – especially since Meghan and Harry had some of the best security members with them that night. An insider explained to the outlet:
“Chris is one of the best security men out there, he’s extremely savvy. He’s been with Harry and Meghan countless times – including with them in New York – and made sure they were not seen. He’s honestly known as the king of the back exits and can help get his principals (clients) out without ever being seen, so I have no clue how this all happened.”
But Sanchez told CNN earlier this week that he had “never seen” or “experienced anything like this,” adding:
“What we were dealing with was very chaotic. There were about a dozen vehicles: cars, scooters, and bicycles. The public [was] in jeopardy at several points. It could have been fatal. They were jumping curbs and red lights. At one point they blocked the limousine (carrying the couple) and started taking pictures until we were able to get out.”
The security guard shared that he “was concerned about the principals (Harry and Markle), but more about the public because they (the paparazzi) were being so erratic,” noting:
“People were on sidewalks and crossing streets and the (paparazzi) were crossing red lights. We did everything by the letter of law.”
Since then, several witnesses have still questioned whether or not the situation was actually dangerous as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have claimed it to be. A photographer named Martin Patterson, who followed the pair that night, insisted to the New York Times:
“There is nothing for the public or the police to actually be concerned about. The facts are out there. Exactly what you see is what it is there.”
Another photographer told People that they “don’t see how it was near catastrophic other than crazy hyperbole.” The NYPD even didn’t make the situation sound as scary either, sharing in a statement that Meghan and Harry “arrived at their destination” with “no reported collisions, summonses, injuries or arrests in regard.” There are even reports that suggest this whole situation could have been avoided if they weren’t “cheap” and paid for a room at The Carlyle as they originally planned:
“They should have just gotten a hotel for the safety of everyone. Instead, they were cheap and wanted a free place to stay. Harry and Meghan’s people called the Carlyle ahead of the trip and asked for a discounted room, and the hotel said no. 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. They would have been driven back to the Carlyle, been photographed going inside and that would have been the end of it.”
Yeesh. As we’ve questioned before, though, wouldn’t the paparazzi still be to blame even if the Sussexes purposefully stopped for photos at the venue and chose to stay at a friend’s place instead of paying want to pay full price for a hotel? Should the two have made different choices during their trip to avoid this whole mess? Possibly. Nevertheless, the paps also didn’t need to aggressively follow the couple after they got some shots of Meghan and Harry. But what do YOU think, Perezcious readers? Sound OFF in the comments below.
[Image via MEGA/WENN]