Oh, those Sussexes. Harry and Meghan, renowned privacy seekers who, ironically, can’t stand life away from the spotlight, have seemingly spun up a yarn about being caught up in a “near catastrophic” car chase through the streets of New York City. Their story evoked images of Harry’s mother, the late Princess Diana, being relentlessly pursued back in the day by paparazzi determined to get their million-dollar shot of the world’s most photographed woman.
The pair — who were recently skewered by a South Park episode depicting the couple embarking on a “Worldwide Privacy Tour” while holding signs saying “STOP LOOKING AT US!” and “WE WANT OUR PRIVACY!!!” — were in the Big Apple earlier this week for an awards ceremony. Meghan, apparently, was a recipient of the 2023 Women of Vision Award presented by the Ms. Foundation, an organization that “works to bring attention to the real challenges facing women, especially women of color and low-income women who are living in poverty.” Marrying into the royal family apparently makes you an expert on all kinds of global matters.
The couple, accompanied by Meghan’s mother and one bodyguard, were hoping to throw off photographers by departing the awards ceremony in a yellow cab. According to the Sussexes, thus began a “relentless pursuit lasting more than two hours.” A Sussex spokesman said of the incident:
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.
This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers.
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.
This, of course, led to an outcry of horror from people who remembered Princess Diana’s untimely death in 1997 when the car she was riding in crashed while being chased by paparazzi through the streets of Paris. The cynical among us might conclude that this was the intention of the Sussexes.
The thing is, their version of events might have been a tad overblown.
It was revealed by Julian Phillips, deputy commissioner of public information in NYC, that the NYPD assisted the couple’s security detail and that the duke and duchess “arrived at their destination and there were no reported collisions, summonses, injuries or arrests in regard.”
Mayor Eric Adams expressed doubt that a “two-hour high-speed chase” took place.
And then there’s the cab driver. Sukhcharn ‘Sunny’ Singh said he picked up the couple after being flagged down by a bodyguard, but never felt unsafe and doesn’t “think that’s true” when asked if the ride had been catastrophic.
Despite there being serious holes in their version of events, the couple demanded that the Backgrid photo agency turn over any photos taken that night by their freelance photographers. This is where things get good.
Backgrid, in their response, harkened back to the American Revolution and encouraged the Sussex’s lawyers to advise his clients that “English rules of royal prerogative to demand that the citizenry hand over their property to the Crown were rejected by this country long ago.”
Here’s the entire statement:
In America, as I’m sure you know, property belongs to the owner of it: Third parties cannot just demand it be given to them, as perhaps Kings can do.
Perhaps you should sit down with your client and advise them that his English rules of royal prerogative to demand that the citizenry hand over their property to the Crown were rejected by this country long ago. We stand by our founding fathers.
A jolly good response, wouldn’t you say?
Twitter, of course, loved the royal smackdown, with Candace Owens, who is married to an Englishman, taking particular delight in Backgrid’s cheeky statement.
I promise this is worth the read. Harry & Meghan had their lawyers fire off a letter to the paparazzi agency that followed them last night, demanding all of their footage.
This is how the agency responded:
(Yes, it’s real) 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/mu5uxFf1IW
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) May 18, 2023
Since it seems we’re stuck with the irritating Sussexes, we might as well have some fun at their expense. Backgrid handled the situation perfectly and deserves some tea and biscuits for their effort.