Meghan Markle was supposed to receive an award in person for her podcast Archetypes at the Gracie Awards in Beverly Hills last night. Instead, just a week after she and Prince Harry were involved in a car chase by paparazzi that was “relentless” and “near catastrophic,” per their rep, Meghan chose not to go. This morning, as news spread of her absence, Us Weekly published a report detailing how she and Harry feel about the public response to their car chase, along with all the people and outlets casting doubt on their story.
They are “shocked” by it, the source said: “They insist their account of the car chase was absolutely not exaggerated, and for people to say otherwise is so hurtful and out of line.”
They also refuse to let the public treatment of them scare them into silence, the source explained: “As far as staying out of sight and being scared to show their faces, that’s not going to happen. [This has] just strengthened their resolve to keep standing up for themselves and speaking out when they feel wronged.”
Harry and Meghan’s rep released a statement last Wednesday after the two-hour chase happened following the couple’s appearance at the Ms. Foundation’s Women of Vision Awards, where Meghan was honored.
Their rep said, per Variety, “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. 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.”
“Dissemination of these images, given the ways in which they were obtained, encourages a highly intrusive practice that is dangerous to all in involved,” the rep continued.
A spokesperson for the couple, Ashley Hansen, later spoke further to the New York Times about claims that the couple staged the car chase.
The newspaper pointed out that a lawyer for Prince Harry had appeared in London court on Tuesday, hours before the chase happened in New York City. The lawyer argued that Harry “should be allowed to challenge a government decision that denied him the right to pay for police protection when he visits the U.K.,” the Associated Press wrote. The court ultimately rejected Harry’s request for appeal.
Hansen shut down the notion the chase was planned. “Respectfully, considering the duke’s family history [Harry’s mother Princess Diana was killed in 1997 when paparazzi were pursuing her vehicle in Paris], one would have to think nothing of the couple or anybody associated with them to believe this was any sort of PR stunt. Quite frankly, I think that’s abhorrent.”
Senior News and Strategy Editor
Alyssa Bailey is the senior news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton). She previously held positions at InStyle and Cosmopolitan. When she’s not working, she loves running around Central Park, making people take #ootd pics of her, and exploring New York City.