Prince Harry’s fears of “history repeating itself” have gained renewed attention after he and Meghan Markle were allegedly involved in a “near catastrophic car chase” with paparazzi.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were followed by half a dozen vehicles after attending a charity awards ceremony on 16 May in New York City. Prince Harry, his wife Meghan, and her mother Doria Ragland were said to be pursued by paparazzi for more than two hours, resulting in “multiple collisions” with other drivers and pedestrians.
“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,” a spokesperson for the couple said in a statement on Wednesday. “This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD (New York Police Department) officers.”
The event unsurprisingly prompted many comparisons to Prince Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, who was killed in a high-speed chase in 1997 after trying to flee paparazzi through a tunnel in Paris.
The 38-year-old royal and father of two has long spoken out against aggressive press intrusion, which he blames for the death of his mother when he was just 12 years old. The duke wrote extensively about Diana’s death in his best-selling memoir, Spare, and has shared several of his fears about “history repeating itself” in the case of his wife, Meghan Markle.
“My biggest fear was history repeating itself”
Prince Harry first compared the media’s treatment of his mother to his wife Meghan during the couple’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021. “My biggest fear was history repeating itself,” he said during the sit-down interview, which aired on CBS.
He told Winfrey: “I’m just really relieved and happy to be sitting here talking to you with my wife by my side because I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like for her [Diana] going through this process by herself all those years ago. Because it’s been unbelievably tough for the two of us but at least we have each other.”
“I do not want to be a single dad”
Following the release of Spare earlier this year, Prince Harry further explained he and Meghan’s decision to step down as senior working royals in 2020 and relocate their family to the United States.
During his ITV interview with Tom Bradby last January, Harry narrated an excerpt from his book that recounted the night his father, King Charles III, told him his mother had died. “You know, my father coming in, in his dressing gown and sharing that news with me, only now as part of writing the book, that I really think about how many hours he’d been awake,” the duke said, adding he had “compassion” for Charles having to “break this to my two sons”.
Harry added that was part of the reason “why we are here now”.
“I never want to be in that position. I don’t want history to repeat itself. I do not want to be a single dad. And I certainly don’t want my children to have a life without a mother or a father.”
“They’re not going to stop until she dies”
In the five-episode docuseries The Me You Can’t See, which was released on Apple TV+ in May 2021, Prince Harry compared his mother being “chased to her death while she was in a relationship with someone that wasn’t white” to his relationship with Meghan Markle.
While speaking to Oprah Winfrey, the duke explained that one of the main reasons he and Meghan decided to leave the UK was the constant harassment by the media, which frequently published stories about the duchess, who is half Black, with racially charged undertones.
“Do I have any regrets? Yeah, my biggest regret is not making more of a stance earlier on in my relationship with my wife and calling out the racism when I did,” he said.
Harry then compared his relationship with Meghan to that of his mother’s with Dodi Al Fayed, revealing that he felt “history was repeating itself” as his mother was also targeted by the paparazzi for dating someone that “wasn’t white”.
“History was repeating itself. My mother was chased to her death while she was in a relationship with someone that wasn’t white. And now look at what’s happened. You wanna talk about history repeating itself, they’re not gonna stop until she dies,” he said.
“It’s incredibly triggering to potentially lose another woman in my life,” Harry continued. “The list is growing. And it all comes back to the same people, the same business model, the same industry. Because my father used to say to me when I was younger, he used to say to both William and I: ‘Well it was like that for me so it’s gonna be like that for you.’”
The duke – who shares four-year-old son Prince Archie and one-year-old daughter Lilibet Diana with Meghan – went on to say how his father’s mindset “doesn’t make sense” to him.
“Just because you suffered, that doesn’t mean that your kids have to suffer,” Harry said. “In fact quite the opposite, if you’ve suffered, do whatever you can to make sure that whatever experiences, negative experiences you had, that you can make it right for your kids.”
Despite his wife’s mental health struggles – Meghan has previously admitted to experiencing suicidal thoughts during her time in the royal family – Harry also said that his family initially denied their requests to step away from their roles as working royals, noting that “there was no option to leave”.
He said: “Eventually when I made that decision for my family, I was still told you can’t do this. And it’s like: ‘Well how bad does it have to get until I am allowed to do this?’
“She was going to end her life. It shouldn’t have to get to that.”
The “near catastrophic” car chase involving Prince Harry and Meghan Markle reportedly occurred just hours before a man suspected of “stalking” was arrested outside the couple’s home in Santa Barbara County, California on Tuesday morning.
The 29-year-old man, named Kevin Garcia Valdovinos, was allegedly seen “lurking” outside the mansion in Montecito around 2am, according to TMZ. He was booked on misdemeanor stalking charges after police attended the scene, and was reportedly released on $2,500 bail.
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