Prince Harry has a deeper understanding of his mother Princess Diana‘s tragic death after getting caught up in a “near catastrophic” paparazzi car chase earlier this week.
According to a source who opened up to The Times on Thursday, the Duke of Sussex has been telling friends the ordeal was the “closest I have ever felt” to understanding the circumstances that led to the former Princess of Wales’ death.
As Perezcious readers know, Diana passed away in Paris amid a paparazzi car chase in 1997. Harry was just 12 at the time. In his memoir, Spare, he reflected on the devastating loss, including revealing he drove through the same tunnel where his mother died when he was older in hopes of finding closure. Oddly this scary incident may have gotten him one step closer to that.
For a little extra background into Di’s shocking death… David Douglas is a senior police officer who was part of Operation Paget, the investigation into various conspiracy theories surrounding the Princess’ death launched by the Metropolitan Police in 2004. In an interview with Good Morning Britain last year, he confirmed the crash was, in fact, a “terrible, tragic accent.” When asked if the combination of no seatbelts, paps, and the driver being intoxicated led to the crash, the officer mused:
“When you look at most incidents, accidents, you find there’s a chain of events, and if any one of those chain of events had been different, it might not have led to that happening. For example, if they’d been wearing seatbelts, our experts tell us it was probably an 80% chance that they would have survived the accident. It still would’ve been a terrible accident, and they’d been badly injured, but probably not fatal.”
Jeez. How sad. Diana’s tragic death was the first thing most people thought about when the Sussexes’ spokesperson revealed they were chased by “a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi” on Tuesday night. Compounding things was the fact Meghan Markle‘s mother Doria Ragland was with the couple as they left the Ms. Foundation‘s Women of Vision Awards. Not only was Harry afraid of losing his wife, but her mom, too? One can see why this was so triggering — even if everyone was safe and sound in the end.
The pursuit reportedly lasted about two hours and involved the group switching into a yellow cab in hopes they could escape their followers, which didn’t work. The rep shared:
“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.”
According to a People source, the group was “shaken” after the incident:
“It was a disturbing situation, and they were shaken, but they are glad everyone’s okay.”
The NYPD confirmed the situation, saying it was “challenging” for the couple to get away from the cameras — though their description was far less harrowing. Not everyone who witnessed the dramatic moment believes it was life-threatening at all. Thankfully no vehicles crashed, and no one was hurt — but that doesn’t mean there weren’t close calls. We’ll never know how upsetting it was for Harry in particular, given his history.
Of note? Despite the similarities to Diana’s death, it has been reported that no one from the royal family reached out to Harry or Meghan to check in on them about the scary event. Pretty brutal knowing how traumatic this must’ve been for the 38-year-old. Thoughts?