The court of public opinion on Harry and Meghan is unmoved. The book, the Netflix series, and numerous television interviews cemented people’s opinions.
There are those who have sympathy for a persecuted couple. And those who think they are a couple of hypocrites – they crave the quiet life but complain when they put themselves in the spotlight, as they often do.
Conversations with people close to them hint at how they reflect on this schism in public opinion towards them.
Speaking exclusively to Sky News, the couple’s publicist Ashley Hansen said: “I have never experienced their vulnerability as much as last night. They were incredibly scared and shaken.”
Her job is to reflect the views of her “headmasters”, as she describes the Sussexes. And about the details of the accident, he wished to counter any narratives, prompted by their initial statement, that there had been a two-hour high-speed car chase.
“There were several times where the car stalled and security got out,” he told me.
“There have been instances where the police have confronted the paparazzi and asked them to stop or give them space, to do it safely. Unfortunately, that wish has not been respected.”
Claiming that all of this is just a publicity stunt to present the couple as victims as they battle British tabloids in court, he said numerous people in addition to his principals were in danger, including pedestrians and two police officers – a claim confirmed by police of New York Department (NYPD).
There is a lot of footage of the chase taken at the chase points. Some are from CCTV; some apparently captured by the prince himself who has been seen, in paparazzi footage on his cell phone.
The spokesperson said the footage could be part of an investigation the NYPD has launched, an investigation it said the couple had not requested.
The words of a member of the security team charged with protecting the couple paint a vivid picture of the chase from their point of view.
Tom Buda, a former NYPD detective who also worked at the US State Department, said: ‘They used e-bikes to help their sedans keep up. I witnessed at least 15 lights go out from the vehicles of the paparazzi”.
Mr Buda continued: ‘As a security, we don’t know what the intentions of these alleged paparazzi are – and we don’t know who is who. And they were driving recklessly. Our guess was that they were paparazzi. Trying to make a lot of money . But they were driving aggressively and badly. The duke and duchess were a little rattled.”
To know more:
NYPD officials suggest Sussex car chase ‘not catastrophic’
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What did Prince Harry previously say about the paparazzi?
Carolyn Durand co-authored the bestseller Finding Freedom, which chronicles the couple’s decision to leave the royal family and move to California. You attended the awards ceremony in Manhattan where the chase began.
“They’re being chased all the time. It’s so true,” he told me. “But I think six blacked out cars, more people on bikes, scooters…he carries those memories of what happened to his mother. He wants to protect his wife and mother-in-law.”
“I understand that people have very strong views on Harry and Meghan, especially after her book came out.” she said.
“The Duke and Duchess want to create the compromise where they can live a more peaceful life in California, but still highlight the issues that are important to both of them. And I think that’s commendable, certainly.
“They’re going to have to figure out what the balance is: whether they really want that life of privacy and how to balance that with people chasing you through the streets of New York or Los Angeles or London.”
The events on the streets of Manhattan are not part of the tabloid press case Harry is fighting in London, but they clearly, some fittingly say, further his cause.