Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were in New York City on Tuesday for the Duchess of Sussex to accept the Women of Vision Award from Gloria Steinem’s Ms. Foundation for Women.
What started out as a glitzy post-coronation event for the couple turned into a series of dramatic headlines, after the former royals claimed to be involved in a “near catastrophic” paparazzi chase on the way back to their residence after the reception.
On Wednesday, Megyn opened the show by responding to the statement from the couple’s publicist about the alleged incident and detailing the realities of what it means to be a public figure in America today.
The Alleged Incident
In April, the Brooklyn-based Ms. Foundation for Women announced it would be honoring Markle at its annual Gloria Awards Gala with the Women of Vision Award in recognition of the former actress’ “global advocacy to empower and advocate on behalf of women and girls.”
Markle attended the event – held at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in midtown Manhattan – with her husband and mother, Doria Ragland. She wore a $1,850 gold strapless Johanna Ortiz minidress accessorized with $1,350 metallic Tom Ford stilettos, a yellow Carolina Herrera clutch, and bejeweled J.Crew hoop earrings for her first official public appearance since King Charles III’s coronation, which she did not attend.
Following the ceremony, video shows the trio exiting the venue and getting into a black car – presumably to return to where they were staying on the Upper East Side. On Wednesday morning, the couple’s publicist released a statement saying her clients had been pursued by “relentless” photographers, putting their lives at risk:
“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.”
Later that evening, paparazzi video seems to show Prince Harry, Markle, Ragland, and private security getting in a New York City taxi cab with police cars trailing behind. A New York City Police Department spokesperson confirmed that officers were involved in transporting the trio in less hysterical terms:
“On [Tuesday] evening, May 16, the NYPD assisted the private security team protecting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. There were numerous photographers that made their transport challenging. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived at their destination and there were no reported collisions, summonses, injuries, or arrests in regard.”
The incident comes amid the Duke of Sussex’s ongoing legal battle in the United Kingdom over security. Earlier in the day, the prince’s attorneys were in a London court arguing that he should be allowed to pay for public police protection during his visits.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s History of Mistruths
While Megyn said she was “open minded to a different story” once more facts emerge, she believes the current telling of events “stinks to high heaven” – “just like everything this pair puts out into the public eye.”
The couple regularly bemoans what they see as press incursions, often in an attempt to draw parallels to the tragic death of Princess Diana. “I’ve got questions in particular because they have a history of lying, as you know, and even of exaggerating their alleged car chases,” Megyn noted. One such example showed up in their six-part Netflix docuseries Harry & Meghan. “Who could forget this scene from their Netflix special where they were urging one another to remember ‘safety first, safety first’ after one guy on a vespa was following them, allegedly,” she asked.
Megyn sees this as the latest “sensationalism” from a pair “that needs attention.” Markle, for one, didn’t seem to mind being photographed on a hike the weekend of her father-in-law’s coronation. “This woman hasn’t seen a paparazzi she wants to avoid,” she said. “Who are we kidding? If this pair really wants to avoid encounters with the paparazzi that are unwanted, then they should stop cultivating that relationship.”
Megyn’s Run-Ins with the Paparazzi
As Megyn explained, dealing with paparazzi and the press is part of leading a public life in America. “Let me tell you about something, most of us who are public figures go through something like this multiple times,” she explained. “And we don’t run to our PR agents and have them release a statement playing the victim.”
She told a story that she’s “never revealed before” to illustrate the point. After leaving NBC, Megyn recalled that she “was very much in the news” and the paparazzi were “all over” her. Around the same time, she was diagnosed with a basal cell carcinoma on her left temple. While she said the skin cancer was “nothing,” it did require Mohs surgery to remove.
Her dermatologist performed the procedure, but it was recommended that she visit a plastic surgeon to have it stitched up. “Sure enough, there’s a couple of paparazzi following me, and I don’t particularly want to be photographed with my left temple bleeding going into a plastic surgeon because everybody was going to say, ‘She’s having plastic surgery,’” Megyn said. “That wasn’t it at all. I had a little skin cancer, which I also didn’t think was anybody’s business.”
She called ahead to the plastic surgeon’s office to see if there was a private entrance she could use. There was not, but they assured her they would have security personnel meet her outside. “I think… in an effort to protect me from the paparazzi – but really just call more attention to me – [the guy] comes outside holding this huge red umbrella,” she explained. “And the paparazzi… dives down… and he’s taking photographs from under the umbrella.”
The story made headlines, but not in the way you might expect. “They didn’t put together that I was going in to see a plastic surgeon to stitch up this Mohs procedure,” Megyn shared. “This speculation that hit the press later that day was that I was selling a book to Random House because apparently Random House is in the same building.”
She could have corrected the record, but it just wasn’t worth the effort. “Did I run to the papers and say, ‘I’ve been in danger! I have cancer,’” Megyn asked. “I could have pulled that… [but] most people who are in the public eye take it like a man or a woman and we move on with our day because we understand [the paparazzi] have a job to do and dealing with the press is part of our job, too.”
Megyn’s Advice for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
The duke and duchess have been legally going after the media in the U.K. for their coverage of them, but, as Megyn pointed out, the press doesn’t work the same way on this side of the pond. “Sorry, you two, but you’re in America now, and… the press has the right to photograph you when you’re in a public place, or on the streets, or leaving a place like the Ziegfeld Theatre,” she noted.
While Megyn admitted it’s “not pleasant,” it is “part of life in this country where we still have freedom of the press.” Her advice to the former royals: “You don’t like it? Go back home. For the love of God, please go back home… I don’t know how we got saddled with you to begin with.”
You can check out the full show by tuning in to episode 552 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.