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Connect the World
Spokesperson: Britain's Price Harry and Meghan in "Near-Catastrophic Car Chase" Involving Paparazzi in NY. Aired 11:45a-12p ET
Aired May 17, 2023 - 11:45 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LYNDA KINKADE, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Hello, I'm Lynda Kinkade. Good to have you with us. We are following the breaking news on what by all
accounts seems to be a very scary dangerous incident involving Britain's Prince Harry, his wife Meghan, and Meghan's mother.
Harry's spokesperson says they were all in a near catastrophic car chase in New York City involving aggressive paparazzi that went on for more than two
hours. They had been attending an award ceremony Tuesday night, which Meghan was honored.
These are images from that event. Royal Watcher Bidisha Mamata is with us from London. Good to have you with us. So this -- Harry's team put out a
statement saying that the couple accepted that there is a heightened level of attention when they are out in public. But this chase last night they
say was near fatal what's been the reaction there in London?
BIDISHA MAMATA, BROADCASTER/ROYALWATCHER: Shock, horror, dismay and surprise, all of the main channels are covering this because it's so
incredibly and distressingly redolent of things that we saw decades back. It's as if the entire chasing aggressive invasive paparazzi culture of the
1990s and the 2000s is back again with Princess Diana it happened in Paris.
And now what have we chosen a different location? It's happening in New York. It's so effective precisely because everybody knows. This is Prince
Harry's worst nightmare, not just his nightmare for his family now. It's his worst childhood nightmare.
This is why they put out such a stark statement in fact I thought their statement was very detailed and incredibly controlled in terms of its
emotionality. They simply pointed out that these sorts of activities, they lead to photographs that are going to be sold to the media, the mainstream
media, the tabloid press, it doesn't matter. They're asking people to think about how images like that were taken in the first place. What's the risk?
What's the harm?
KINKADE: Yes, exactly. And as you pointed out, when you hear those words, near catastrophic car chase with paparazzi of course you immediately think
of Princess Diana and that car chase in 1997.
And this is one trauma obviously, that Harry has spoken about in the past and more recently in his book Spare.
MAMATA: This is so important for him, because in his mind, the story he's telling himself is, I lost my own mother, the most important person to me
emotionally in a tragic, violent, horrible way, I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure it doesn't happen to me again, but also make sure
it doesn't happen to anyone else.
All of his legal actions against the papers and the paparazzi are for everyone. If there's a ruling in favor of the victims of paparazzi that
affects all famous people so he's carrying the can for so many others who are in the same situation. And yes, of course, we all know that it's very
personal to him.
Princess Diana's agony and the thing that we respond to is the idea that just because you're famous, your fair game, is this the price that it one
must pay to be a woman in public life? Why are we seeing this happening all over again, decades later?
We're supposed to have moved on as a society, we're supposed to have learned the lessons of the past. And that's why it's so shocking, because
to me, this newspaper headline that broke today, could have -- come could have happened in 1996, 2001. We can't go back to this kind of behavior.
It's so frightening a two hour chase. And I absolutely believe that statement, the NYPD have not yet released a statement, and they have not
come out and contradicted those fundamental details.
KINKADE: Bidisha if you can stay with me, I also want to introduce our Melissa Bell, who joins us from Paris. Melissa, we were just talking about
how this incident takes you back to the death of Princess Diana, who was killed in that car accident while being chased by paparazzi decades ago
back in 1997. Take us through the reaction there.
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: That's right; it will have been 26 years this August since Harry's mother was killed, in that paparazzi chase
through the streets of Paris and most famously through the port landmark. Even today, it is remembered with a memorial and of course, everybody
remembers where they were when they heard.
And I think what is so extraordinary all of these years later is that as you were just hearing, nothing has been learned at all, but also just how
fragile Prince Harry finds himself just as his mother was with very little to protect him from the intrusive press gaze, almost as if those who had
been at the center of the Royal Family and then took a step out rule the more attractive to the press.
But all the more vulnerable at the same time is what happened to his mother. And it appears to be what's happening to him again, of course with
completely different consequences. There was no fatal accident, neither of them are hurt. We're talking about very different instances, incidents.
But of course, it is what he will have remembered and what he's been fearing and talking about for these last few years. That is most important
to remember as we imagine what the couple went through for a couple of hours yesterday being chased through those cars.
Just as Princess Diana had as she tried to leave the Ritz Hotel to make her way with Dodi Fayed her partner of the time to an apartment where they'd be
staying overnight, a decoy card was sent one way to try and fool the paparazzi. And yet a bunch of them managed to track the right car down in
which she was traveling with Dodi Fayed, chase them.
And it was the reckless driving that ensued under the -- in that tunnel that ultimately led to her death with her pronounced dead just a few hours
of the accident as she arrived at the hospital. There has been so much looking back over it to understand what happened and yet so few lessons
learned it seems.
KINKADE: Yes. And this near catastrophic car chase, which is how Harry's team has described it, happened about midnight last night after this of
"Women a Vision" event in which Meghan was given an award.
And I mean, it's hard to imagine how there was a two hour chase through Manhattan in the middle of the city, where traffic there is typically at a
standstill. But certainly one of the reasons to you Bidisha -- one of the reasons the main reasons really that Harry and Meghan left London was
because of that scrutiny by the paparazzi.
MAMATA: Scrutiny is a very diplomatic word because I think they probably find themselves feeling much more than scrutinized. They probably feel
hounded stalked, harassed. The narrative they're saying to themselves is "oh my God, this terrible thing happened decades ago".
A new person has marriage in the family. We've fled. We escaped. We gave it all up. We've tried to build a new life where in the New World America the
new world where we can be free. And yes, fine. We want to be celebrities in the public eye that's a completely legitimate aim there's nothing wrong
And yet somehow, this thing is still following us. This thing that we tried to get away from is still here with us. Are we going to have to look over
our shoulder forever? Don't forget that all the times that Harry and Meghan jointly gave interviews or did their Netflix documentaries and said, look,
we feel very vulnerable.
We're concerned about our own personal security and that of our family. Lots of people scoffed, including people who were really quite sympathetic
towards the couple. They said, well, you know, OK, fine, you're rich and famous. But how much in danger can you be?
Are you more in danger than the average a list celebrity? An event like this demonstrates that what they're saying is not the result of paranoia,
or ego, or an inflated sense of their importance. Their worst fear came true. And the strong implication in their statement is that it's just luck
that nobody was hurt --
MAMATA: -- them, not their driver, not any of the people chasing them.
KINKADE: Bidisha Mamata and our Melissa Bell for us in Paris, good to have you both with us. We are going to stay on this story in the coming hour.
We'll have more detail on this new catastrophic car chase as it has been described by Prince Harry's team.
Prince Harry, Meghan and her mother in a car chase last night in Manhattan. Thanks so much for joining us that was "Connect the World". I'm Lynda
Kinkade, stay with us for much more news with Christina MacFarlane.