Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, here at the 2023 Invictus Games, will return to NYC on October 10 to attend the World Mental Health Day Festival at Hudson Yards. Photo: Invictus Games Foundation/Twitter Invictus Games Foundation/Twitter

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be taking great measures to ensure their safety when they visit New York for World Mental Health Day on October 10. A PR expert believes that they would have already set up a plan to avoid potential risks especially where the paparazzi are involved.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be in the Big Apple to join the second annual World Mental Health Day Festival. They will host their first-ever in-person "The Archewell Foundation Parents' Summit: Mental Wellness in a Digital Age" with Project Healthy Minds.

The return to the city comes nearly five months since their nearly-two hour car chase with the paparazzi after they attended the Women of Vision Awards on May 16. To ensure a repeat of the incident does not happen, PR expert Mayah Riaz believes that the couple "would have already established a comprehensive security plan".

She told the Mirror: "Ahead of Harry and Meghan's New York trip, they'll likely to be thinking of their last trip and the paparazzi car chase. Therefore, they will no doubt be taking certain measures along with their security and PR teams for a smooth trip."

The security plan would likely "involve assessing potential risks and implementing measures to mitigate them". Riaz suggested this could include "securing safe transportation and coordinating with the New York Police Department".

She added that to "minimise risks" the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would need to ensure that their driver (s) is "experienced in handling high profile individuals. Media managing will be crucial too, given the couple's high profile status". The expert said managing the media is important to "avoid invasive and potentially dangerous actions of paparazzi".

Riaz added: "I would imagine Harry and Meghan's PR team have already established clear guidelines for media access to the couple. This will have ensured that only authorised and vetted media professionals are granted access to them."

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and her mother Doria Ragland were involved in a nearly-two hour car chase in their attempt to lose the photographers on their tail. They ended up riding a yellow cab just to misdirect the photographers as they did not want to be tracked back to a friend's house where they were staying at the time.

At the World Mental Health Day Festival, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will join U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy and parents for a discussion "on building community and creating positive change for a safer online world for young people". The summit will start at 1:30 p.m. at Hudson Yards.

The parents featured in the summit are those who have suffered tragic loss related to their child's social media use. A spokesperson for the couple said "the families have been engaged with The Archewell Foundation for the past year, bolstering community and driving towards solutions. Together, they are united in their mission to share personal experiences, data, and research to ensure the same does not happen to other families".

Despite the potential risks that await their visit, Riaz praised the Sussexes' decision to return to New York following their traumatic car chase. She said it "shows that they are not wanting previous incidents to hold them back from supporting causes close to their heart. It would also be a support for them having each other at the event".

Aside from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Prince William and Kate Middleton will also mark World Mental Health Day in Birmingham with a forum discussing mental health among the young people called "Exploring our Emotional Worlds". The forum is expected to "bring together 100 young delegates nominated by ten leading mental health and youth engagement charities".