Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were involved in a “near catastrophic car chase” with paparazzi in New York City on Tuesday night, the couple’s spokesperson has alleged.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex had attended the Women of Vision Awards, alongside Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland. They were photographed at the event and while arriving and leaving, but according to the couple, were chased by “highly aggressive paparazzi” after leaving the venue, which allegedly involved multiple traffic violations.
“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,” the couple’s spokesperson said.
“This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers.”
A member of the couple’s security team told CNN it was a “very chaotic” scene, involving about “a dozen vehicles”, including cars, scooters and bicycles.
“I have never seen, experienced anything like this,” Chris Sanchez told the broadcast network. “The public were in jeopardy at several points. It could have been fatal.”
The couple, who use private security in the United States, reportedly tried to take shelter by going to a Manhattan police station. In an attempt to throw off the paps, they decided to use a New York taxi, even getting inside the cab before the plan was abandonded.
The taxi driver, Sukhcharn Singh, told The Washington Post that he drove the couple for about 10 minutes, but wouldn’t call it a “chase”.
“They were quiet and seemed scared but it’s New York — it’s safe,” he said, adding that he believed the couple were pursued prior to getting in his car.
The mayor of New York City, Eric Adams, condemened the incident as “reckless” and “irresponsible”.
“You shouldn’t be speeding anywhere, but this is a densely populated city, and I think all of us, I don’t think there’s many of us who don’t recall how his mum died,” Adams told reporters, referencing the death of Princess Diana in 1997.
“It’s clear that the paparazzi want to get the right shot, they want to get the right story, but public safety must always be at the forefront.”
Harry and Meghan‘s spokesperson also called for media not to publish images taken during the alleged chase.
“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,” they said.
“Dissemination of these images, given the ways in which they were obtained, encourages a highly intrusive practice that is dangerous to all involved.”
Buckingham Palace has yet to release a statement.