Paparazzi agency refuses Harry and Meghan's demand to hand over all 'near catastrophic' car chase pictures

19 May 2023, 08:52 | Updated: 19 May 2023, 08:57

The legal letter demanded the agency "immediately provide" the agency with copies of all assets taken by the photographers after they left the Ms Foundation’s Women of Vision awards ceremony in Manhattan.
The legal letter demanded the agency "immediately provide" the agency with copies of all assets taken by the photographers after they left the Ms Foundation’s Women of Vision awards ceremony in Manhattan. Picture: LBC / Alamy / Getty

By Danielle DeWolfe

The Paparazzi agency who took pictures of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex during what's been described as a "near catastrophic" car chase have refused the royals' demands to hand over all pictures of the incident.

It follows claims by Harry and Meghan's spokesperson that the couple were "aggressively" chased through the streets of New York on Tuesday evening, during what is described as a two-hour car chase.

It's now emerged lawyers for the royal couple have submitted a letter to photo agency Backgrid USA, who own the rights to the photos and videos of the royals taken that evening by four freelance photographers.

The legal letter demanded the agency "immediately provide" them with copies of all assets taken by the photographers after they left the Ms Foundation’s Women of Vision awards ceremony in Manhattan.

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The legal letter demanded the agency "immediately provide" the agency with copies of all assets taken by the photographers after they left the Ms Foundation’s Women of Vision awards ceremony in Manhattan.
The legal letter demanded the agency "immediately provide" the agency with copies of all assets taken by the photographers after they left the Ms Foundation’s Women of Vision awards ceremony in Manhattan. Picture: Getty

As part of a firmly worded response, Backgrid’s lawyers retorted: “In America, as I'm sure you know, property belongs to the owner of it: Third parties cannot just demand it be given to them, as perhaps Kings can do”, TMZ reported.

The pithy response also told the Duke and Duchess of Sussex that the US is not a country that plays by "English rules of royal prerogative" when it comes to property.

The events of Tuesday night saw the couple, accompanied by the Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, and a single bodyguard, attempt to avoid the paparazzi by swapping their SUV for a yellow New York taxi before later switching vehicles again.

Read more: New York police say Harry and Meghan car chase was ‘a bit chaotic’ but not ‘near catastrophic’

Read more: Photographer 'in Harry and Meghan chase' speaks out and blames their driver for 'catastrophic experience'

In a statement released on Wednesday, the couple's spokesman said: "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."

The legal letter demanded the agency "immediately provide" the agency with copies of all assets taken by the photographers after they left the Ms Foundation’s Women of Vision awards ceremony in Manhattan.
The legal letter demanded the agency "immediately provide" the agency with copies of all assets taken by the photographers after they left the Ms Foundation’s Women of Vision awards ceremony in Manhattan. Picture: Getty

Julian Phillips, deputy commissioner of public information in New York, revealed that the NYPD had "assisted" the couple's private security team.

It added the car journey involving the royals was a "bit chaotic".

It comes as former Royal Security police chief Dai Davies told the Daily Mail that it "beggars believe" that Harry and Meghan’s team hailed a taxi and bundled them inside.

It follows a statement issued on Thursday by Backgrid which noted the photographers in Manhattan on Tuesday evening “had no intention of causing any distress or harm, as their only tool was their cameras.”

In a statement, the company added: “according to the photographers present, there were no near-collisions or near-crashes during this incident.“The photographers have reported feeling that the couple was not in immediate danger at any point.”

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