Harry and Meghan 'incredibly shaken up' after paparazzi pursuit - but NYPD insists it was not 'near catastrophic'

17 May 2023, 15:18 | Updated: 18 May 2023, 00:11

Harry and Meghan were chased by paparazzi for two hours through New York, a spokesman for the prince said
Harry and Meghan were chased by paparazzi for two hours through New York, a spokesman for the prince said. Picture: Getty

By Asher McShane

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Meghan's mother were involved in a 'near catastrophic car chase' in New York, a spokesman for Prince Harry has said.

Prince Harry’s spokesman said the couple were in a “relentless pursuit” by paparazzi that lasted over two hours after an award show in the city.

The couple are said to have been left "extremely upset and shaken" after being chased by around six ‘blacked out’ vehicles, according to reports in the US.

The couple left the award show in an SUV, but at some stage during the chase switched to a New York Taxi.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry seen in New York before 'near catastrophic' car chase

New York police tried to outwit the pursuing photographers by driving in a different direction to the cab.

According to the New York Post's Page Six, a source claimed one cameraman hit a car, while another almost ran over a NYPD officer, during the “near-fatal” chase.

Harry was pictured using his phone to film the group as they were pursued. His security detail also gathered evidence, it is understood.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex at the gala with her mother, Doria Ragland
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex at the gala with her mother, Doria Ragland. Picture: Getty

Read more: Police are not 'private bodyguards for the wealthy,' Prince Harry told as he brings legal challenge over his UK security

Read more: You can be the visionary of your own life': Meghan Markle hails 'acts of service' as she accepts prestigious award

Harry and Meghan leaving the award show on Tuesday night
Harry and Meghan leaving the award show on Tuesday night. Picture: Getty

“It started off with 12 paparazzi then ended up with four chasing [Meghan, Harry and Doria],” the source said.

“Their security tried their best to lose [photographers].”

"This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD (New York Police Department) officers," a spokesperson for the couple said.

“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 statement from their spokesman continues.

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Meghan and Harry were chased for 'two hours,' a spokesman said
Meghan and Harry were chased for 'two hours,' a spokesman said. Picture: Getty

“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.

“Dissemination of these images, given the ways in which they were obtained, encourages a highly intrusive practice that is dangerous to all involved.”

The paparazzi were confronted by uniformed police officers, but ignored warnings and continued chasing the trio, according to Page Six.

New York’s Mayor Eric Adams said the photographers’ behaviour was ‘reckless and irresponsible.’

“I think all of us, I don't think there's many of us, who don't recall how his mom died. And it would be horrific to lose an innocent bystander during a chase like this and something to have happened to them as well," Adams said.

"So I think we have to be extremely responsible. I thought that was a bit reckless and irresponsible,” he said.

The NYPD said in a statement they ‘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 statement said.

The chase happened after Meghan and Harry attended an awards ceremony in New York where Meghan accepted a prestigious 'Women of Vision' accolade.

Hours earlier, Meghan was heckled as she arrived at the award ceremony.

Footage shared on social media showed Harry, Meghan and her mother arriving for the annual gala.

As soon as Meghan stepped out of the car, a man with a British accent could be heard shouting: “Meghan, how do you feel about being a part of two broken families?”

Meghan went on to accept an award and urged women to be “the visionary of your own life” in her speech.

"You can charter a path in which what you repeat in your daily acts of service, in kindness, in advocacy, in grace and in fairness, that those become the very things that are recognised by the next wave of women, both young and old,” she said.

Addressing the Ms Foundation for Women's 50th anniversary event at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in Manhattan last night, the duchess told the crowd: "It's just never too late to start. You can be the visionary of your own life.

"You can charter a path in which what you repeat in your daily acts of service, in kindness, in advocacy, in grace and in fairness, that those become the very things that are recognised by the next wave of women, both young and old, who will also choose this moment to join the movement and make our vision for an equitable world reality."

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