Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, along with Meghan's mother, were engaged in a perilous car chase with paparazzi in New York after attending an awards ceremony, according to a statement from Harry's spokesperson.
The spokesperson described the incident as a “near catastrophic” situation involving a group of “highly aggressive paparazzi” who pursued the couple and Doria Ragland in multiple cars with blacked-out windows, posing a severe threat to their lives.
The spokesperson further stated, “This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians, and two NYPD officers.”
Despite the harrowing experience, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex emerged physically unharmed but shaken.
The New York Police Department (NYPD) acknowledged their role in assisting the couple's private security team but downplayed the severity of the incident.
Julian Phillips, the chief spokesperson for the NYPD, remarked, “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.”
Taxi driver Sukhcharn Singh, as reported by The Washington Post, shared his account of driving the group and a security guard for approximately 10 minutes before returning to the police station, following the security guard's request.
Singh stated, “I don't think I would call it a chase,” adding that two vehicles followed them, capturing pictures and filming beside their car.
“I never felt like I was in danger. It wasn't like a car chase in a movie. They (the couple) were quiet and seemed scared but it's New York — it's safe,” Singh commented.
Images circulating on social media captured Prince Harry, Meghan, and her mother seated in the back of a New York taxi, providing a glimpse of the measures taken to combat the harassment, as stated by their spokesperson.
Media reports revealed that the couple resorted to switching to a taxi in an attempt to evade the pursuing photographers after departing from the Ziegfeld Ballroom in midtown Manhattan.
Prince Harry's deep-rooted aversion to media intrusion, driven by the tragic death of his mother Princess Diana, who perished in a car crash while being pursued by paparazzi in Paris in 1997, was referenced by their spokesperson.
The couple's spokesperson emphasized that Tuesday's chase could have resulted in fatal consequences, with paparazzi driving on sidewalks, running red lights, and capturing photos while driving.
According to the spokesperson, the photographers were confronted by law enforcement officers on multiple occasions.
Chris Sanchez, a member of the couple's security team, expressed his concern for the safety of the public, stating, “I have never seen, experienced anything like this. What we were dealing with was very chaotic. There were about a dozen vehicles: cars, scooters, and bicycles.”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams was briefed on the incident and expressed his worry about the potential injury of two NYPD officers.
Adams remarked, “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.”
While awaiting a detailed briefing, Adams found it difficult to believe that a high-speed chase lasting two hours could have occurred.
“If it's 10 minutes, a 10-minute chase is extremely dangerous in New York City,” Adams emphasized.
The Ms. Foundation for Women, the organizers of the awards ceremony where Meghan received recognition for her work, expressed their horror at the incident and called for improved behavior
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