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Prince Harry And Meghan In Near Catastrophic Car Chase With Paparazzi, Spokesperson Says5 min read

Prince Harry And Meghan In Near Catastrophic Car Chase With Paparazzi, Spokesperson Says<span class="wtr-time-wrap after-title"><span class="wtr-time-number">5</span> min read</span>
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the duchess’s mother were involved in a “near catastrophic” two-hour car chase in New York after being followed by “a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi”, the duke’s spokesperson has said.

The incident is said to have happened after Prince Harry, Meghan and her mother, Doria Ragland, attended an awards ceremony on Tuesday.

The three of them are said to have been subjected to a “relentless pursuit” involving half a dozen blacked-out vehicles.

There were no reported collisions, injuries or arrests, police said.

In a statement, their spokesperson 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.

“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 in involved.”

PA Media reported that it was understood that no members of the royal family had contacted Harry and Meghan as of 10pm BST on Wednesday following news of the incident emerging.

According to reports, the couple originally left the award ceremony on Tuesday in an SUV, and were followed by photographers. Aided by police officers assisting their private security detail, the couple went to a police station about 14 blocks away, AP reported.

They spent several minutes there waiting for the situation to de-escalate and, once it was safe, left in a yellow taxi cab, according to a law enforcement official, who was speaking on condition of anonymity.

However, after driving around the block for 10 minutes it was evident they were still being followed. They returned to the police precinct and left the taxi. Eventually they completed their journey in their security vehicle.

A member of the security team protecting the couple said that after the couple had left the event, the chase was “chaotic” and could have ended in fatalities.

Speaking to CNN, Chris Sanchez said there were “about a dozen vehicles: cars, scooters and bicycles”. He continued: “The public were in jeopardy at several points. It could have been fatal.”

He added that at one point the couple’s limousine was blocked by the vehicles, which were “jumping curbs and red lights”. When the couple eventually got to the apartment they were staying in, he described them as “scared, exhausted, but relieved to be back”.

Sukhcharn Singh told AP he was driving his yellow cab on 57th Street, near an NYPD precinct a few blocks south of Central Park, when a security guard waved him down. Singh pulled to the curb, he said, and Harry, Meghan and her mother got in. “They were following us the whole time,” said Singh, though he said he would not call it a chase.

Julian Phillips, NYPD deputy commissioner for public information, said: “The NYPD 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 duke and duchess are said to accept there is a heightened level of attention when they are out at public events. In this case, they exited and entered the venue publicly and were photographed by paparazzi, according to a source.

But there were understood to be fears that the ensuing chase could have been fatal. According to one source, the chase involved half a dozen blacked-out vehicles with unidentified people driving recklessly and endangering the convoy and everyone around them.

Traffic violations were said to have included driving on the sidewalk, running red lights, reversing down a one-way street, driving while on the phone, driving while photographing and illegally blocking a moving vehicle.

It was claimed that individuals involved were confronted by uniformed police multiple times and sped off to continue the pursuit.

The family was staying at a private residence and did not want to compromise the security of their friend’s home, a source said. There is said to be footage taken from security along with other evidence to support the timeline and circumstances.

Meghan received a Woman of Vision award on Tuesday as she and Harry made their first public appearance since the coronation of King Charles. In her speech, Meghan encouraged women to fight for equity as she accepted the award at the Ms. Foundation for Women’s annual gala.

New York City mayor, Eric Adams, told reporters he had not received a full briefing about the incident yet, but he called it “reckless and irresponsible” for anyone to be chasing people in vehicles in the densely populated city, and said that “two of our officers could have been injured”.

Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the reports.

Video footage obtained by the TMZ website appeared to show the Sussexes in a taxi, which was stationary with flashes apparently from cameras reflecting off the vehicle’s windows. Two police cars were immediately behind them, but when the taxi drove off, the police cars went in a different direction. “It looks like the cops tried to outwit the paps by driving in a different direction than the cab,” TMZ said.

Harry has frequently spoken about his anger about press intrusion, which he blames for the death of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, who was killed when her car crashed as it was followed by paparazzi in Paris in 1997. He has also spoken of his fears of history repeating itself, particularly in respect of media interest in his wife.

He is currently involved in several court cases in London, where he has accused papers of using unlawful methods to target him and his family.

He is bringing a contested claim against Mirror Group Newspapers over allegations of unlawful information gathering.

Harry is also waiting for rulings over whether similar cases against publishers Associated Newspapers Limited and News Group Newspapers can continue.

A judgment is also expected over the duke’s libel claim against ANL – publisher of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday – over an article on his case against the Home Office.

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