Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, alleged Wednesday that they were involved in a “near catastrophic car chase” in New York on Tuesday night while being followed by “a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi.” But their dire statement, which immediately heightened concerns about the embattled couple’s well-being and evoked the the death of Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, has been tempered by authorities responding to the incident.
A spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said that the couple and Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, were pursued by photographers relentlessly for more than two hours.
“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 Archewell Inc. spokesperson said.
The spokesperson did not say whether Harry, Meghan or Ragland were injured during the incident but added that the alleged chase resulted in multiple near-collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two New York Police Department officers.
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An NYPD spokesperson confirmed to The Times on Wednesday that the officers “assisted the private security team protecting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.”
“There were numerous photographers that made their transport challenging,” Julian Phillips, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner, public information, said in a statement. “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived at their destination and there were no reported collisions, summonses, injuries, or arrests in regard.”
Earlier that night, Harry, 38, and Meghan, 41, attended the Woman of Vision Awards, where the former “Suits” star was given an award at the annual Ms. Foundation for Women gala. She encouraged women to fight for equality as she accepted the award during the feminist organization’s 50th=anniversary celebration and fundraiser, attended by founder Gloria Steinem.
The highly scrutinized couple, who moved to California after stepping back as senior royals in 2020, reportedly entered and exited the Ziegfeld Ballroom venue publicly so that paparazzi could take photos there. The couple boarded a black SUV in front of crowds of pedestrians and photographers, the Associated Press reported.
At one point, however, their departure from the event involved them ditching the SUV for a yellow New York taxi.
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Two law enforcement sources told WNBC-TV in New York on Wednesday that Harry and Meghan left the New York theater around 10 p.m. with private security and were driven around the city for a little over an hour with a police escort. They were then driven to a police precinct station, where they stayed briefly to get into a different car, then left without being followed. Footage obtained by TMZ showed them riding in the back seat of a taxi at one point and reported that one of the pursuit cars went the wrong way on a one-way street, with Harry and Meghan’s vehicle hitting a speed of 80 miles per hour on the FDR Drive highway in Manhattan.
The taxi driver who transported the couple after they attended the gala told the Washington Post that he would not call the incident a chase, adding that he felt safe during the ride. AP identified the driver as Sukhcharn Singh, who recognized the prince and the former actor, and said that paparazzi “were following us the whole time.”
“They had this look on their faces,” Singh told AP. “All of a sudden paparazzi came out and started taking pictures.” He told “Talk TV” that he was involved for about 10 minutes of the alleged two-hour ordeal.
New York Mayor Eric Adams immediately condemned the paparazzi’s behavior as “reckless and irresponsible,” but he was skeptical about how long the alleged chase could have lasted in the densely populated city.
“I would find it hard to believe that there was a two-hour high-speed chase,” Adams told the New York Daily News Wednesday. “That would be hard to believe..” He later said that the the duke and duchess had been driving around for about 45 minutes before arriving at the police station, where there was “a pause until it was resolved.”
The chase allegedly included a half-dozen blacked-out vehicles and resulted in several traffic violations, such as driving on the sidewalk, running red lights, reversing down a one-way street, driving while on the phone and photographing and illegally blocking a moving vehicle.
Chris Sanchez, a member of the security team protecting the couple, described a chaotic chase Wednesday when interviewed by CNN, adding that it “could have been fatal” and that “the public were in jeopardy at several points.”
He said that no one was injured, but Harry and Meghan were shaken by the incident, as well as “scared, exhausted, but relieved to be back” at the private residence where they were staying. Sanchez described the paparazzi as “being so erratic” but said that he “did everything by the letter of law.”
The harrowing incident took on additional weight because Princess Diana died in 1997 in a Paris car accident after being pursued by paparazzi.
The “Spare” author and his elder brother, Prince William, who is now first in line to the British throne, have had a strained relationship with paparazzi and the media as a whole ever since. The apparently estranged brothers, whose image as children walking silently behind Diana’s casket is seared in the mind of a generation, have used their platforms to condemn paparazzi for harassing their families. Harry also has blamed an overly aggressive press for Diana’s untimely death and has accused the media of hounding Meghan and their two children too.
The car chase occurred the same day a lawyer for Harry argued in a London court that he should be able to challenge a government decision denying him the right to pay police for his own security in the U.K., the AP reported. Harry has argued his safety was “compromised due to the absence of police protection” during a short visit to the U.K. in July 2021 when his car was chased by photographers as he left a charity event.
The duke and duchess have said they funded their own security after then-President Trump said that the U.S. government would not pay to protect them.
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On Tuesday, Harry and Meghan had made their first joint appearance since Harry attended the coronation of his father, King Charles III, solo. Meghan was being honored in New York for her global advocacy to empower and advocate on behalf of women and girls, the Ms. Foundation said in a statement.
“Because of this foundation, so many of our youth have been instilled with self-worth and limitless possibility no matter their race, gender, class, sexual orientation, disability or age. Your collective work in pursuit of a world where every person is truly valued is nothing short of awe-inspiring,” the former actor said in her acceptance speech.
The foundation unveiled its largest fundraising campaign onstage, Creating the Future We Deserve, with a goal of raising $100 million over the next year to “accelerate the movements for gender and racial equity by providing support to grantee partners throughout the country to strengthen reproductive justice, improve economic security, and support equity and justice for all.” The foundation raised nearly $1.5 million Tuesday.
Times staff writer Alexandra E. Petri contributed to this report.
Authorities shed light on Prince Harry, Meghan's alleged 'near catastrophic' car chase? ›
Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, alleged Wednesday that they were involved in a "near catastrophic car chase" in New York on Tuesday night while being followed by "a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi." But their dire statement, which immediately heightened concerns about the embattled couple's well-being and evoked ...Were Harry and Meghan really in a car chase? ›
More than 25 years on, her son and his wife were pursued through the streets of New York City this week in what their team called a “near catastrophic” car chase.What paparazzi said about Meghan car? ›
The paparazzi working for Backgrid went so far as to accuse one of the vehicles in Harry and Meghan's security escort of “driving in a manner that could be perceived as reckless.” The photo agency alleges that video footage shows the SUV “blocking off streets” and “being pulled over by the police.”Were Harry and Meghan chased by paparazzi? ›
In a statement to USA TODAY Wednesday, the couple's office said that the paparazzi's chase to capture photos of Harry and Meghan "resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers." The statement called the incident "near catastrophic."What did the paparazzi do when Diana crashed? ›
At least 14 paparazzi were identified as having been at the hotel when the couple departed. Witnesses Antonio Lopes-Borges and Ana Simao testified that the paparazzi climbed onto the car after the crash to snap shots of Diana, Fayed and Paul as they died.Were paparazzi involved in Diana's crash? ›
The Paparazzi infamously pursued the car being driven by drunk driver Henri Paul as it carried Diana and her lover Dodi Al Fayed away from the Ritz hotel in Paris. Some then took pictures as Diana, Dodi and Paul lay gravely injured in the wrecked Mercedes after the crash.Did paparazzi take pictures of Princess Diana when she died? ›
The Prince says he finds it hard to come to terms with the behaviour of paparazzi who took pictures as his mother lay injured. Prince Harry has criticised the paparazzi for taking pictures of his mother dying in a car instead of trying to help her following the crash in Paris 20 years ago.Did Diana's brakes stop working in her car? ›
According to Prince Diana's former lover Dr Hasnat Khan, the royal switched cars after experiencing faulty brakes. In his statement at the 2008 inquest into her death, Dr Khan said: “One day, in 1995, I had finished work and bumped into Diana outside the hospital.Did the royal family like Diana? ›
“She was very much a hit with the royal family—they really warmed to her,” Chernock says. “Diana worked very, very hard to ingratiate herself and to model what she thought being a princess would entail, and she did it very successfully.”What were Princess Diana's last words? ›
Before she was taken out of the car, he held her hand and comforted her. "My God, what's happened," Diana then asked him, in what proved to be her final words. "I massaged her heart and a few seconds later she started breathing again.
Were Diana's brakes really tampered with? ›
increased. believed' the accuracy of her remarks regarding her safety." However, police found no evidence that Diana's brakes had actually been tampered with and the report concluded: 'Operation Paget has found no evidence to support the Princess of Wales' stated concerns.Who did not bow at Diana's funeral? ›
One notable royal who refused to bow at Princess Diana's funeral in 1997 was Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth II. Prince Philip was a close family friend to Diana and the two were known to have a close and complicated relationship.What were Princess Diana's fatal injuries? ›
Diana suffered several injuries in the crash. She had a concussion, broken arm and a cut to her thigh, according to United Press International. But her most lethal injuries were severe chest wounds. She had a tear to her left pulmonary vein that caused internal bleeding, The Independent reported.Was Diana wearing her wedding ring when she died? ›
Diana was wearing a ring given to her by Dodi Fayed when she died. It was a £3,000 Bulgari yellow gold band with diamonds. The diamond band set in yellow gold was not an engagement ring and was worn on the fourth finger of her right hand, where her butler Paul Burrell advised her to wear it.Who is the most photographed person in the world Diana? ›
Princess Diana, by most accounts, is the most photographed human in history. She grew up in the public eye. One of the people that was there capturing the biggest and most important moments was Royal Photographer Anwar Hussein.Did Diana have a private funeral? ›
Princess Diana's funeral was not a state funeral in part because the then Princess of Wales was no longer a member of the Royal Family - she and the then-Prince of Wales had divorced one year before. Instead, Princess Diana had a ceremonial funeral - which shared many of the elements of a state funeral.Did the paparazzi get charged for Diana? ›
"No charges were brought against the paparazzi who had been pursuing the princess' car."Who is the most paparazzi celebrity? ›
- Kim Kardashian.
- Britney Spears.
- Joe Biden.
- Barack Obama.
- Hillary Clinton.
- Michael Jackson.
- Marilyn Monroe.
- Queen Elizabeth II.
Even though Diana generally shied away from pursuing legal action against invasive photographers, she was unquestionably distressed and humiliated by the paparazzi's endless pursuit of her.What kind of car does Meghan Markle? ›
As a former member of the Royal Family, Meghan Markle hasn't always chauffeured—she drove an Audi Q5 and now drives a Range Rover. How to tackle car insurance shopping (and save money!)
Who gets Diana's jewelry? ›
After the princess' death, most of her personal jewelry was inherited by her two sons Princes William and Harry, with pieces loaned to her during her lifetime being returned to Queen Elizabeth II, where they are most likely to have been inherited by King Charles in 2022.What did Diana say before she died? ›
What were Princess Diana's last words? The firefighter on the scene of Princess Diana's accident revealed the last words she spoke before her death in an interview with The Independent. According to the firefighter, Xavier Gourmelon, the Princess of Wales asked: “My God, what has happened?”What was Princess Diana buried with? › Who is the most photographed woman in America? ›
San Antonio's Janice Jarratt, 'the most photographed woman in the world,' was born in 1914.Who is the most photographed woman alive? ›
Queen Elizabeth II: capturing the world's most photographed woman in life and death.Who was the most photographed person ever? ›
Princess Diana, one of the world's most photographed personalities, was known for her beauty, grace, and kind nature. Popular public figures came to be photographed during the 20th century as photography evolved.Was Diana's dressing lady in love with her? ›
Maggie admits in a scene near the end of the movie that she's actually in love with Princess Diana. It's a little out of left field thematically, but she makes this confession to prove to Diana that there is love for her in the world even though the family she's married into doesn't treat her that way.Why was Diana's revenge dress a big deal? ›
It was worn for the first time to a 1994 dinner at the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens. The garment has been interpreted as having been worn by Diana "in revenge" for the televised admission of adultery by her husband Charles, then Prince of Wales.Does Prince Harry have a driver? ›
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's taxi driver Sukhcharn Singh opened up about his experience behind the wheel amid the couple's car chase.What car does Queen Elizabeth own? ›
As of 2022 the two 2002 Bentleys continue to serve as state cars, along with three Rolls-Royce Phantom limousines: the Rolls-Royce Phantom IV which was purchased by Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh in 1950 (becoming a state car upon her accession to the throne two years later), the 1978 Rolls-Royce Phantom ...
What cars does Prince Harry own? ›
He has been seen with sportier Audi models in recent years, including the Audi S3, Audi RS5 and RS6. Much like Harry, Princess Diana, Prince William and Kate, Princess of Wales, have all embraced the German carmaker.