NEW YORK: Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, were involved in a “near-disastrous car chase” with paparazzi in New York, a spokesman for the couple said on Wednesday.
But police and even the mayor of New York City, as well as a taxi driver who briefly transported the couple, downplayed the danger and duration of the alleged stalking.
The pair were uninjured at Tuesday night’s event, which took place nearly 26 years after the Paris car crash that killed Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, which Harry blamed on the paparazzi.
The episode took place after Harry, 38, and Meghan, 41, attended an awards ceremony in the US financial capital with Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland.
“Last night, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Ms. Ragland were involved in a disastrous car chase at the hands of a ring of overly aggressive paparazzi,” the spokesperson said in a statement. AFP,
“This relentless pursuit that lasted more than two hours resulted in multiple collisions between other drivers, pedestrians and two NYPD officers on the road,” the spokesperson said.
A source close to the couple said Meghan and Harry were followed by half a dozen blacked out vehicles, with “unknown people driving recklessly and putting the convoy and everyone around them at risk.”
“The chase could have been fatal,” said the source, claiming several possible traffic violations – including driving on the pavement, running a red light and reversing a one-way street – were committed.
A spokesman for the New York Police Department said, “There were several photographers who made their transportation challenging.”
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“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived at their destination and there were no reports of collisions, summonses, injuries or arrests in connection with this,” said NYPD spokesman Julian Phillips. AFP,
death of mother
Harry has long had a difficult relationship with the media.
He blames press intrusion for his mother’s death in a car accident in a Paris tunnel in 1997 while being followed by paparazzi.
In a US television interview earlier this year he recalled looking at his last pictures and realizing that the last thing he saw before he died was the photographer taking his picture.
Harry and Meghan, an American former TV actress, sensationally quit royal family duties in early 2020 and moved from Britain to the United States amid intense media scrutiny.
The younger son of King Charles III has been involved in several legal cases against British newspaper publishers since moving to California.
last week’s publisher mirror apologized “unreservedly” to Harry, who has accused the tabloid of gathering illegal information.
Harry is also making a claim against the publisher of The Sun and its daily Mail,
Those cases will be decided later this year.
‘can not believe’
US media reported that the couple boarded a taxi outside a police station for part of their journey as they apparently tried to wave to photographers.
Taxi driver Sukhcharan Singh told Washington Post That two vehicles are following them.
“I never felt like I was in danger. It wasn’t like a car chase in a movie. They were calm and looked scared but this is New York – it’s safe,” he said.
Mayor Eric Adams said he found it “hard to believe that a two-hour high-speed chase through the Big Apple took place”, but added that “a 10-minute chase in New York City is extremely dangerous.”
The couple’s spokesperson said that “being a public figure comes with a level of public interest, it should never come at the expense of anyone’s safety.”
“The dissemination of these images, in the manner in which they were obtained, encourages a highly intrusive practice that is dangerous to all involved,” the spokesperson said.
Harry has given several TV interviews this year to promote his best-selling memoir ‘Spare’, which has broken publishing records.
In the book and subsequent interviews, Harry criticized other royals, including older brother Prince William.
She claimed that William physically assaulted her during an argument about Meghan and also detailed his strained relationship with her father, King Charles.
Harry attended his father’s coronation earlier this month without Meghan, who remained in California with the couple’s two children.
He was not given a formal role in the ceremony.
Harry and Meghan have their own private security team in the US, but they lost their UK taxpayer-paid protection after leaving the UK.
They are challenging the move in the British courts.