Photo Agency Says It Refused Meghan And Harry Demand For Car Chase Pictures
A celebrity news agency that obtained photos of Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and her mother during what the royal couple described as a “near catastrophic car chase” in Manhattan this week says it declined a demand by the Sussexes to turn over the material.
Backgrid told the BBC on Thursday that a letter from Meghan and Prince Harry’s lawyers sought photos and videos taken after their departure Tuesday from a Ms. Foundation gala, where Markle received an award.
“In America, as I’m sure you know, property belongs to the owner of it: Third parties cannot just demand it be given to them, as perhaps Kings can do,” Backgrid said it replied to the lawyers.
“Perhaps you should sit down with your client and advise them that his English rules of royal prerogative to demand that the citizenry hand over their property to the Crown were rejected by this country long ago,” the photo agency response continued.
The Sussexes have not addressed the purported demand for the photos or the agency’s response.
Backgrid said in a statement on Wednesday that it obtained material from four freelance photographers trailing the Sussexes and Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, who were acting on their “professional responsibility to cover newsworthy events.”
“They had no intention of causing any distress or harm, as their only tool was their cameras,” the agency said of the photographers, according to CNN. “A few of the photos even show Meghan Markle smiling inside a cab.”
The royal couple’s claim of a harrowing flight from paparazzi, evoking the 1997 car-crash death of Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, during a pursuit by photographers, has been called into question by witnesses.
“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,” a spokesperson for the couple said in a statement.
“This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers,” the statement continued.
A taxi driver who briefly drove the royal couple and Ragland during the getaway told The New York Times the three passengers appeared “nervous,” but he didn’t feel in danger.
An NYPD spokesperson described the situation as “challenging,” but said there were “no reported collisions, summonses, injuries, or arrests,” according to the Times. Mayor Eric Adams condemned the incident as “a bit reckless.”
The Royal Family has stayed quiet on Tuesday’s events.
Kensington Palace told HuffPost by email on Thursday that the incident was “not something we would comment on,” while Buckingham Palace did not return a request for comment.
Carly Ledbetter contributed reporting.