Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and her mother, Doria Ragland, escaped a “near catastrophic car chase” by the paparazzi on Tuesday, according to a spokesperson for the couple.
“This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers,” the spokesperson said. “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 report brought to mind the horrific death of Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, in 1997. She and boyfriend Dodi Fayed were killed in a car crash while being chased by paparazzi in Paris.
On Tuesday evening, Meghan, Harry and Ragland had just attended the gala for the Ms. Foundation for Women, where the Duchess of Sussex received a Woman of Vision Award.
They departed the midtown Manhattan event in an SUV at around 10 p.m., and the chaos immediately unfolded. About a dozen paparazzi gave chase when the family headed to a friend’s house, and one hit a car while another nearly flattened a New York police officer, Page Six reported.
The source said the drivers also ran red lights, reversed down a one-way street and drove on the sidewalk.
CNN reported there were close calls but no car crash, citing a law enforcement source. Still, the source described the incident as dangerous and said police escorting the trio had to use evasive maneuvers to escape the paparazzi. The law enforcement source reportedly called the incident “annoying, inappropriate and dangerous.”
Chris Sanchez, a member of the royals’ security team, told CNN that the photographers’ actions also put members of the general public at risk.
“The public were in jeopardy at several points,” Sanchez said. “It could have been fatal. They were jumping curbs and red lights.”
TMZ, which obtained partial video of the incident, wrote that the trio appeared to ditch the SUV and get into a cab for their getaway while police may have gone in another direction as a decoy.
The cab driver, Sukhcharn Singh, told The Associated Press that paparazzi continued to pursue them once they were in the taxi. However, he noted to both AP and The Washington Post that he wouldn’t characterize that portion of the evening as a “chase.”
“I don’t think I would call it a chase,” Singh told the Washington Post. “I never felt like I was in danger. It wasn’t like a car chase in a movie. They were quiet and seemed scared but it’s New York — it’s safe.”
New York City Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Do echoed the sentiment that all were safe during the latter part of their getaway.
“New York City yellow cab drivers are as safe as they are legendary,” he said in a statement sent to HuffPost. “This is no exception.”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams called the pursuit “reckless and irresponsible” and said “two of our officers could have been injured,” The Associated Press reported.
The NYPD said in a statement on Wednesday that there no serious consequences to the ordeal.
“The NYPD assisted the private security team protecting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex,” the department said. “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.”
Carly Ledbetter and Hilary Hanson contributed reporting.