Prince Harry, his wife Meghan Markle and her mother were pursued by paparazzi photographers in a “near catastrophic car chase,” a spokesperson for the couple told media Wednesday.
In a statement to multiple outlets, the spokesperson said the car chase happened in New York City Tuesday night following the Women of Vision Awards, where Markle was being honoured for her work.
“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,” the spokesperson 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 (New York Police Department) officers.”
The night out was the first public appearance for the couple following King Charles’ coronation earlier this month. They attended the Ms. Foundation Women of Vision’s 50th anniversary gala event with Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland.
The statement said the couple understand that “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.”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams told reporters he hadn’t 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.”
“It’s clear that the paparazzi want to get the right shot, they want to get the right story, but public safety must always be at the forefront,” Adams said, according to CNN.
The couple’s spokesperson said the chase on Tuesday, after leaving the Ziegfeld Ballroom in midtown Manhattan, could also have been fatal and involved paparazzi driving on the sidewalk, running red lights, and driving while taking pictures.
Those involved in the chase were confronted by police officers multiple times, according to the spokesperson. A spokesperson for the New York Police Department told Reuters he could not confirm any information about the incident.
The prince and his wife stepped down from their royal roles in 2020 and moved to the United States partly because of what they described as intense media harassment.
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The prince has long spoken out about his anger about press intrusion, which he blames for the death of his mother Princess Diana, who was killed when her limousine crashed as it sped away from chasing paparazzi in Paris.
The 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.
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.
— with files from Reuters and The Associated Press
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