LONDON, May 17 (Reuters) – Britain’s Prince Harry, his wife Meghan and his mother were involved in a “catastrophic” car chase with press photographers while attending an awards ceremony in New York, Harry’s spokesman said on Wednesday.
The incident involved a “ring of hyper-aggressive paparazzi”, half a dozen cars with tinted windows, driving dangerously and endangering the lives of the couple and Doria Ragland.
“This relentless pursuit, which lasted more than two hours, led to multiple collisions involving other drivers, pedestrians and two NYPD (New York Police Department) officers on the road,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
The couple – the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – were left shaken by the incident but otherwise unharmed.
The New York Police Department said it assisted a private security team to protect them.
“Numerous photographers challenged their transportation. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were on target, and no collisions, summonses, injuries or arrests were reported,” an NYPD spokesperson said.
The Washington Post quoted taxi driver Suksharn Singh as saying he drove the group and a security guard around for about 10 minutes before returning to the police station to pick them up at the security guard’s request.
“I don’t think I would call it a chase,” Singh was quoted as saying, as two vehicles followed them and pulled up next to the car, taking pictures and filming.
“I never felt like I was in danger. It wasn’t like a car chase in a movie. They (the couple) were calm and looked scared but it’s New York – it’s safe.”
Pictures on social media showed Harry, Meghan and his mother sitting in the back of a New York taxi, which their spokesperson said was “a glimpse into the security and deceptions required to end harassment”.
After following their car out of the Ziegfeld Ballroom in midtown Manhattan, media reported the couple switched to a taxi to try to wave off photographers.
He was blamed for the death of his mother, Princess Diana, who was killed in a 1997 limousine crash while speeding away from chasing paparazzi in Paris.
A spokeswoman for the couple said Tuesday’s chase was dangerous and involved paparazzi driving on sidewalks, running red lights and driving while taking pictures.
The spokesperson said those involved were confronted several times by police officers.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams said he received an explanation that two NYPD officers may have been injured in the incident.
“I don’t think there are many of us who don’t remember how her mother died and how she died,” Adams told reporters. “To lose an innocent bystander during a chase like this is horrible and something happened to them too.”
He said he would have an in-depth explanation later, but found it hard to believe there would have been a two-hour high-speed chase.
“If it’s 10 minutes, a 10-minute chase in New York City is very dangerous,” Adams said.
The Miss Foundation for Women, organizers of the awards ceremony honoring Meghan’s work, had no immediate comment. Buckingham Palace also had no comment.
The couple, who live in California with their two young children, were staying at a private home but decided against returning because they didn’t want to compromise their host’s safety, their spokesman said.
Harry never hid his distaste for the press, fueled by his mother’s treatment and especially his own experiences when he was younger.
In her memoir “Spare,” the couple’s Netflix docu-series and television interviews, she has condemned British tabloid newspapers’ invasion of her and her family’s privacy — one of the main reasons she and Meghan gave for stepping down from their royal roles in 2020. to America.
The prince is currently involved in several court cases in London, where he accuses newspapers of using illegal methods to target him and his family. A publisher apologized last week for illegally seeking information about him in 2004, even though the papers denied all of his allegations.
He is also seeking to overturn the British government’s decision to remove his special police protection while in Britain.
Reporting by Mike Holden, Writing by William James
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