Prince Harry and Meghan allege ‘near-catastrophic paparazzi car chase in New York’


Prince Harry and his wife Meghan were embroiled in a chaotic car chase with paparazzi in New York on Tuesday night that could have had a “catastrophic” outcome, their spokesperson has alleged.

The Sussexes were chased by photographers after leaving the Women of Vision Awards at the city’s Ziegfeld Ballroom in a convoy that also included Doria Ragland, Meghan’s mother. The couple were left shaken by the incident, although ultimately no one was hurt, their security department told CNN.

Police said “numerous” photographers made transporting the Sussexes “difficult”, but no collisions, injuries or arrests had been reported.

According to the couple’s account, the altercation with the photographers was long and risky. “Last night the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Mrs Ragland were involved in a near-disastrous car chase at the hands of a very aggressive ring of paparazzi,” the couple’s spokesperson said.

“This relentless chase, which lasted more than two hours, resulted in multiple near misses involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers.”

Two people involved with the couple’s safety also described the incident as chaotic, with the paparazzi in numerous vehicles including cars, scooters, mopeds and e-bikes. The Sussexes had to change cars during the chase, they say.

Thomas Buda, who runs a private security firm hired to help the couple, said the chase began when Harry and Meghan left the Ziegfeld ballroom and lasted 90 minutes.

The paparazzi wanted to know where the couple were staying while they were in New York, he said, and their vehicles flashed red lights as pedestrians stood in crosswalks and drove through oncoming traffic. oncoming direction on 34th Street in Manhattan, driving the wrong way. one-way streets, says Buda.

Chris Sanchez, a member of the couple’s security team who spoke exclusively to CNN, said the incident was alarming. “I have never seen anything, experienced anything like it,” he said. “What we were dealing with was very chaotic.”

The Sussexes were scared – but were relieved when they returned to the flat where they were staying, he said. “The public was in danger on several occasions. It could have been fatal,” Sanchez said.

After what Buda described as an increasingly dangerous game of cat and mouse, security moved the Duke and Duchess to the 19th Police Station on East 67th Street.

From there, a yellow cab simply drove them around the block, to the police station.

Buda said the couple eventually escaped when the night shift of patrol officers drove into their police cars to go on patrol and effectively caused a choke point in the block which allowed security teams to pull Harry and Meghan into traffic and away.

The driver of this taxi, Sukhcharn Singh, spoke to CNN on Wednesday night about the surreal experience he had.

“I’ve been driving now since 2018, it was the first time I saw that. Other celebrities never got so much attention from the paparazzi,” he said.

Singh recalled that after the Duke and Duchess got into his taxi – and before they could even tell him where to go – “all of a sudden the paparazzi stormed the taxi. There are flashes coming from all directions. They are against the car, taking pictures.

At one point, Singh said, a security guard in the taxi with them came out to tell the paparazzi to move.

Singh said he didn’t feel personally in danger, but the Duke and Duchess seemed “very nervous”.

“The look on their faces, you could tell they were nervous and scared,” Singh recalled.

Selcuk Acar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Prince Harry and Meghan say they were chased by photographers for two hours after leaving an event in New York.

After a ten-minute ride, Singh dropped off Harry and Meghan at Manhattan’s 19th precinct. He told CNN they gave him $50.00 for the ride, although the fare was only $17.50.

In a statement, the New York Police Department (NYPD) confirmed the outline of the Sussexes’ account but described it in less colorful language. The NYPD ‘assisted the private security team protecting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’ on Tuesday night and ‘there were many photographers who made it difficult for them to be transported,’ NYPD Deputy Commissioner Julian Phillips told AFP. public information.

“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have arrived at their destination and there have been no reports of collisions, summonses, injuries or arrests,” he said.

The couple’s spokesperson said while ‘being a public figure sparks some public interest, it should never come at the expense of anyone’s safety’ and urged the media not to publish photos of the incident. “The release of these images, given the manner in which they were obtained, encourages a highly intrusive and dangerous practice for all involved.”

According to the account provided by the couple’s team, the incident involved half a dozen blacked-out vehicles with unidentified people driving recklessly and endangering the convoy and everyone around them.

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Doria Ragland, the Duke of Sussex and the Duchess of Susseex at the Women of Vision Awards in New York.

A local law enforcement source corroborated part of the couple’s account, telling CNN the couple were followed by a “swarm” of paparazzi in cars, motorcycles and scooters after leaving the event on Tuesday. A New York Police Department (NYPD) protection team followed Harry and Meghan in another car and were forced to do evasive maneuvers to get away from the paparazzi, the source said.

Paparazzi on scooters and bicycles raced down the sidewalk to keep up, the source said. There were numerous close calls, including short stops between the front and rear of the cars, but none resulted in an accident, the source added.

The couple’s convoy was escorted to a police station, where they were able to regroup, the source added.

King Charles’ Buckingham Palace and Prince William’s Kensington Palace told CNN they would not comment on the incident.

New York Mayor Eric Adams said the incident was “reckless” and “irresponsible”.

“You shouldn’t be speeding anywhere, but it’s a densely populated city, and I think all of us, I don’t think there are many of us who don’t remember the death of his mother,” Adams told reporters when asked about the incident at an independent briefing.

“Clearly the paparazzi want to get the right shot, they want to get the right story, but public safety always has to come first,” Adams said.

The Duke of Sussex has spoken about the safety of his family, often pointing out the parallels between his wife’s treatment and that which his mother, Diana, faces. The late Princess of Wales died in 1997 after suffering internal injuries resulting from a high-speed car crash in Paris.

In the couple’s six-part Netflix docuseries, Harry pushed back against critics who said the couple had a problem with the paparazzi.

“In my mother’s day, it was physical harassment — cameras in your face, following you, chasing you,” he said.

“The paparazzi are always harassing people,” he added. “But harassment really exists more online now. Once the photographs are out and the stories are then pushed aside, then comes the social media harassment. To see another woman in my life, who I love, go through this eating frenzy – it’s hard. It’s basically hunter versus prey.

Leave a Comment