Prince Harry, his wife Meghan Markle, and her mother, Doria Ragland, were involved in a “near catastrophic” car chase by paparazzi photographers lasting more than two hours, the prince’s spokesperson said, after attending an event in New York.
The incident on Tuesday “at the hands of a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi” was “near catastrophic,” the prince’s spokesperson added in a statement, involving near collisions with other drivers on the road, pedestrians, and two police officers.
“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 spokesperson said.
The chase took place after the couple attended the Ms. Foundation for Women’s annual gala in New York City, where Meghan was honored with an award for her advocacy work.
In a statement to Semafor, Julian Phillips, Deputy Commissioner for Public Information at the New York Police Department, said the NYPD assisted the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s private security on Wednesday, following the incident.
“There were numerous photographers that made their transport challenging,” he said. “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived at their destination and there were no reported collisions, summonses, injuries, or arrests in regard.”
Police depicted the events as slightly less dramatic than the Sussexes had described, The New York Times reported, with one police official saying they were unable to shake the paparazzi for about an hour while police escorted them to a police precinct. There, they got into a taxi and left.
The couple has previously spoken about the lengths the media go to pursue them after stepping down as senior royals in January 2020.
Prince Harry, on multiple occasions, has expressed fear over “history repeating itself,” as Meghan faces similarly intense media attention as his mother, Princess Diana, who died in a car crash after being chased by paparazzi in Paris in 1997.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams characterized the events as “a bit reckless and irresponsible.”
“And I think all of us, I don’t think there’s many of us, who don’t recall how his mom died. And it would be horrific to lose an innocent bystander during a chase like this and something to have happened to them as well,” Adams said.