Wed. Jul 17th, 2024

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle were involved in a “nearly catastrophic” car chase in which they were pursued by “highly aggressive paparazzi,” a spokesperson said.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were reportedly followed by photographers after leaving the Women of Vision Awards, a charity event where Meghan accepted an award, at New York’s Ziegfeld Ballroom on Tuesday. Meghans’ mother was also in the vehicle with them.

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 16: Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex are seen on May 16, 2023, in New York, New York. (Photo by MEGA/GC Images)

A spokesperson for the couple said they were in a “relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours,” which “resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians, and two NYPD 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 statement read, per NBC News.

According to AP, the NYPD did not immediately comment on the situation.

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It’s a situation that sounds eerily similar to the circumstances of the tragic death of Princess Diana, Harry’s mother, who was killed in a car crash in 1997 pursued by paparazzi in Paris.

The couple made a much-publicized break from the British royal family in 2020, relocating to California. They have since made headline-making claims both about the family’s treatment of Meghan and the toxic environment that surrounds the monarchy.

Since then, they have been paying for their own security detail. Harry has said that the US government denied granting them a security detail when they relocated to California. On return trips to the UK, Harry has said he felt threatened by the lack of police protection.

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Given that he’s lived his life in public scrutiny and that his own mother died due to relentless photographers, Harry has been a vocal critic of paparazzi and the British tabloids.

“Every single time I see a camera, every single time I hear a click, every single time I see a flash, it takes me straight back,” he told ITV in 2019.

UPDATE:

The NYPD and Mayor Erica Adams have commented on the situation.

According to a statement to The Independent, the NYPD said they “assisted the private security team protecting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

“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 in regard.”

According to the New York Times, NYC Mayor Eric Adams weighed in, telling reporters the chase was “a bit reckless and irresponsible.”

“It’s clear that the press, the paparazzi, they want to get the right shot,” Adams said. “But public safety must always be at the forefront.”

While Adams said there wasn’t a “two-hour high-speed chase” through the city, he said even a ten-minute pursuit can be “extremely dangerous” in a city like New York.

“We have a lot of traffic, a lot of movement, a lot of people are using our streets,” the mayor said.

What a scary situation, but we’re glad Harry and Meghan are okay. Paparazzi can be relentless, and it’s scary to think they nearly caused a catastrophe.

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