Published: 2023-05-18 14:00
Last Updated: 2023-06-01 19:15
Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle were involved in a "near catastrophic car chase" involving paparazzi in New York, a spokesperson for the couple said Wednesday.
The incident happened on Tuesday night after Harry, 38, and Meghan, 41, attended an awards ceremony in America's financial capital.
Meghan's mother Doria Ragland was with them in the vehicle, the spokesperson said in a statement emailed to AFP.
"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.
"This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers," the spokesperson said in a statement.
A source close to the couple said Meghan and Harry were pursued by half a dozen blacked out vehicles with "unidentified people driving recklessly and endangering the convoy and everyone around them."
"The chase could have been fatal," the source added, claiming a number of possible traffic violations including driving on the sidewalk, running red lights and reversing down a one-way street, were committed.
A spokesperson for the New York Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from AFP.
Harry has long had a difficult relationship with the media.
He blames press intrusion for causing the death of his mother, Princess Diana, in a car crash in a tunnel in Paris in 1997 while she was being pursued by paparazzi.
In a US television interview earlier this year he recalled seeing the final photos of his mother and realizing that the last thing she saw as she died was photographers taking pictures of her.
Harry and Meghan sensationally quit royal family duties in early 2020 and moved from Britain to the United States, in part because of intense media scrutiny.
The younger son of King Charles III has been involved in several legal cases against British newspaper publishers since moving to California.
- 'Dangerous' -
Last week the publisher of the tabloid The Mirror, which Harry accuses of unlawful information gathering, apologized "unreservedly" and said the prince was entitled to "appropriate compensation." It did not provide further details.
Harry is also pursuing claims against two other media companies, the publisher of The Sun and, separately, the publisher of the Daily Mail. Those cases will be decided later this year.
The couple's spokesperson added in the statement that "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."
"Dissemination of these images, given the ways in which they were obtained, encourages a highly intrusive practice that is dangerous to all in involved," it said.
Harry and Meghan had attended the Ms. Foundation for Women ceremony where Meghan received an award and were staying at a private residence.
His tell-all, best-selling memoir "Spare" broke publishing records when it came out earlier this year.
In it, and subsequent TV interviews promoting the book, Harry aired a barrage of criticism at other royals, including elder brother Prince William.
In the autobiography, he claimed William physically attacked him during an argument about Meghan, an American former TV actress and also detailed his strained relationship with his father, King Charles.
Harry attended his father's coronation earlier this month without Meghan, who remained in California with the couple's two children.
Harry was not given a formal role in the ceremony and was absent from the royal procession through central London. He also did not join other members of the royal family on the Buckingham Palace balcony.