Police sources weigh in on Prince Harry, Meghan Markle NYC car chase
More witnesses and city officials are speaking out about what exactly happened Tuesday night in New York when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle left a gala event and were followed by a group of photographers.
The couple’s representatives claimed they had been pursued by paparazzi in a “near catastrophic car chase” through the streets of Manhattan, but New York City police are sharing their explanation of what happened.
Police said the pursuit was relatively short, led to no injuries, collisions or arrests and warranted no further investigation. And a photo agency later contended it was Harry and Meghan’s security guards who acted recklessly.
On Tuesday, Harry and Meghan, also known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, were leaving the Ms. Foundation Awards in Manhattan when photographers conducted a “relentless pursuit” that resulted in “multiple near collisions,” according to a spokesperson for the couple.
Harry and Megan left the Ziegfeld at about 10 p.m. Tuesday night and were immediately followed by photographers, in what sources close to the couple described as a caravan of about a dozen cars, motorcycles and mopeds.
Harry and Megan’s private security detail, comprised of former members of law enforcement, used different techniques to try and shake the paparazzi, who drove on sidewalks, nearly striking pedestrians, sources close to the couple said.
Police sources described a different version of events and said two NYPD detectives were present at the Ziegfeld when Harry and Meghan emerged from the event and drove alongside the couple’s private vehicle to get them home.
Along the way, police sources said photographers on bicycles are visible on security cameras but not the kind of caravan described by sources close to Harry and Megan.
Former NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller said the NYPD wasn’t participating “in this chase, meaning, this was not lights and sirens, going through red lights, at high speeds, this was a slow motion chase.”
At one point, the couple sought refuge in a police station before attempting to evade the photographers in a yellow cab. The cab driver who drove Harry and Meghan said the photographers “were following us the whole time,” though he wouldn’t call it a chase.
The couple’s spokesperson said Wednesday that the pursuit lasted over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road and pedestrians.
According to police sources, Harry and Megan were home no more than 20 minutes after their departure from the event.
The account led New York Mayor Eric Adams to condemn the paparazzi pursuing them as “reckless and irresponsible.”
A photo agency issued a statement denying the freelance photographers involved had done anything wrong and insisting that they had “no intention of causing any distress or harm.”
On the contrary, Backgrid USA said the photographers present reported that part of Harry’s security escort “was driving in a manner that could be perceived as reckless.” But Backgrid also said it took the couple’s concerns seriously and would investigate the incident.
No arrests were immediately made, but NYPD will review surveillance videos from Tuesday night.
Mayor Eric Adams said “we are taking a close examination of the whole incident,” but otherwise declined to further discuss the Sussexes claims of a “near catastrophic car chase” by paparazzi through Midtown.
He said he spoke with the police commissioner and they are taking a close examination of the entire incident.
“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,” a statement on behalf of the couple said.
The New York Press Photographers Association put out a statement blasting the paparazzi:
“The basic principle of photojournalism is to cover the news as documentarians and observers. The behavior alleged to have occurred in New York last night goes against this principle at its core, and runs counter to the code of ethics to which all of our members-and any press photographer with respect for themselves and the profession-are expected to adhere.”
Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, died in a car crash in 1997 while being pursued by paparazzi in Paris.