Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were involved in a 'near catastrophic car chase' with paparazzi that lasted for nearly 2 hours

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle shared a statement detailing the 'relentless pursuit'

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle - Prince Harry Meghan Markle car chase
(Image credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images Ms. Foundation for Women)

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have shared that they were involved in a 'near catastrophic car chase' with paparazzi that lasted for nearly 2 hours in New York City. 

In a harrowing call back to the tragic death of his mother Princess Diana, Prince Harry has revealed that he and Meghan Markle were involved in a "near catastrophic car chase" with paparazzi as they were leaving an event in New York City.

The pair had spent Tuesday evening attending the Women of Vision awards in the iconic city, where Meghan was the recipient of a prestigious award in recognition for "her global advocacy to empower and advocate on behalf of women and girls." 

In a statement released on Wednesday 17th May, a spokesperson for the couple shared that Harry and Meghan, as well as Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, had been involved in a chase involving "highly aggressive" paparazzi that lasted over two hours.

The problems began as the taxi cab the royals left the awards ceremony in, which was being escorted by NYPD vehicles with flashing lights, was 'followed by photographers in half a dozen vehicles with blacked out windows, on scooters and bikes,' reports The Independent.

The couple's statement read, "This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two [police] officers."

However, while there were "several close calls", there was no car accident, a law enforcement source told CNN.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

(Image credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

The chase lasted for two hours, with the NYPD escorts attempting evasive manoeuvres to get away from the paparazzi but to avail, a law enforcement source told CNN.

With no other option, the NYPD reportedly escorted Harry and Meghan’s cab to the 19th Precinct, a police station in New York, to bring the situation to an end before they then accompanied them home without a paparazzi tail, ABC7 reported. 

The reported reason the Sussexes didn't go directly to their home in the face of danger is because they were staying at a friend’s private residence while in New York and did not want to compromise their friend’s security by leading the paparazzi to their address. 

While no arrests have yet been made, the NYPD is reportedly reviewing surveillance footage with the aim to charge paparazzi with a number of potential traffic violations including 'driving on the pavement and through red lights, reversing down a one-way street, illegally blocking a moving vehicle and driving while photographing and on the phone,' reports The Independent.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

(Image credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for 2022 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Gala)

The Mayor of New York has since spoken out about the event, saying that while he hasn’t yet received a full briefing about the incident, the nature of New York's crowded streets would make any chase "reckless and irresponsible".

During a media briefing, he explained, "Two of our officers could have been injured. This is a densely populated city. I don’t think there’s many of us who don’t recall how his mum died, and it would be horrific to lose innocent bystanders in a chase like this, and for something to have happened to them as well."

Chris Sanchez, a member of the Sussexes security team who was with the couple during the chase, told CNN, "What we were dealing with was very chaotic. There were about a dozen vehicles: cars, scooters and bicycles. The public [was] in jeopardy at several points. It could have been fatal. They were jumping curbs and red lights. At one point they blocked the limousine and started taking pictures until we were able to get out."

|[I] was concerned about [Prince Harry and his wife] but more about the public because they [the paparazzi] were being so erratic," Mr Sanchez added. "People were on sidewalks and crossing streets and the [paparazzi] were crossing red lights. We did everything by the letter of law."

News writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is a news writer for Goodtoknow, specialising in family content. She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.