British Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle on the evening of May 16 got into a long chase involving many paparazzi in New York. CNN was the first to report this, later details appeared in other Western media.
The incident took place following the Women of Vision Awards ceremony featuring the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Meghan Markle’s mother Doria Ragland, which was held at the Ziegfeld Cinema in midtown Manhattan. After Harry and Meghan left the event, the paparazzi followed them.
“Last night the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Ms Ragland were involved in a near disastrous car chase by a group of very aggressive paparazzi. This relentless pursuit, which lasted for more than two hours, resulted in numerous crashes involving other drivers, pedestrians and two NYPD officers,” a spokesman for the royal couple said.
According to him, Harry and Meghan understand that as public figures, they will face increased public interest. But he stressed that such an interest should not be at the expense of anyone’s safety.
A law enforcement source told CNN that after Harry and Meghan left the Ziegfeld theater, they were followed by paparazzi in cars, motorcycles and scooters. At the same time, the car of the Duke and Duchess was accompanied by a police cortege. They had to repeatedly evade collisions with journalists on the road. The paparazzi, in order to keep up with the royal couple, drove onto the sidewalks, constantly changing lanes. According to the interlocutor from the police, all this led to several accidents, but there were no serious ones among them, no one was injured.
The Guardian writes that the chase involved at least six cars with tinted windows and could have ended in death due to the behavior of the paparazzi on the roads. Traffic violations reported included driving on a sidewalk, running a red light, reversing on a one-way street, using a phone while driving, driving while taking a photo, and illegally blocking a moving vehicle.
The chasing participants clashed with the police several times, but left them, continuing to pursue Harry and Meghan’s car. Pictures taken during the chase show Harry, Meghan and her mother sitting in the back seat of a New York taxi.
At the same time, a few hours later, the New York Police Department stated that the “tail” was really behind the couple for about an hour, but she was moving, accompanied by policemen. A police source told The New York Post that police had not received “reports of clashes along the 911 line” in connection with the passage of the Dukes of Sussex. Another source said paparazzi drove past the two police officers after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle left the Ziegfield at around 9:50 p.m.
“There was only one car. [The chase] definitely didn’t last two hours,” the source said.
Prince Harry has repeatedly stated that his family is facing aggression and obsessive harassment from journalists and paparazzi. He is extremely negative about this kind of manifestation of attention, because he believes that it is the paparazzi who are guilty of the death of his mother, Princess Diana.
Diana died in 1997 in a car accident in the Alma tunnel in Paris, along with the producer and the son of the Egyptian billionaire Dodi al-Fayed. Many media blamed the death on the paparazzi who were chasing Diana. However, the French investigation concluded that the accident was the fault of Henri Paul, deputy security officer of the Ritz Hotel in Paris, who got behind the wheel in a state of intoxication and after taking antidepressants, lost control and crashed into a tunnel support at high speed.
Despite the results of the investigation, Prince Harry often draws parallels between the persecution of his mother by the paparazzi and the attitude of journalists towards his family. “In my mom’s day, it was physical harassment—cameras in front of your face, stalking, chasing you. The paparazzi are still chasing people, ”he said in one of the documentaries.
In 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex received a formal apology from X17, which illegally used drones to obtain photos of their one-year-old son Archie. That same year, Harry and Meghan were forced to put up a high fence at actor/director Tyler Perry’s home in Los Angeles after photographers discovered their location.
In 2020, Harry and Meghan stepped down from their royal duties and moved to the United States. At first, they stayed at the homes of their friends, but due to excessive media attention, they were forced to rent accommodation so as not to cause inconvenience to acquaintances.
Prince Harry is currently involved in several lawsuits in which he accuses the media of using illegal methods to obtain information about his family. In addition, he is trying to reverse the decision of the British government, according to which he cannot count on police protection while in the United Kingdom.