Stuart Henderson, Harriet Sinclair and Emma Mackenzie
Wed, 17 May 2023 at 3:28 pm BST
Prince Harry, Meghan and her mother were involved in a “near catastrophic” car chase after being followed by paparazzi, according to his spokesperson.
The incident happened after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended an awards ceremony in New York .
The couple, who are believed to accept a heightened level of attention, said in a statement: “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.
“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.”
Yahoo News UK has asked Buckingham Palace for comment.
What we know
It is understood the couple believe the pursuit could have been fatal and involved six blacked-out vehicles with unidentified people driving recklessly and endangering the convoy and everyone around them.
It’s thought the cars ran red lights, drove on the pavement and reversed down a one-way street while in pursuit – and that there is footage taken from security along with other evidence to support any account of what unfolded.
Echoes of Diana
The near-crash that has prompted comparisons with the fatal Paris car crash that claimed his mother Princess Diana’s life in 1997.
The princess had been at the Ritz hotel with her partner Dodi Fayed when the car they were in crashed in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris, killing both Diana and Dodi.
The vehicle had been pursued by a group of paparazzi on motorcycles ahead of the crash.
Prince Harry wrote about how photographers continued to take pictures of the princess as she lay dying. In his memoir, Spare, he said: “The last thing mummy ever saw on this Earth was a flashbulb.”
He also wrote: “I’d been told that paps chased Mummy, that they’d hunted her like a pack of wild dogs, but I’d never dared to imagine that, like wild dogs, they’d also feasted on her defenceless body.”
Warnings in Netflix documentary
In Harry & Meghan – the six-part documentary series released last year on Netflix – the couple discussed the difficulties of life in the public eye.
It was also divulged that NBC had to hire a driver who specialised in “evasive driving” when Meghan’s relationship with Harry first went public and she was still starring in Suits.
Her personal security guard said in the documentary: “This has been the most intense situation with the media. I mean, I’ve worked with A-list celebrities before, high net worth families before this blew the meta right out the water, the paparazzi, they’ll do what they have to do to get a picture.
“My job was to make sure that they didn’t really know where we were going and when we would go in there. We had a special driver taking myself and Megan to the studio all the time. He was trained in evasive driving, and we used to have to take different routes to the studio to get away from the paparazzi that were chasing us.”
Harry and Meghan ‘stalker’ arrested
News of the couple’s incident comes following an incident at their California home in Montecito in the early hours of Tuesday morning, when a man was arrested after security saw him “lurking” near the couple’s property.
Kevin Garcia Valdovinos, 29 was arrested by police and charged with misdemeanor stalking, according to TMZ.
Another man was arrested for trespassing on Meghan and Harry’s property in 2020.