Harry and Meghan claim 'near catastrophic car chase' by paps in New York, witnesses say 'crazy hyperbole'

DailyBiteMay 18, 2023 | 10:28

Harry and Meghan claim 'near catastrophic car chase' by paps in New York, witnesses say 'crazy hyperbole'

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leaving the event in New York. Photo: Getty Images

Prince Harry, his wife Meghan Markle, and Markle's mother Doria Ragland were caught in a two-hour-long car chase by the paparazzi in New York, the couple's spokesperson claimed on May 17. The incident took place as the couple left an award ceremony at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in NYC. 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's spokesperson described the "car chase" as "near catastrophic", evoking the memories of the fatal car crash of Prince Harry's mother Diana in 1997 in Paris because of paparazzi chasing their vehicle. 

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and Doria Ragland. Photo: Getty Images

What happened?

This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians, and two NYPD officers.
- Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's spokesperson (Washington Post)
  • Meghan Markle was in New York to accept a Women of Vision award from the Ms Foundation. She was accompanied by her husband Prince Harry and her mother Doria Ragland. This was the first public event Meghan Markle attended following the coronation of King Charles III.
  • According to the BBC, the couple and Doria Ragland were traveling back to a friend's residence where they were staying in NYC after the event. They were seen leaving in a black SUV from the event venue. 
  • However, according to the couple's spokesperson, "a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi" continued to follow them for nearly two hours.
  • They claimed that those involved ran red lights, drove on the pavement, drove while talking on the phone, and while photographing and illegally blocking another vehicle. 

  • The black SUV circled the venue for an hour trying to lose the paparazzi but with no success. 
  • It was also claimed that the presence of police did not stop the pursuit. The trio then went to the New York police department's 19th precinct police station to switch vehicles. 
  • Here's where they got into a taxi driven by an Indian-origin man named Sukhcharn 'Sonny' Singh. A video shows the paparazzi also clicking pictures of the trio as they are sitting in the taxi.

  • Singh told the BBC that his taxi got blocked by a garbage truck and that's when the paparazzi started taking pictures. He drove them back to the police station because the trio felt safer there. 
As we went a block, we got blocked by a garbage truck and all of a sudden paparazzi came and started taking pictures. They were just about to give me the location of where they were going to go, but then they told me to circle back to the precinct.
- Sukhcharn 'Sonny' Singh, Taxi Driver
  • Singh also told BBC and various other news outlets that the whole ordeal in the taxi lasted for about 10 minutes and that he wouldn't describe it as a "chase". He said that the couple looked "nervous", but he never felt like he or anyone else was in danger. 
I don't think I would call it a chase. I never felt like I was in danger. It wasn't like a car chase in a movie. They were quiet and seemed scared but it's New York - it's safe.
- Sukhcharn 'Sonny' Singh, Taxi Driver 
  • PEOPLE quoted a photographer on the scene saying that it is "sensational" to describe the incident as "near catastrophic".

Nobody got a ticket or arrested...I don't see how it was near catastrophic other than crazy hyperbole.
- Unnamed photographer present at the scene (PEOPLE)
  • The New York Police Department was assisting Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's private security team. The NYPD later described the incident as "challenging", but contradicted the couple's claims that there were any collisions, summonses, or injuries. 

There were numerous photographers that made their transport challenging. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived at their destination and there were no reported collisions, summonses, injuries, or arrests.
- NYPD spokesperson
  • New York City Mayor Eric Adams also briefly addressed the incident calling it "reckless" and "irresponsible", but appeared to be skeptical about whether there was a two-hour-long high-speed car chase. 

  • Buckingham Palace did not comment on the incident, which is their usual response since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle officially left royal duties. 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have often talked about the fear of being chased by the paparazzi and history repeating itself. Prince Harry is also suing the British Police in the UK for denying them police cover that they will privately pay for on top of the private security. Prince Harry wants British Police cover in the UK as they have access to the Intelligence inputs. 

Last updated: May 18, 2023 | 10:32
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