Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were involved in a “near catastrophic car chase” with paparazzi on Tuesday, May 16, in New York City.
A rep for the Duke of Sussex, 38, and the Duchess of Sussex, 41, confirmed the incident on Wednesday, May 17, saying the couple were in a vehicle with Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, when they were followed by “a ring of highly aggressive” photographers.
“This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers,” the spokesperson continued. “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. Dissemination of these images, given the ways in which they were obtained, encourages a highly intrusive practice that is dangerous to all involved.”
The Spare author and his wife were in NYC on Tuesday for the Ms. Foundation’s 2023 Women of Vision Awards, where Meghan was presented with the Women of Vision honor by activist Gloria Steinem. According to the ceremony’s website, the former actress was honored as “a feminist, champion of human rights and gender equity, and global role model” as well as her “lifelong advocacy for women and girls.”
The couple’s appearance at the event came just over one week after the Harry returned to the U.K. for the coronation of his father, King Charles III. Meghan, for her part, stayed at home with the couple’s two children: son Archie, 4, and daughter Lilibet, 23 months.
Harry has been outspoken over the years about the danger of intrusive paparazzi. His mother, Princess Diana, died at age 36 in a 1997 car crash in Paris while her driver was trying to flee photographers.
In his memoir, the Invictus Games founder revealed that he asked his own driver to take him through the tunnel where the crash happened while he was visiting the French capital in 2007.
“Off we went, weaving through traffic, cruising past the Ritz, where Mummy had her last meal, with her boyfriend, [Dodi Fayed], that August night,” Harry wrote, adding that he’d asked the driver to travel at the same speed his mother’s car was going at the time of the crash. “Then we came to the mouth of the tunnel. We zipped ahead, went over the lip at the tunnel’s entrance, the bump that supposedly sent Mummy’s Mercedes veering off course. But the lip was nothing. We barely felt it.”
The U.K. native went on to say that he was surprised by how “simple” the tunnel was. “No reason anyone should ever die inside it,” he recalled telling the driver.
Shortly after Harry and Meghan began dating in 2016, the prince issued an unprecedented statement slamming the “wave of abuse and harassment” his then-girlfriend faced at the hands of the paparazzi.
“Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her,” read the statement. “It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm. He knows commentators will say this is ‘the price she has to pay’ and that ‘this is all part of the game.’ He strongly disagrees. This is not a game — it is her life and his.”
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