Authorities shed light on Prince Harry, Meghan’s alleged ‘near catastrophic’ car chase

Doria Ragland, left, son-in-law Prince Harry and daughter Meghan Markle stand together, posing for photo, smiling.
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and her mother, Doria Ragland, at the Ms. Foundation Women of Vision Awards on Tuesday in New York.
(Kevin Mazur / Getty Images)

Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, alleged Wednesday that they were involved in a “near catastrophic car chase” in New York on Tuesday night while being followed by “a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi.” But their dire statement, which immediately heightened concerns about the embattled couple’s well-being and evoked the the death of Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, has been tempered by authorities responding to the incident.

A spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said that the couple and Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, were pursued by photographers relentlessly for more than two hours.

“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,” the Archewell Inc. spokesperson said.


The spokesperson did not say whether Harry, Meghan or Ragland were injured during the incident but added that the alleged chase resulted in multiple near-collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two New York Police Department officers.

Despite the drama caused by his memoir ‘Spare’ earlier this year, it was Harry’s yawning nephew who delivered Windsor watchers a star turn on Saturday.

May 6, 2023

An NYPD spokesperson confirmed to The Times on Wednesday that the officers “assisted the private security team protecting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.”

“There were numerous photographers that made their transport challenging,” Julian Phillips, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner, public information, said in a statement. “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived at their destination and there were no reported collisions, summonses, injuries, or arrests in regard.”

Earlier that night, Harry, 38, and Meghan, 41, attended the Woman of Vision Awards, where the former “Suits” star was given an award at the annual Ms. Foundation for Women gala. She encouraged women to fight for equality as she accepted the award during the feminist organization’s 50th=anniversary celebration and fundraiser, attended by founder Gloria Steinem.

The highly scrutinized couple, who moved to California after stepping back as senior royals in 2020, reportedly entered and exited the Ziegfeld Ballroom venue publicly so that paparazzi could take photos there. The couple boarded a black SUV in front of crowds of pedestrians and photographers, the Associated Press reported.

At one point, however, their departure from the event involved them ditching the SUV for a yellow New York taxi.


A man has been arrested and charged with prowling after interacting with security guards near Prince Harry and Meghan’s home in Montecito.

May 17, 2023

Two law enforcement sources told WNBC-TV in New York on Wednesday that Harry and Meghan left the New York theater around 10 p.m. with private security and were driven around the city for a little over an hour with a police escort. They were then driven to a police precinct station, where they stayed briefly to get into a different car, then left without being followed. Footage obtained by TMZ showed them riding in the back seat of a taxi at one point and reported that one of the pursuit cars went the wrong way on a one-way street, with Harry and Meghan’s vehicle hitting a speed of 80 miles per hour on the FDR Drive highway in Manhattan.

The taxi driver who transported the couple after they attended the gala told the Washington Post that he would not call the incident a chase, adding that he felt safe during the ride. AP identified the driver as Sukhcharn Singh, who recognized the prince and the former actor, and said that paparazzi “were following us the whole time.”

“They had this look on their faces,” Singh told AP. “All of a sudden paparazzi came out and started taking pictures.” He told “Talk TV” that he was involved for about 10 minutes of the alleged two-hour ordeal.

New York Mayor Eric Adams immediately condemned the paparazzi’s behavior as “reckless and irresponsible,” but he was skeptical about how long the alleged chase could have lasted in the densely populated city.

“I would find it hard to believe that there was a two-hour high-speed chase,” Adams told the New York Daily News Wednesday. “That would be hard to believe..” He later said that the the duke and duchess had been driving around for about 45 minutes before arriving at the police station, where there was “a pause until it was resolved.”

The chase allegedly included a half-dozen blacked-out vehicles and resulted in several traffic violations, such as driving on the sidewalk, running red lights, reversing down a one-way street, driving while on the phone and photographing and illegally blocking a moving vehicle.

Chris Sanchez, a member of the security team protecting the couple, described a chaotic chase Wednesday when interviewed by CNN, adding that it “could have been fatal” and that “the public were in jeopardy at several points.”

He said that no one was injured, but Harry and Meghan were shaken by the incident, as well as “scared, exhausted, but relieved to be back” at the private residence where they were staying. Sanchez described the paparazzi as “being so erratic” but said that he “did everything by the letter of law.”


The harrowing incident took on additional weight because Princess Diana died in 1997 in a Paris car accident after being pursued by paparazzi.

The “Spare” author and his elder brother, Prince William, who is now first in line to the British throne, have had a strained relationship with paparazzi and the media as a whole ever since. The apparently estranged brothers, whose image as children walking silently behind Diana’s casket is seared in the mind of a generation, have used their platforms to condemn paparazzi for harassing their families. Harry also has blamed an overly aggressive press for Diana’s untimely death and has accused the media of hounding Meghan and their two children too.

The car chase occurred the same day a lawyer for Harry argued in a London court that he should be able to challenge a government decision denying him the right to pay police for his own security in the U.K., the AP reported. Harry has argued his safety was “compromised due to the absence of police protection” during a short visit to the U.K. in July 2021 when his car was chased by photographers as he left a charity event.

The duke and duchess have said they funded their own security after then-President Trump said that the U.S. government would not pay to protect them.

With a controversial onslaught of public disclosure, Harry and Meghan have seized the means of production from a multibillion-dollar royal-watch industry.

Jan. 10, 2023

On Tuesday, Harry and Meghan had made their first joint appearance since Harry attended the coronation of his father, King Charles III, solo. Meghan was being honored in New York for her global advocacy to empower and advocate on behalf of women and girls, the Ms. Foundation said in a statement.

“Because of this foundation, so many of our youth have been instilled with self-worth and limitless possibility no matter their race, gender, class, sexual orientation, disability or age. Your collective work in pursuit of a world where every person is truly valued is nothing short of awe-inspiring,” the former actor said in her acceptance speech.


The foundation unveiled its largest fundraising campaign onstage, Creating the Future We Deserve, with a goal of raising $100 million over the next year to “accelerate the movements for gender and racial equity by providing support to grantee partners throughout the country to strengthen reproductive justice, improve economic security, and support equity and justice for all.” The foundation raised nearly $1.5 million Tuesday.

Times staff writer Alexandra E. Petri contributed to this report.