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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry: Taxi driver and paparazzi break silence on 'near catastrophic car chase'

The incident occurred after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended the Women of Vision Awards

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Gemma Strong
Online Digital News Director
May 18, 2023
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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made headlines around the world on Wednesday when they claimed they had been involved in a “near catastrophic car chase”.

The incident occurred after Meghan received a Woman of Vision award at the Ms. Foundation for Women's annual gala on Tuesday night. 

Harry And Meghan Pursued ‘Relentlessly’ In ‘Near Catastrophic’ Car Chase

In a statement, the spokesperson said: "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.  

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex attend the Ms. Foundation Women of Vision Awards© Getty
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry had attended the Ms. Foundation for Women's annual gala

"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."

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It was alleged that those involved in the chase broke multiple road rules - including running a red light, driving on the pavement, driving while on the phone, driving while photographing and illegally blocking a moving vehicle.

Law enforcement sources told CBS News, their vehicle circled the venue for about an hour in an unsuccessful effort to shake off the paparazzi.

Doria Ragland, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex attend the Ms. Foundation Women of Vision Awards: Celebrating Generations of Progress & Power © Kevin Mazur
They attended the gala with Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland

They then went to the New York police department's 19th precinct police station, where they switched vehicles in another attempt to get away, CBS says.

The Sussexes' security guard flagged down a taxi, driven by Sukhcharn 'Sonny' Singh.

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The driver said Meghan and Harry’s security asked him to drive back to the station out of concern their location would be shared with more people.

Meghan Markle recieved the Woman of Vision award
Meghan recieved the Woman of Vision award

"I don't think I would call it a chase," Mr Singh told the Washington Post. "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."

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The photo agency at the heart of the story, Backgrid, has now also released a statement.

They claimed they were chased for two hours© MEGA
The couple are seen leaving the event

It read: "At BACKGRID USA Inc., we value transparency and ethics in journalism, which include providing fair and factual responses to claims.

"We are aware of Prince Harry's statement regarding an alleged 'near catastrophic car chase' involving himself, Meghan Markle, and her mother, in New York City on Tuesday night."

The agency said it "received photos and videos of last night's events from four freelance photographers, three of whom were in cars and one of whom was riding a bicycle".

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry attending an event in New York © Getty
Photo agency Backgrid has released a statement regarding the incident

"According to the accounts given by these freelance contributors, they were covering the couple's stay in New York City, including the possibility of a dinner after an award ceremony," the statement continued.

"They had no intention of causing any distress or harm, as their only tool was their cameras. A few of the photos even show Meghan Markle smiling inside a cab."

The Duchess of Sussex in a blue coat with her mother Doria Ragland in cream and Prince Harry at Kensington Palace© Getty
NYC Mayor Eric Adams has also spoken out

The statement further revealed that the "photographers report that one of the four SUVs from Prince Harry's security escort was driving in a manner that could be perceived as reckless.

"The vehicle was seen blocking off streets, and in one video, it is shown being pulled over by the police. We understand that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's security detail had a job to do, and we respect their work.

"We do, however, want to point out that according to the photographers present, there were no near-collisions or near-crashes during this incident.

prince harry meghan markle south africa 2019© Getty Images
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle travelled to New York from their home in Montecito

"The photographers have reported feeling that the couple was not in immediate danger at any point."

NYC Mayor Eric Adams said during a press conference on Wednesday that he was told two officers could have been injured. The mayor said while he found it “hard to believe that there was a two-hour high-speed chase,” even an incident lasting 10 minutes could have been “extremely dangerous”.

“It’s clear that the press, the paparazzi, they want to get the right shot,” Mayor Adams said. “But public safety must always be at the forefront.”

“New York City is different from a small town somewhere. You shouldn’t be speeding anywhere but this is a densely populated city,” he added, noting the amount of traffic and movement and people on the streets.

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