Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Involved in 'Near Catastrophic Car Chase' by Paparazzi in New York City
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex's spokesperson said they were pursued by "highly aggressive paparazzi" that lasted "over two hours"
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry were involved in a "near catastrophic car chase at the hands of a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi" in New York City.
A spokesperson for the couple said in a statement to PEOPLE, "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," Prince Harry and Meghan's spokesperson added.
The spokesperson also said, "Dissemination of these images, given the ways in which they were obtained, encourages a highly intrusive practice that is dangerous to all in involved."
Related:Meghan Markle Steps Out in New York City to Accept Award with Surprise Guests Prince Harry and Mom Doria
Meghan, Prince Harry and her mother Doria Ragland were making their way back to a friend's private residence, where they were staying, PEOPLE has learned. Half a dozen blacked out vehicles pursued their car, running red lights, reversing down a one-way street, driving on the sidewalk, driving while on the phone and taking photographs in their attempts to take photos of the couple and Doria. Despite confrontations by uniformed police officers, paparazzi continued their pursuit.
On Tuesday, the couple were joined by Meghan's mother for the Ms. Foundation 2023 Women of Vision Awards: Celebrating Generations of Progress & Power at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in Manhattan. Meghan was honored as one of this year's Woman of Vision Award honorees for her advocacy to empower women and girls. Prince Harry, 38, and Meghan, 41, were photographed by paparazzi outside the venue as they entered and exited.
Prince Harry's mother, Princess Diana, died in a 1997 car crash in Paris that also involved photographers pursuing her vehicle.
Senior police officer David Douglas — who was part of Operation Paget, the investigation into the various conspiracy theories surrounding Diana's death launched by the British Metropolitan Police in 2004 — said during a 2022 interview that Princess Diana's death was a "terrible, tragic accident."
Host Ranvir Singh asked if it was the combination of no seatbelts, paparazzi chasing the car and the driver having some drinks.
"When you look at most incidents, accidents, you find there's a chain of events, and if any one of those chain of events had been different, it might not have led to that happening," Douglas said. "For example, if they'd been wearing seatbelts, our experts tells us it was probably an 80% chance that they would have survived the accident."
In his memoir Spare, Prince Harry recounted driving through the same Paris tunnel where his mother died when he was just 12 while attending the 2007 Rugby World Cup semifinal in the French city.
On Tuesday in London, a renewal hearing into The Duke of Sussex v. The Home Office was held in the Royal Courts of Justice in London. Prince Harry's case against the U.K. government regards his removal of his security following the couple's decision to step down from their royal roles.
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Meghan took the stage on Tuesday evening to give her acceptance speech, in which she said, "As a young girl, I would come home, I'd settle in after a day of school, pull up my TV tray with dinner and I would turn on my evening ritual: Jeopardy! And I'd glance at the coffee table, where I'd see an array of things: it could be the cat's collar, my homework, some mail that had just been brought in — and some magazines. The magazines said Ms. on them."
"I remember them vividly because the pictures were different. There was diversity that I hadn't seen as often, both of color and of age and the names were different," she continued. "There were congresswomen, there were astronauts and the topics were different — from mothering to being a working mom to heavier topics such as domestic violence, the poverty line, unearthing its roots, where it comes from and matters of equity."
"I was too young at the time to know what most of it meant," Meghan said, adding that despite that, "the significance of these magazines was important."
Her mom, Meghan said, "had a subscription and having these pages in our home, it signaled to me that there was just so much more than the dolled-up covers and the images that you would see on the grocery store covers."
"It signaled to me that substance mattered," she added.
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