Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Car Chase: Photo Agency Refuses to Hand Over Photos
The Backgrid photo agency has reportedly rejected a legal demand to hand over photos taken of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, stating "In America, as I'm sure you know, property belongs to the owner of it"
A photo agency that took photos of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during what their spokesperson described as a "near catastrophic car chase" is refusing to hand over their images.
Backgrid told BBC News it had rejected a legal demand to share any photos that were taken after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex left the Ms. Foundation 2023 Women of Vision Awards on Tuesday night.
The BBC reported that the agency said Thursday it had received a letter from the couple's lawyers that read "We hereby demand that Backgrid immediately provide us with copies of all photos, videos, and/or films taken last night by the freelance photographers after the couple left their event and over the next several hours."
In reply, Backgrid told the BBC it sent a letter via its lawyers which stated that "In America, as I'm sure you know, property belongs to the owner of it: Third parties cannot just demand it be given to them, as perhaps Kings can do."
"Perhaps you should sit down with your client and advise them that his English rules of royal prerogative to demand that the citizenry hand over their property to the Crown were rejected by this country long ago," the letter continued, reported the BBC. "We stand by our founding fathers."
Related:How Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Are Feeling After Car Chase: 'They Were Shaken'
A representative for Harry and Meghan had no comment when contacted by PEOPLE.
On Wednesday morning, a spokesperson for the couple told PEOPLE that Harry, Meghan and her mother, Doria Ragland, were involved in a "near catastrophic car chase" while being pursued by "a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi" in New York City on Tuesday night. The trio was attending the Ms. Foundation's Women of Vision Awards at Ziegfeld Ballroom in Manhattan where Meghan, 41, was honored. She brought along her husband, 38, and mother, 66, as her surprise guests to the event.
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"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," the spokesperson said in a statement. "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."
On Wednesday, the NYPD released a statement to PEOPLE confirming that authorities assisted Harry and Meghan's security team, saying their travel was made "challenging" by paparazzi.
"The NYPD assisted the private security team protecting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. There were numerous photographers that made their transport challenging," the statement read. "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived at their destination and there were no reported collisions, summonses, injuries, or arrests in regard."
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Buckingham Palace had no comment about the car chase when contacted by PEOPLE on Wednesday. The palace typically does not comment on matters involving the Duke and Duchess of Sussex since they stepped back from their royal duties in 2020.
A source told PEOPLE on Thursday that the couple was "shaken" following the evening.
"It was a disturbing situation, and they were shaken but they are glad everyone's OK," they said.
According to the source, after photographers captured Harry and Meghan leaving the event, they picked up the pursuit in an apparent attempt to find out where they were staying.
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