Prince Harry Told Friends Car Chase Was 'Closest I Have Ever Felt' to Understanding How Princess Diana Died

·3-min read

The Duke of Sussex reflected on the death of his mother in his memoir Spare

Karwai Tang/WireImage; Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty  Prince Harry and Princess Diana
Karwai Tang/WireImage; Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Prince Harry and Princess Diana

Prince Harry is thinking of Princess Diana after being involved in what his spokesperson called a "near catastrophic car chase" with photographers in New York City.

The Duke of Sussex, 38, told friends the experience was the "closest I have ever felt" to understanding what happened on the tragic night his mother died, The Times reported on Thursday. The late Princess of Wales died in a Paris car crash in 1997 that also involved photographers pursuing her vehicle when Harry was 12 years old.

In his memoir Spare, Prince Harry recounted driving through the same tunnel where Princess Diana's car accident occurred a decade later in an attempt to find closure. Grieving the tragic loss of his mother at a young age was a key theme throughout the book, released in January.

Related:Prince Harry Asked to See Photos of Princess Diana's Car Crash: 'I Was Looking for Evidence...It Was True'

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 in 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 being intoxicated.

"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 tell us it was probably an 80% chance that they would have survived the accident."

On Wednesday morning, a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex told PEOPLE that Prince 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" on Tuesday night. The trio was in New York attending the Ms. Foundation's Women of Vision Awards. Meghan, 41, was honored at the event — and she brought along her husband and mother, 66, as her surprise guests.

Kevin Mazur/Getty Doria Ragland, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Kevin Mazur/Getty Doria Ragland, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Related:Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Car Chase in New York City: Everything to Know

"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 Prince 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 said. "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived at their destination and there were no reported collisions, summonses, injuries, or arrests in regard."

James Devaney/GC Images
James Devaney/GC Images

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On how Prince Harry and Meghan are feeling now, a source tells PEOPLE that they were "shaken" after the incident.

"It was a disturbing situation, and they were shaken, but they are glad everyone's okay," the source said.

According to the source, after photographers captured Prince 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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