Harry and the Fake High-Speed Chase Through New York City

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Harry and the Fake High-Speed Chase Through New York City

The statement was alarming, unmistakably evocative of the car chase that killed Princess Diana 26 years ago: Prince Harry and his wife Meghan had been “involved in a near catastrophic car chase at the hands of a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi,” according to an unnamed spokesperson for the couple.

That story, of a chaotic and dangerous pursuit through Midtown Manhattan on Tuesday night, ricocheted all over the world on Wednesday morning, making headlines on both sides of the Atlantic.

CNN, which like SKY News and outlets all over the world provided minute-by-minute updates, reported that a member of the couple’s security team said the episode “could have been fatal.”

But as more details emerged on Wednesday from the accounts of the police and a taxi driver who was briefly involved, the picture became more complicated.

It illustrated any number of issues surrounding the Duke and Duchess of Sussex: their incandescent fame and the news media’s endless appetite for stories about them; their frosty relationship with the Crown and their fight for a royal security detail; and their determination to avoid the paparazzi’s lenses, surely informed by the tragic death of Diana, Harry’s mother, as she rode in a car speeding away from them in Paris in 1997.

The episode began Tuesday evening at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in Midtown, where Harry, Meghan, and her mother, Doria Ragland were attending the Women of Vision Awards, where Meghan was among the honorees.

Around 9:50 p.m., the family left the theater to return to the Upper East Side, where they were staying, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the matter.

Concerned that paparazzi who had gathered outside the theater would follow them, they left in a private security vehicle with a police escort, the official said. They have driven around for about an hour, traveling up the F.D.R. Drive at one point, but they could not shake the paparazzi.

The police then escorted them to the 19th police precinct on the Upper East Side, the official said.

Around 11 p.m., a little over an hour after they had left the ballroom, one of their security staff hailed a cab outside the police precinct, according to the taxi’s driver, Sukhcharn Singh.

After traveling for about a block, they got stuck behind a garbage truck, Mr. Singh said.

“All of a sudden the paparazzi came out of nowhere and just started snapping pictures,” he said, adding, that he heard one of the women from the back say “‘Oh, my God.’”

“They were nervous,” Mr. Singh said. “His wife looked scared and Harry was nervous. And the other lady was very quiet.”

The truck moved out of their way less than five minutes later, but as Mr. Singh drove, he said, he saw paparazzi following them in at least two cars. When the couple’s security guard noticed they were being followed, he instructed Mr. Singh to drive back to the precinct.

Around 11:30, Mr. Singh returned them to the precinct and they climbed back into the same black S.U.V. they had been traveling in before, he said.

They remained at the precinct while the police blocked traffic in the area, after which they left with a police escort and no paparazzi in tow, the official said.

Mr. Singh said he would not describe what happened as a “chase,” though he was not involved in the much longer drive earlier in the evening. Though the family had clearly been frightened, Mr. Singh said, he was not. “I wasn’t afraid,” he said. “They didn’t grow up in New York.”

A spokesman for the New York Police Department confirmed that officers had assisted the couple’s security team on Tuesday evening, but also did not refer to the episode as a “chase.”

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

A spokesperson for the couple did not respond to questions about the initial statement.

Speaking at an unrelated news conference on Wednesday morning, Mayor Eric Adams condemned what happened as “a bit reckless and irresponsible,” while noting that he had not been fully briefed on the incident.

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

But he cast doubt on the duration of the chase described in the statement. “I would find it hard to believe that there was a two-hour high-speed chase,” he said, adding that even a 10-minute pursuit would be “extremely dangerous in New York City.”

Mr. Adams also invoked the death of Harry’s mother, saying, “I don’t think there’s many of us who don’t recall how his mom died.”

Buckingham Palace said it had no comment on the incident, as did Kensington Palace, which is the household of Harry’s brother, Prince William.

Prince Harry has long been bitterly at odds with the press, blaming the paparazzi for his mother’s death and saying that the ongoing harassment of his wife by the tabloids reminded him of his mother’s experience.

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Mr Priceless
A young person with a passion for success and excellence to develop a professional career that encourages empowerment in the overall development of a person which is achieved through hard work. A Journalist with facts and a difference; standing by the truth all the time with interests in Science & Technology, Health, Celebrities' Lifestyle, Crimes, Education and Career Improvement.

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