Harry and Meghan ‘paparazzi hunt’: What have people said so far? | US News

It’s been a whirlwind of conflicting reports since Harry and Meghan’s rep claimed the pair were involved in a “near-catastrophic” car chase with “very aggressive paparazzi” in New York.

After the statement, police, photographers and even the taxi driver – who was thrown into the middle of a media storm when he loaded the couple into his yellow cab – had their say.

Here Sky News breaks down what has been said so far…

Harry and Meghan’s spokesperson

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s spokesman released a statement on Wednesday, saying he was involved in a “near catastrophic” car chase caused by “very aggressive paparazzi” on Tuesday evening.

The incident occurred when Harry and Meghan, and their mother Doria Ragland, left the Ms Foundation for Women’s annual gala at the Ziegfeld Ballroom, where Meghan accepted an award.

Doria Ragland, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend Ms. Foundation Women of Vision Awards
Doria Ragland, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend Ms. Foundation Women of Vision Awards
Prince Harry and Meghan leave their prizes before the car chase
Prince Harry and Meghan leave their prizes before the car chase
The Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle and the Duke of Sussex Prince Harry attend the ceremony to benefit the Ms. Foundation for Women and feminist movement, in New York
The couple present at the ceremony in New York

The couple’s spokesperson said the “relentless pursuit” lasted more than two hours and “resulted in multiple collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD (New York Police Department) officers.”

Sussex press secretary Ashley Hansen later told exclusively to Sky’s Mark Stone: “I have never experienced their vulnerability as much as last night. They were incredibly scared and shaken.”

Police in New York

According to police, an NYPD vehicle escorted their car across 57th Street and other streets for about an hour and 15 minutes in an attempt to lose pursuers.

The Sussexes and Ms. Ragland were escorted to the NYPD’s 19th Precinct building and remained there for approximately 15 minutes.

The couple then got into a different car and arrived at their home without being followed. But the police looked minimize the severity of the “car chase”which they described as “a bit chaotic”.

A map of where the Sussexes attended the event

Julian Phillips, the deputy commissioner of the New York Police Department, said, “There were a number of photographers who made transporting them challenging.

“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have arrived at their destination and there have been no reported clashes, summonses, injuries or arrests.”

A former NYPD officer who now provides security for celebrities told Sky News he thought the Duchess of Sussex ‘might have auditioned for a Fast and Furious movie with the description that she and the people around her they were giving this dramatic life-threatening car chase.”

To know more:
What Harry has already said about the paparazzi
“Impossible not to remember Diana”
Video of the couple before the “car chase”

“In New York City we have tremendous traffic. That’s not to say they didn’t try to do evasive maneuvers, but a two-hour car chase in Manhattan? It just wasn’t happening,” said security expert Bill Stanton.

Mr Stanton also pointed the finger at their private security, saying: “They should have known full well whether it was high-profile or low-profile.”

“If you leave in a high-profile way, you’ll get aggressive paparazzi, lots of photos.

“If they told me ‘we want to leave in a low key way’, we’re not walking in the front door, we’re not wearing our clothes that cost more than most people’s homes.

“[We’re] We’ll put on a baseball cap and sunglasses, go out the back door and get into an anonymous car,” he said.

“These are tricks of the trade I’ve done with royalty, VIPs and celebrities in the past.

“In Manhattan, there are many celebrities who travel by train and bus and go unnoticed every day.”

The mayor of New York

New York Mayor Eric Adams said, “The press or the paparazzi, you know, they want to get the right shot, they want to get the right story.

“But public safety must always be at the forefront. In a briefing I received [I heard] two of our agents may have been injured… I don’t think many of us don’t remember how [Harry’s] mom is dead.

Adams added that he believed the behavior of those following the Sussexes was “reckless and irresponsible”.

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The mayor found it “hard to believe” that it was a two-hour high-speed chase

The cab driver who picked up the Sussexes

Sukhcharn Singh, a taxi driver who picked up the Sussexes outside the 19th district, told the Washington Post: “I don’t think I would call it a chase.”

He said he picked up the couple and Ms Ragland at 11pm and they stayed in his car for around 10 minutes.

“I never felt in danger,” Singh said. “It wasn’t like a car chase in a movie. They were silent and looked scared but it’s New York, that’s for sure.”

Mr Singh said he got the impression from the Sussexes that they were already being chased by paparazzi before they got into the car.

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This is Harry and Meghan’s taxi driver

Harry’s former bodyguard

The Duke’s former bodyguard said his current security team lacks experience.

Ken Wharfe, who took Harry to school when he was three, said of his current team: ‘There seems to be a lack of chemistry between them and Harry and Meghan.

“The departure from the hotel was chaotic before they began their bizarre journey through New York. Harry must be part of the planning. He knows the dangers better than anyone.

“You [need] a relationship with the people you are protecting. Until that happens, things like this will happen again.”

Mr Wharfe added: ‘There didn’t seem to be any planning going on that night. After two or three minutes you should have a contingency plan in place.

“Running around New York and hoping the [paparazzi] he will go away is silly”.

Eyewitness who said the paparazzi were ‘aggressive’

Zara Sayeed watched the pair arrive and depart the awards ceremony. She said, “The way I saw them [the paparazzi] Follow the car – I wasn’t surprised by the headlines.

“Like them [the Sussexes] they were leaving, just the way they chased the car, reminds me of all the other scenes we’ve seen in the past with Prince Harry’s mother.

‘It was really shocking. It was triggering for me, I can’t imagine how he must have felt for them.”

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Paparazzi “aggressive” towards the Sussexes

The response of the paparazzi

A paparazzi driver involved in the incident reportedly admitted he was “very tense” trying to keep up with the couple, but attributed the “catastrophic experience” to the couple’s driver.

He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: ‘They did a lot of lockdowns and there were a lot of different types of maneuvers to stop what was happening.

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“Their driver was having a catastrophic experience… if they were going 80mph, I would probably be going 20mph behind them hoping to keep an eye on them,

“So if it was dangerous and catastrophic, it was more than likely based on the person driving.”

In other developments, a celebrity news agency that filmed Harry AND Megan he also closely disputed their side of events and claimed it was actually an SUV detailing the safety of the couple who were driving recklessly.

A statement from Backgrid says it received footage from four freelance photographers that had no intention of causing distress or harm, and several images showed Meghan smiling inside the taxi.


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