NEW YORK (PIX11) – Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, were chased by photographers in vehicles after a charity event in New York City Tuesday night, the couple’s office said.
The pair, together with Meghan’s mother, were followed for more than two hours by multiple vehicles after leaving the event, their office said.
Their office said in a statement that the chase “resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers.” It called the incident “near catastrophic.”
Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, had been in New York City to accept the Ms. Foundation Women of Vision Award with Black Voters Matter co-founder LaTosha Brown. The event was held at the Ziegfeld Ballroom at 141 West 54th St. in Manhattan.
Video taken by bystanders and posted on social media showed Harry and Meghan leaving the Ziegfeld Ballroom and getting into an SUV as crowds of pedestrians and photographers gawked. Paparazzi then started to chase them in vehicles as the couple’s SUV drove away, police sources told PIX11 News.
Paparazzi drove on a sidewalk, ran red lights, and drove the wrong way on a one-way street during the pursuit, TMZ reported citing sources.
At one point during the chase, the SUV with Harry, Meghan and Meghan’s mother pulled over, and the trio got into a New York City taxi, TMZ reported.
A video posted by TMZ showed the couple in the yellow taxi, stuck in traffic several blocks away from the ballroom, as photographers recorded them through the windows. The cab was being escorted by NYPD vehicles with flashing lights.
An NYPD spokesperson told NewsNation that the police officers were assisting a private security team in protecting Harry and Meghan.
“There were numerous photographers that made their transport challenging,” the NYPD spokesperson said. “The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived at their destination and there were no reported collisions, summonses, injuries, or arrests in regard.”
The cab driver, Sukhcharn Singh, told The Associated Press that he instantly recognized his passengers when they scooted in. “They were following us the whole time,” he said of the paparazzi.
Singh was on 67th Street near an NYPD precinct when a security guard waved him down. Singh pulled the yellow taxi to the curb and in came Harry, Meghan and her mom.
“They had this look on their faces,” he said. They were about to give their destination when a garbage truck blocked their path.
“All of a sudden paparazzi came out and started taking pictures,” he said.
Instead, one of the royals told him to circle back to the precinct. Harry and Meghan went to the 19th Precinct on the Upper East Side before eventually departing New York City to return to California, police sources said.
“New York City yellow cab drivers are as safe as they are legendary. This is no exception,” Taxi & Limousine Commission Commissioner David Do said in a statement to PIX11.
The incident has drawn comparisons to the 1997 fatal car crash of Harry’s mother, Princess Diana.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams told reporters Wednesday he hadn’t received a full briefing about the incident yet, but he called it “reckless and irresponsible” for anyone to be chasing people in vehicles in the densely populated city, and said that “two of our officers could have been injured.”