Prince Harry, Meghan concerned in ‘close to catastrophic’ automobile chase

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were involved in a “near catastrophic car chase” in New York on Tuesday night while being followed by “a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi.”

A spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said Wednesday that the couple and Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, were pursued by photographers relentlessly for more than two hours. The chase resulted in multiple near-collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two New York Police Department officers.

“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,” the spokesperson said.

Earlier that night, Harry and Meghan attended the Woman of Vision Awards where the former “Suits” star was given an award at the annual Ms. Foundation for Women gala. She encouraged women to fight for equality as she accepted the award.

The highly scrutinized couple, who moved to California after stepping back as senior royals, reportedly entered and exited the Ziegfeld Ballroom venue publicly so that paparazzi could take photos there. The chase included a half-dozen blacked-out vehicles and resulted in several traffic violations, such as driving on the sidewalk, running red lights, reversing down a one way street, driving while on the phone and photographing and illegally blocking a moving vehicle.

A spokesperson for NYPD did not immediately respond Wednesday to The Times’ request for comment.

The harrowing incident takes on additional weight because Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, died in 1997 in a Paris car accident after being pursued by paparazzi.

This story is developing.

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Times staff writer Alexandra E. Petri contributed to this report.