(NEW YORK) — Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, along with Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, were involved in a “near catastrophic car chase” while pursued by paparazzi in Manhattan on Tuesday night, according to a spokesperson for Harry.
The couple accused paparazzi of being “highly aggressive” and driving on the sidewalk and running red lights at they pursued the famous pair for two hours.
“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.
Harry and Meghan appeared Tuesday night at the Ziegfeld Ballroom as Meghan received the Ms. Foundation’s Women of Vision Award at the foundation’s annual gala.
The foundation was co-founded by feminist icon and activist Gloria Steinem, a friend of Meghan’s, who presented her with the award.
The New York Police Department said in a statement: “On Wednesday evening, May 16, the NYPD assisted the private security team protecting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. There were numerous photographers that made their transport challenging. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived at their destination and there were no reported collisions, summonses, injuries, or arrests in regard.”
The NYPD is running down reports that members of the paparazzi had license plates covered on their motorcycles, scooters and cars, and that they were driving on sidewalks and backwards on streets.
Harry, Meghan and her mother were taken to the 19th Precinct following the chase to calm the situation. They then continued to a location where they were staying.
The couple also warned that people should not share photos of the incident.
“Dissemination of these images, given the ways in which they were obtained, encourages a highly intrusive practice that is dangerous to all in involved,” the spokesperson said.
The couple has widely criticized the press and paparazzi and asked for privacy in the past.
Prince Harry’s mother, Princess Diana of Wales, was killed in a car crash in Paris in 1997 while being pursued by paparazzi.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams said it was “a bit reckless and irresponsible” for paparazzi to chase Harry and Megan and he noted echoes of Princess Diana’s death as he took questions from reporters during an unrelated event.
“I don’t think there are many of us who don’t recall how his mom died,” Adams said. “I thought that was a bit reckless and irresponsible.”
The mayor, however, expressed skepticism the chase lasted two hours.
“I would find it hard to believe there was a two-hour high speed chase,” the mayor said. “But if it’s 10 minutes, a 10-minute chase is extremely dangerous.”
In his first statement confirming their relationship in 2016, Prince Harry called out the “abuse and harassment” Meghan Markle faced from the press amid speculation that the couple were dating.
In a statement issued by Kensington Palace at the time, Prince Harry said he “has never been comfortable” with the significant curiosity surrounding his private life, rarely taking “formal action” on the “very regular publication of fictional stories that are written about him.”
“Prince Harry is worried about Ms. Markle’s safety and is deeply disappointed that he has not been able to protect her,” the statement read. “It is not right that a few months into a relationship with him that Ms. Markle should be subjected to such a storm.”
The royal couple stepped down from their role as senior members of the royal family in 2018. In a docuseries released since, the couple has said they are prioritizing privacy for their children, with Harry saying the constant harassment from paparazzi and press that he endured throughout his childhood was never fair.
ABC News’ Mark Osborne and Nadine El-Bawab contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.