Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's 'near catastrophic' car chase in New York was real, court filing finds

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle did get involved in a 'near catastrophic' car chase, according to the latest court filing

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's allegation about being involved in a "near catastrophic" car chase with paparazzi last year has been substantiated in the latest court filing. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex claimed that they, along with her mother, Doria Ragland, were engaged in a "relentless pursuit" that lasted "two hours" after leaving an awards ceremony in New York on May 16, 2023. The car chase, according to their spokesperson, “resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians, and two NYPD officers.” And now, NYPD surmised that the couple were in fact involved in not only "reckless" but also "persistently dangerous" car chase while returning from the event.

This comes as Harry lost a High Court challenge against the government over the level of his security in the UK, as he failed to overturn a previous ruling which saw his security status downgraded after he stopped being a working royal.

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The letter was produced by Prince Harry’s lawyer in court during Wednesday (February 28) hearing for the duke’s lawsuit against the Home Office over his security protection in the UK. According to the Daily Beast, a senior officer at the NYPD also nominated two people eligible for arrest over reckless endangerment.

Harry and MeghanHarry and Meghan
Harry and Meghan

The details have also been specified in a letter to the Metropolitan Police in London dated Dec. 6, 2023, in which the NYPD’s Chief of Intelligence also assured upgraded security protocols for the Sussexes for future visits.

The intelligence chief wrote: “We found the following: reckless disregard of vehicle and traffic laws and persistently dangerous and unacceptable behavior on the part of the paparazzi during the night in question. The individuals operated vehicles, scooters, and bicycles in a manner that forced the security team, which included an NYPD Lead Car, to take evasive actions on several occasions and a circuitous route to avoid being struck by pursuing vehicles or trapped on side blocks.

“Our conclusion, upon review with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, is that we have sufficient evidence to arrest two individuals for reckless endangerment.”

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Nottingham. Picture: PA.Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Nottingham. Picture: PA.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in Nottingham. Picture: PA.

In the wake of the incident last year, an NYPD spokesperson did not describe the scene as “near catastrophic”, but did say it was “a bit chaotic”.

Julian Phillips, the deputy commissioner of the New York Police Department, said on Wednesday (17 May): “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.”

New York City mayor Eric Adams also commented on the incident, telling reporters that it is “reckless and irresponsible” for paparazzi to chase people in vehicles. “It’s clear that the press, the paparazzi, they want to get the right shot,” he said. “But public safety must always be at the forefront.”

Mayor Adams added that he was especially concerned that police officers “could have been injured”, and said that while he found it “hard to believe that there was a two-hour high-speed chase”, even a chase lasting ten minutes could have been “extremely dangerous.”

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He also referenced the tragic death of Prince Harry’s mother Diana, who was killed in 1997 after trying to flee the paparazzi who had been following her while she drove through Paris. “You shouldn’t be speeding anywhere, but this is a densely populated city, and I think all of us, I don’t think there’s many of us who don’t recall how his mom died,” Mayor Adams said.

Harry and Meghan faced ridicule after their allegations surfaced last year, with some calling the chase a mere 'publicity stunt'.

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