Prince Harry, Meghan New York Paparazzi Chase Details Revealed

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were subjected to “persistently dangerous and unacceptable behaviour on the part of paparazzi” during a visit to New York, the NYPD concluded.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were followed by photographers after they left an awards gala in May 2023 and their spokesperson at the time said their ordeal went on for two hours.

Officers found “sufficient evidence to arrest two individuals for reckless endangerment,” though no charges were brought, according to details that emerged at the High Court in London.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at The Ziegfeld Theatre in New York City on May 16, 2023. They were followed by photographers after they left the venue.

James Devaney/GC Images
Harry and Meghan released a statement at the time denouncing a two-hour “near catastrophic car chase,” but then took a blow to their credibility after there was pushback from the NYPD and Mayor Eric Adams.

The new details offer no further evidence about the timeframe or speed of the pursuit, but they do cement Harry and Meghan’s contention the photographers were behaving dangerously.

Judge Peter Lane on Wednesday threw out a lawsuit Harry brought against the British Home Office in an attempt to get his U.K. police team re-instated.

During a 51-page judgment, he also described a letter presented in court from the chief of intelligence at the NYPD to a chief superintendent in London’s Metropolitan Police to make him “aware of certain changes to the security posture that will be afforded to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in light of the security incident that took place on May 16, 2023, in New York City”.

Lane wrote: “The letter says that a thorough review of the incident had taken place and although no formal charges were brought against the parties involved at the time ‘we did conclude that the behaviour in question was reckless.’

“The investigation had found reckless disregard of vehicle and traffic laws and persistently dangerous and unacceptable behaviour on the part of paparazzi during the night in question.

“They had operated vehicles, scooters and bicycles in a manner that forced the

security team, which included the 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.

“The conclusion was that there was sufficient evidence to arrest two individuals for reckless endangerment.”

Newsweek reported at the time that Harry and Meghan had given video footage they recorded of the incident to the NYPD as part of the police review.

Last May, Harry and Meghan’s team said: “Last night the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Ms. Ragland were involved in a near catastrophic car chase at the hands of a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi.

“This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD 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.”

Mayor Eric Adams told a press conference at the time: “I would find it hard to believe that there was a two-hour high speed chase, that would be—I’d find that hard to believe. But we will find out the exact duration of it. But if it’s 10 minutes, a 10-minute chase is extremely dangerous in New York City.”

Also in May 2023, the NYPD said: “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.”

Jack Royston is Newsweek’s chief royal co rrespondent based in London. You can find him on X, formerly Twitter, at @jack_royston and read his stories on Newsweek’s The Royals Facebook page.

Do you have a question about King Charles III, William and Kate, Meghan and Harry, or their family that you would like our experienced royal correspondents to answer? Email royals@newsweek.com. We’d love to hear from you.

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