Prince Harry, his wife Meghan Markle, and her mother Doria Raglandwere trailed in their car by paparazzi for over two hours after they left a New York City charity event on Tuesday night.
“This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD (New York Police Department) officers," the spokesperson said in a statement.
The NYPD said that “numerous photographers” made the couple’s transport “challenging”, but clarified that there were no collisions, injuries or arrests.
The pursuit and media frenzy evoked memories of the 1997 car chase through Paris that killed Harry's mother, Princess Diana.
Here is the timeline of the events.
Harry and Meghan leave the Ziegfeld Ballroom
Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, was in New York City to accept the Ms. Foundation Women of Vision Award with Black Voters Matter co-founder LaTosha Brown.
According to the New York Post, the couple entered the Ziegfeld Ballroom at 141 West 54th street via a nearby Hertz car-rental location in order to dodge photographers.
The couple left the award ceremony around 10pm and got into an SUV as crowds of pedestrians and photographers gawked.
One paparazzo reportedly tried to get Meghan's attention by asking her about being from "two broken families".
Car chase begins
Harry and Meghan's vehicle was then followed by photographers in a scene that their office said "resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers".
The photographers followed the couple for 75 minutes up and down the Franklin D Roosevelt East River Drive, NBC News reported, citing law enforcement sources.
The paparazzi drove on a sidewalk, ran red lights, and drove the wrong way on a one-way street during the chase, according to TMZ.
Six vehicles with blacked-out windows reportedly followed the trio so they couldn't see who was behind them.
Group arrives at an NYPD station
Police intervened and, assisting the couple's private security detail, led them to a police station about 1.4 miles from the ballroom, Associated Press reported.
The group stayed at the 19th precinct for 15 minutes, waiting for the situation to de-escalate. Once it was safe, they left in a taxi.
"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 couple's office said in a statement.
The trio gets into a taxi around 11pm
The cab's driver, Sukhcharn Singh, said he picked up Harry, Meghan, "an older Black woman," and a security guard outside the precinct around 11 pm.
Mr Singh said he instantly recognised his passengers and that paparazzi "were following us the whole time", though he said wouldn't call it a chase.
"They had this look on their faces," Mr Singh said. "All of a sudden paparazzi came out and started taking pictures."
Mr Singh told the Washington Post that he drove the group a block-and-a-half to Park Avenue before turning south. He added that a few minutes into the journey, the security guard traveling with them was growing "concerned" about two vehicles following them.
Cab returns to 19th Precinct
After 10 minutes into the journey the security official asked Mr Singh to return to their original pickup location.
The royals were about to give their destination when a garbage truck blocked their path, Mr Singh said. Instead, one of them told him to circle back to the precinct.
"I never felt like I was in danger. It wasn't like a car chase in a movie. They were quiet and seemed scared but it's New York – it's safe."
A video posted by TMZ showed the couple in a yellow cab 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.
"They didn't say much," Mr Singh said. "They just asked my name and then after that Harry said thanks and have a good day."
They paid $17 in fare – and left a generous tip. "It was pretty good, man," Singh told The Associated Press. "They gave me a $50."
"I mean, when I'm going around the block that's more than enough."
Trio gets into another car
The group got into another car from the precinct and were left undisturbed. They arrived at the apartment where they were staying, NBC News reported.
Chris Sanchez, a member of the couple’s security team, told CNN on Wednesday that he “had never” come close to the chaos he experienced on Tuesday night.
“What we were dealing with was very chaotic. There were about a dozen vehicles: cars, scooters and bicycles,” Mr Sanchez said.
“The public [was] in jeopardy at several points. It could have been fatal. They were jumping curbs and red lights. At one point they blocked the limousine and started taking pictures until we were able to get out.”
Buckingham Palace silent on car chase incident
Buckingham Palace has refused to comment on reports that Harry and Meghan were involved in the car chase involving the paparazzi.
The Palace told The Independent that it would not be commenting on the incident.
When the spokesperson was asked if King Charles planned to get in contact with his son, the spokesperson repeated that the Palace will not be commenting.
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