Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were chased by paparazzi after leaving an event on Tuesday night.
The entire ordeal lasted around two hours and was "near catastrophic," their spokesperson said.
"The public were in jeopardy at several points," a member of the royals' security detail told CNN.
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and Meghan's mother Doria Ragland were "chased" by paparazzi after leaving an event in Manhattan on Tuesday night, the royal couple's reps said in a statement.
A spokesperson for the Sussexes said a "ring of highly aggressive paparazzi" followed the royals while they were on their way home from an award ceremony and that the "near-catastrophic chase" lasted "over two hours."
"This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians, and two NYPD officers," a spokesperson for the Sussexes said in a statement shared by royals reporter Omid Scobie.
Here's a timeline of the events.
Around 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Harry and Meghan left the Ziegfeld Ballroom on West 54th Street
On Tuesday night, Harry, Meghan, and Ragland attended the Ms. Foundation Women of Vision Awards ceremony in Manhattan, where Meghan gave a speech. It marked the royal couple's first official joint appearance in five months.
The couple had entered the Ziegfeld Ballroom, where the event was held, via a nearby Hertz car-rental location, in order to dodge photographers on the way in, a witness told the New York Post.
After the event, around 10 p.m., they were again seen near the Hertz on West 55th Street. They entered an SUV and began their journey, video from The Telegraph shows.
Before the reported chase began, a video showed Harry and Meghan being swarmed by photographers. One paparazzo tried to get Meghan's attention by asking her about being from "two broken families," seemingly alluding to her strained relationship with her father, Thomas Markle, and Prince Harry's rift with King Charles and Prince William.
For 75 minutes, Harry, Meghan, Ragland, and a security guard reportedly traveled in an SUV up and down a Manhattan parkway while photographers followed
Unnamed law-enforcement sources told NBC News that photographers followed the couple for 75 minutes up and down the Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive, which runs along the east side of Manhattan.
Six vehicles with blacked-out windows followed the group, so they couldn't see who was following them, Scobie reported.
Scobie tweeted that the drivers committed multiple traffic violations as they pursued the Sussexes and Ragland, including "driving on a sidewalk, going through red lights, reversing down a one-way street, driving while photographing and illegally blocking a moving vehicle."
Police didn't arrest anyone related to the incident, and didn't confirm how long the ordeal lasted.
"The NYPD assisted the private security team protecting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex" on Tuesday night, Julian Phillips, an NYPD spokesman told Insider in a statement.
The statement continued: "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."
Chris Sanchez, a member of the security team protecting Harry and Meghan, told CNN, "I have never seen, experienced anything like this. What we were dealing with was very chaotic. There were about a dozen vehicles: cars, scooters, and bicycles."
"The public were in jeopardy at several points," he continued. "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."
The party arrived at the NYPD's 19th Precinct Station House
The 19th Precinct Station House, which is on East 67th Street between Lexington and Third avenues, is 1.4 miles from the Ziegfeld Ballroom.
The group stayed at the 19th precinct for 15 minutes before leaving in a New York City yellow taxi, the Daily Mail reported.
15 minutes after arriving at the precinct, Harry, Meghan, Ragland, and Sanchez got into a cab outside
The cab's driver, Sukhcharn Singh, told the Washington Post he picked up Harry, Meghan, "an older Black woman," and a security guard outside the precinct around 11 p.m. He said he got the impression from the group that paparazzi had already pursued them before they got in his car.
Sanchez, the member of the security team, told CNN that Harry and Meghan switched cars during the car chase in an effort to evade the paparazzi.
Singh said he drove the group the block and a half to Park Avenue before turning south. Singh told the Post that a few minutes into the journey, the security guard traveling with them was growing "concerned" about two vehicles following them: a black Honda Accord and an older gray Honda CR-V.
A video TMZ posted showed the couple in a yellow taxi, stuck in traffic, as photographers recorded them through the windows.
"They kept following us and were coming next to the car," Singh told the Post. "They took pictures as we stopped and were filming us."
The cab was also being escorted by NYPD vehicles with flashing lights, video shows.
After 10 minutes in the cab, the group returned to the 19th Precinct, at the request of the security team
The security guard asked Singh to return to their original pickup point, fearful of the photographers knowing their final destination, the Post reported.
"I don't think I would call it a chase," Singh told the Post of the journey. "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."
Harry, Meghan, Ragland, and Sanchez exited the precinct and got into another car without being followed
They left undisturbed and arrived at the apartment where they were staying, NBC News reported.
Buckingham Palace told Insider that the incident "isn't something we're commenting on."
Editor's Note: May 18, 2023 — The headline of this story originally included an unattributed quote from the Sussex spokesperson. The headline now reads that Prince Harry and Meghan were in a car chase, not a "near catastrophic car chase."
Read the original article on Insider