Dangerous paths. Harry and Meghan’s car chase has made headlines as it eerily echoes his mother’s death. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex reported that they were in a “near catastrophic car chase” following an event and were chased by paparazzi in New York City on May 16, 2023.
Harry’s mother Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris, France after being pursued by the paparazzi. Her rumored boyfriend, Egyptian businessman Emad “Dodi” Fayed, and the driver of the Mercedes-Benz W140, Henri Paul, were pronounced dead at the scene. Diana’s bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, survived the crash with serious injuries. Diana, who was still alive at the scene of the crash but was in critical condition, was rushed to the Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital where she died.
“My biggest concern was history repeating itself,” Harry told Oprah during a tell-all interview about being in the public eye and referenced Princess Diana’s death. “For me, I’m just really relieved and happy to be sitting here, talking to you with my wife by my side. Because I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like for her [Diana] going through this process by herself all those years ago. Because it has been unbelievably tough for the two of us, but at least we have each other.”
So, what are the updates on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s car chase? Read more to find out.
The Times reported that Harry told his friends that the incident was the “closest I have ever felt” to understanding Princess Diana’s accident. Harry was 12 at the time of his mother’s death. He detailed in his memoir Spare how he revisited the tunnel where she died to get closure about what happened that night.
In an exclusive with CNN, Harry and Meghan’s security gave out details about what happened that night.
“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,” security guard Chris Sanchez said. “The public were in jeopardy at several points. It could have been fatal. They were jumping curbs and red lights. At one point they blocked the limousine (carrying the couple) and started taking pictures until we were able to get out.”
Sanchez recalled that he “was concerned about the principals (Prince Harry and Meghan) but more about the public because they [the paparazzi] were being so erratic. People were on sidewalks and crossing streets and the (paparazzi) were crossing red lights. We did everything by the letter of law.”
He also noted that Harry and Meghan switched cars “more than once” when they first left in a black car and later they were spotted in a yellow cab. After the incident, he said that the Sussexes were “were scared, exhausted, but relieved to be back.”
On May 18, 2023, TMZ reported that Harry and Meghan wrote a letter to the photo agency Backgrid to ask for photos of the chase back. “We hereby demand that Backgrid immediately provide us with copies of all photos, videos, and/or films taken last night by the freelance photographers after the couple left their event and over the next several hours.”
A lawyer for Backgrid responded, “In America, as I’m sure you know, property belongs to the owner of it: Third parties cannot just demand it be given to them, as perhaps Kings can do. Perhaps you should sit down with your client and advise them that his English rules of royal prerogative to demand that the citizenry hand over their property to the Crown were rejected by this country long ago. We stand by our founding fathers.”
The photo agency also released a statement to CNN about their own perspective of the car chase. “We want to clarify that we have received photos and videos of last night’s events from four freelance photographers, three of whom were in cars and one of whom was riding a bicycle. It is important to note that these photographers have a professional responsibility to cover newsworthy events and personalities, including public figures such as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle,” the statement said.
“According to the accounts given by these freelance contributors, they were covering the couple’s stay in New York City, including the possibility of a dinner after an award ceremony. They had no intention of causing any distress or harm, as their only tool was their cameras. A few of the photos even show Meghan Markle smiling inside a cab,” the statement continued.
The statement continued, “We understand that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s security detail had a job to do, and we respect their work. We do, however, want to point out that according to the photographers present, there were no near-collisions or near-crashes during this incident. The photographers have reported feeling that the couple was not in immediate danger at any point. At BACKGRID USA Inc., we do not condone any form of harassment or illegal activity. We are taking Prince Harry’s allegations seriously and will be conducting a thorough investigation into the matter.”
In a press conference on May 17, 2023, New York City Mayor Eric Adams spoke about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s car chase. “It’s clear that the press, paparazzis, they want to get the right shot, they want to get the right story, but public safety must always be at the forefront,” Adams said.
“Two of our officers could have been injured,” he continued. “New York City is different from a small town somewhere. 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 [Prince Harry’s] mom died and it would be horrific to lose innocent bystanders during a chase like this, and something to have happened to them as well, so I think we have to be extremely responsible. I thought that was a bit reckless and irresponsible.”
A reporter asked about the duration of the chase, to which Adams responded, “I would find it hard to believe there was a two-hour high-speed chase.” However, he said even if it was a 10-minute chase, it would still be “extremely dangerous in New York City.”
“We have a lot of traffic, a lot of movement, a lot of people are using our streets,” the mayor added. “Any type of high speed chase that involves something of that nature is inappropriate.”
On May 17, 2023, several outlets like People reported Prince Harry and Meghan’s statement about their car chase in New York City. “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,” the statement read. “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,” Prince Harry and Meghan’s spokesperson added.
Their spokesperson also said, “Dissemination of these images, given the ways in which they were obtained, encourages a highly intrusive practice that is dangerous to all in involved.”
On May 16, 2023, Harry and Meghan attended the Women of Vision Awards at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City. Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland also attended with the couple.
In her acceptance speech as one of the Woman of Vision Award honorees for her global advocacy to empower women and girls, Meghan thanked feminist writer Gloria Steinem and talked about Ms. magazine’s impact on her growing up, “As a young girl, I would come home, I’d settle in after a day of school, pull up my TV tray with dinner and I would turn on my evening ritual: Jeopardy! And I’d glance at the coffee table, where I’d see an array of things: it could be the cat’s collar, my homework, some mail that had just been brought in — and some magazines,” the Duchess of Sussex said. “The magazines said Ms. on them.”
“I remember them vividly because the pictures were different. There was diversity that I hadn’t seen as often, both of color and of age and the names were different,” Meghan continued. “There were congresswomen, there were astronauts and the topics were different — from mothering to being a working mom to heavier topics such as domestic violence, the poverty line, unearthing its roots, where it comes from and matters of equity.”
“I was too young at the time to know what most of it meant,” but despite of that, “the significance of these magazines was important.” She recalled that her mom “had a subscription and having these pages in our home, it signaled to me that there was just so much more than the dolled-up covers and the images that you would see on the grocery store covers.” She stated, “It signaled to me that substance mattered.”