A taxi driver who said he drove Prince Harry and Meghan Markle during their ‘near catastrophic car chase’ has said their claims paparazzi were ‘highly aggressive’ may have been "exaggerated".
The couple, and Meghan’s mother, Doria, said they were involved in a "near catastrophic car chase" involving paparazzi photographers after they attended an awards ceremony in New York, a representative for the prince said.
The incident involved half a dozen cars with blacked out windows, driving dangerously and putting the lives of the couple, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and Meghan's mother, Doria, in danger, according to their representative.
"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 couple's representative said in a statement.
"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 couple were shaken by the incident but otherwise unharmed.
Speaking to the Washington Post, taxi driver Sukhcharn Singh said he drove the group and a security guard for about 10 minutes before returning to the police station he had picked them up from at the security guard's request.
"I don't think I would call it a chase," Singh was quoted as saying, adding that two vehicles had followed them and come next to the car, taking pictures and filming.
"I never felt like I was in danger. It wasn't like a car chase in a movie. They (the couple) were quiet and seemed scared but it's New York - it's safe."
Mr Singh said the paparazzi were following them “and were coming next to the car”.
“They took pictures as we stopped and were filming us.”
Asked by the BBC if the paparazzi were “highly aggressive”, he said their claims may have been “exaggerated”.
The couple's representative said the chase on Tuesday, after they left the Ziegfeld Ballroom in Manhattan, could also have been fatal and involved paparazzi driving on the sidewalk, running red lights and driving while taking pictures.
Those involved in the chase were confronted by police officers multiple times, according to the statement.
The New York Police Department said it had assisted the private security team protecting the couple.
"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," the NYPD said.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams said he had received a briefing that two NYPD officers could have been injured in the incident.
"I don't think there's many of us who don't recall how, how his mum died," Adams told reporters.
"And it would be horrific to lose an innocent bystander during a chase like this and something to have happened to them as well."
He said he would be given an in-depth briefing later but that he found it hard to believe there would have been a two-hour high speed chase.
"If it's 10 minutes, a 10-minute chase is extremely dangerous in New York City," Adams said.
Social media pictures show Harry, Meghan and her mother sitting in the back of a New York taxi which their representative said showed "a small glimpse at the defence and decoys required to end the harassment".
The couple had been staying at a private residence but decided against returning there as they did not wish to compromise their host's safety, according to their statement.
"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 statement said.
"Dissemination of these images, given the ways in which they were obtained, encourages a highly intrusive practice that is dangerous to all involved."
The prince has long spoken out about his anger about press intrusion which he blames for the death of his mother Princess Diana, who was killed when her limousine crashed as it sped away from chasing paparazzi in Paris in 1997.
Harry and Meghan stepped down from their royal roles in 2020 and moved to the US partly because of what they described as intense media harassment.
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