Prince Harry's team made pursuit 'a catastrophic experience', paparazzi driver says

Photographer following Duke and Duchess of Sussex blames their driver for alleged high-speed car chase

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan at the New York awards ceremony. Photo: MEGA/GC Images
Powered by automated translation

A photographer accused of trailing Prince Harry and his wife Meghan in an allegedly high-speed car chase in New York has accused the couple's driver of making the pursuit “a catastrophic experience”.

The incident occurred on Tuesday night after the couple attended an awards ceremony in New York when the Duchess of Sussex received a Woman of Vision award.

Prince Harry’s representative described their pursuit as a “near-catastrophic car chase”.

But one of the paparazzi drivers involved in the chase has suggested it was Prince Harry and Meghan’s driver who made the pursuit dangerous.

The driver, who was not named, told ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Thursday: “After leaving the theatre, there were hopes from me and a few other photographers that maybe they would go to a restaurant.

“For the most part, I was driving and it was very tense trying to keep up with the vehicles. They did a lot of blocking and there was a lot of different type of manoeuvres to stop what was happening.

“Their driver was making it a catastrophic experience … if they were going 80mph [130kph], I would probably have been going 20mph [30kph] behind them and hoping to keep sight of them.

“So if it was dangerous and catastrophic, it was more than likely based on the person that was driving.”

Ken Wharfe, a former bodyguard of the prince, said his security should have been “properly stage managed”.

“The protection team he has got at the moment has never dealt with such a high-profile celebrity as Harry and Meghan,” Mr Wharfe told the show.

“To them, I have some sympathy. The whole point is you have to take advice on this, and I don’t know to what extent the New York Police Department were involved, but basically it’s something that needs to be properly stage managed.

Prince Harry and wife Meghan leave Women of Vision Awards ceremony in New York

Prince Harry and wife Meghan leave Women of Vision Awards ceremony in New York

“I will make the point here from my own experience … the paparazzi, at best, can be talked to, but at worst they’re a nuisance.

“But they’re not out to cause the death of any one person. So, I think we have to be a little bit careful there.”

Video published on entertainment website TMZ show the pair sitting in the back of a yellow cab along with Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, after leaving the event.

“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,” a representative for the couple said.

But the account was disputed by the cab driver, Sukhcharn Singh, who spoke with The Washington Post and did not describe the incident as a chase.

New York City cab driver Sukhcharn Singh poses for a photo with his taxi in the Queens borough of New York. AP

“I never felt like I was in danger. It wasn’t like a car chase in a movie,” he said of his experience driving the couple after picking them up outside a police precinct.

“They were quiet and seemed scared, but it’s New York – it’s safe.”

The city's police department said the couple, were not injured.

“There were numerous photographers that made their transport challenging,” said Julian Phillips, the department's deputy commissioner for public information.

“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived at their destination and there were no reported collisions, summonses, injuries or arrests.”

Updated: May 18, 2023, 11:28 AM