Prince Harry and Meghan demand photo agency hand over 'car chase' images

Celebrity news agency claims couple cannot demand photos 'as perhaps kings can do'

A representative for Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, said the couple was involved in a 'near catastrophic car chase' in New York City this week. AFP
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A photo agency based in California said it has rejected a request from Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, to hand over images its photographers took during what the couple's representative called a “near catastrophic car chase”.

Paparazzi followed the couple after the Duchess was honoured at a gala in New York City on Tuesday night. The New York Police Department (NYPD) said the incident involved a number of photographers but the couple had arrived at their destination safely and were unharmed.

There were also “no reported collisions, summonses, injuries or arrests”, the NYPD said.

The legal team for the couple sent a letter to celebrity news agency Backgrid apparently demanding it provides them with all photos and videos taken by its staff of the incident.

Backgrid rejected the request, arguing there was no legal basis for the footage to be handed over.

“Third parties cannot just demand it be given to them, as perhaps kings can do,” entertainment news website TMZ and broadcaster BBC reported Backgrid as saying in a letter to the couple's legal team.

Backgrid said its photographers did not believe Prince Harry and Meghan were not in any immediate danger during the episode. The agency on Wednesday said it would investigate the conduct of its freelance photographers involved in it.

The cab driver who saved Prince Harry and Meghan

New York City cab driver Sukhcharn Singh poses for a photo with his taxi in the Queens borough of New York, Wednesday, May 17, 2023.  Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, were pursued in their car by photographers after a charity event in New York, Tuesday evening May 16, 2023.  With the help of police, the couple was eventually able to switch to Singh's taxi cab and be whisked away, according to a law enforcement official who was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter and did so on condition of anonymity.  (AP Photo/David R.  Martin)

Prince Harry, Meghan and her mother Doria Ragland were twice diverted to a police station to avoid the paparazzi.

Sukcharn Singh, the man who drove the yellow taxi carrying the three, told The Washington Post he did not believe the experience could be considered a chase.

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

The incident evoked memories of Princess Diana, Prince Harry's mother, who died in 1997 after a limousine carrying her and Dodi Al Fayed crashed in Paris as it tried to evade photographers.

Updated: May 19, 2023, 1:56 PM